This is the continuation of a string of posts, the last of which was: https://sunriseswansong.wordpress.com/2013/10/16/arctic-sea-ice-recovery-halloween-hushing-and-howling/
I likely should begin by explaining to first-time-visitors that “Forkasite” is not some strange, carbon-based mineral found at the North Pole, but rather is short for “Former Camera Site.” Originally these posts described the view from the North Pole Camera, however that camera was retrieved by an icebreaker a month ago, so now we only have a site we can’t see, but can still describe, because they left a thermometer, barometer, wind-vane, anemometer and GPS behind.
I try to update these posts twice a day, giving the location of the site, (which is on a berg roughly 6-7 feet thick and drifting slowly down towards Fram Strait,) and also including the 0000z (morning) and 1200z (afternoon) DMI maps of pressure and temperature in the arctic. Originally I included these maps to better understand the melting, and the later failure-to-melt, at our site, as well as why we moved the directions we moved, however more recently I’ve started to point out how these maps give us hints of where the cold air will attack southward.
The constant updates make this post grow longer and longer. A handy way to get to the bottom of the post is to click the small cartoon-balloon beside the tital (if you are on the “Home” page,) which brings you to the start of the comments. Then you can scroll up to the most recent update.
Lastly I should likely explain “Igor.”
While some name storms, I also name high pressure systems. (I have even been known to name blobs of isotherms which appear on temperature maps.)
Igor was a high pressure area that appeared in the wake of a summer gale on polar maps last August, and who then, in the ring formed by arctic maps, survived so long he became much like a long-time champion in a boxing ring, such as Joe Louis or Cassius Clay/Muhammad Ali.
Still strong and undefeated, Igor retired from the arctic ring via Scandinavia in September, and then, just as cruel industrialists and capitalists become mild and giving philanthropists in their old age, Igor became a warm and benign high pressure system over the Black Sea. Then he faded east into the hinterlands of Asia.
I’m sure strict meteorologists might find reasons to object to my calling the general area of high pressure that moved east across Asia “the same system” as the “Igor” that wandered about the Pole. However this is my blog and what I say goes.
I figure that, if the Hurricane Center can verify their forecasts by naming swirls that barely touch 35 mph, in order to prove they forecast the correct “number” of storms, at the same time they refuse to call a hurricane a hurricane, and instead call it “extratropical,” in order to verify a botched forecast, because they are fatheads who can’t admit they are wrong, then I can be a fathead as well. However I am a kinder and gentler fathead. I just grew fond of Igor, and couldn’t bear to see him fade into meteorological obscurity.
In any case, in terms of the polar maps, Igor’s center faded from view, but a sort of dent between the curves of northern storms gave me a vague idea of where he was. The dent drifted east until it reached the expanding snow cover of Siberia. That area was also an area of expanding high pressure. Just as the ice caps of Antarctica and Greenland generate high pressure, the vast area of eastern Siberia generates high pressure when it is covered with snow, and nights grow long, and radiational cooling becomes extreme.
In actual fact 99% of that particular high pressure may have been home grown, and only 1% due to an impulse of high pressure wandering in from the west, but, because I’m the boss of this blog, I’m naming that high pressure “Igor,” and anyone who objects can go pound sand.
Because the Siberian snow cover has grown more swiftly, (even down into China,) than we have seen in recent years, the high pressure it creates is becoming a player, in terms of the things that ruin forecasts by refusing to fit the “norm” that computer models too often are attuned to.
In my humble opinion, it is a big mistake to attune things to the “norm.” The reason computer models are so wrong is the same reason psychologists are so wrong: The “normal” they strive for doesn’t exist.
In my sixty years I have never yet met a normal human, nor have I ever seen a normal sunrise. Variety is not merely the spice of life; it is the “norm” of life. If every snowflake is different, what is a “normal” snowflake?
Chaos theory recognizes that even a little butterfly can flap its wings and have a huge effect, much like a little pebble starting a huge avalanche. However it does not help you to understand chaos if you run around with a net, capture butterflies, and pin them to cardboard. Even if you collect every butterfly, and pin it down, all you have is bunch of dead butterflies, and not one can flap its wings.
Some people are too insecure. They can’t stand not having control. They want to control children by drugging them, and want to control the weather by taxing carbon. To me this seems an exercise in futility, if not outright lunacy. Man cannot control children or control the weather. They have lives and wills of their own. Rather than controling them, one should recognize what they are up to, and take steps.
If a river is rising, you build a levee. If a kid is out of line, you build a different sort of levee. But you cannot stop the floods. The best you can do is seek to recognize the floods.
In my prior posts I’ve mentioned some ways this autumn reminds me of the prelude to the fiercely cold winter (in the east of the USA,) of 1976-77. That year saw a “flood.” The flood was cold air, which came from Siberia, across the Pole, down through Canada, and froze the salt water in harbors as far south as Virginia.
I am no prophet. However this current post will carefully watch the North Pole, to see if the center of high pressure I dub “Igor” starts discharging cold air across the Pole and down through Canada.
It has done so once, but one cold snap does not a winter make. Furthermore, in terms of “bias,” I am not fond of cold winters, and would be quite glad to see patterns change and a La Nina chill other parts of the globe, while giving the northeast USA a mild winter. However that doesn’t seem likely. An El Nino, with the warmth centered away from the coast of Peru, seems more likely, and that made my neck of the woods, (New Hampshire,) cold in most El Nino winters of the past.
I tend to hope for the best, (a mild winter,) while preparing for the worst. Furthermore, I confess I have stressed my sixty-year-old body preparing for the worst this year, which I didn’t do last year.
True, rather than cutting the firewood myself I purchased it from a friend, but I did stack five cord by my cottage and three cord by my place of business. (A cord is four feet by four feet by eight feet.) I did this merely as “back-up,” because I have become a bit modern, for an old geezer, and both places are primarily heated by propane.
Around here there used to be a joke about an old Indian who could always predict how bad the winter would be. Finally a young and rude person bugged the old Native American for how it was he could always predict how bad the winter would be, The old man responded, “I look at the white man’s woodpile.”
This blog will investigate the truth of this hypothesis.
OCTOBER 29 —MORNING DMI MAPS—
Our Forkasite is in the exit region of a very cold polar flow which actually has a “Y” shape and two entrance regions, one over central Canada and one over Finland and western Siberia. The milder entrance-air is still across the Atlantic towards Scandinavia and back towards the coast of Canada, and the air flowing south down the coast of Greenland is brutally cold, and the sea ice there is rapidly growing from it’s below-normal beginning last summer.
Last summer was very different from 2007, when a huge amount of polar ice flushed south through Fram Strait and down the coast of Greenland, leaving the coast with above normal ice-amounts but the rest of the Arctic drained and empty. This year the ice was held north. Even now, when the flow has resumed, a lot of the ice along the coast is new ice, and not ice flushed down from the north. (Our Forkasite is more than 250 miles north of where last year’s camera was picked up, around this date.)
Despite the expanding “black hole” of darkness, and also some annoying cloud cover, you can get a decent view of ice swirling down the east coast of Greenland by zooming in with the satellite map available at http://www.arctic.io/observations/ To the north, at the edge of the expanding black-out, you can see huge, individual plates of ice as large as cities, but to the south the new ice is made of such small specks it looks like cream swirled into plum brandy.
Also the big blob from the “Snout of Igor” is now off the map (and actually pushing into my life in New Hampshire, where we had a cold morning for late October, with temperatures down to 21 Fahrenheit (-6 Celsius.) However the snout still potrudes into the arctic from Siberia, over towards the Bering Strait. The entrance flow to its west, and to the east of the low I dubbed “Swannecks” over central Siberia, is not very warm though the winds are south. That’s what happens when your south winds come off Siberia.
The big low over Scandinavia is named “Hype,” for reasons I gave in my last post. It currently looks like it will stay south, but whether it obeys computer models or not remains to be seen.
The warmest entrance region is through the Bering Strait at the moment, though they are not as warm as yesterday. The warmest buoy reading over that way this morning is Buoy 2013F: which is coming in at a balmy -9.85 C.
IGOR’S BLOB VISITS NEW HAMPSHIRE IN UNDER-STORY AUTUMN
Watching polar maps gives one a top-down view of arctic outbreaks. A more normal view is seen in the map below. (Click to enlarge.)
The 1033 mb high pressure centered over the Minnesota-Canada border is a balloon of cold air filled by a stream of Siberian air Igor blew across the pole, which we watched fill up in Canada last Friday and Saturday. Sometimes such balloons sit up in Canada and bide their time, getting colder, but this one wasted no time sliding south. It is actually the end of a line of such high-pressure blobs, all sliding down the east side of the Rocky Mountains and then spilling east, reminding me of the start of the winter of 1976-77. You can still see the boundry between Arctic and Pacific air running down the Canadian Rockies, as the Pacific is held at bay with a stationary front, however south of there there are signs the warmth will not surrender to the arctic without a fight.
I sure wouldn’t mind a spell of mild Indian Summer weather. It was a frosty 21 degrees here this morning, despite brilliant sunshine, and it seemed everyone started their wood fires at once. Because the chimneys were all cold, the fires didn’t draw well and the fires smoked a bit at first, and a cold-air inversion clamped a lid on our little valley, which got hazy with blue smoke for all of an hour. Some yellow leaves were held to twigs by nothing but frost, and fell despite the calm as the frost melted in the sun. However most of the bigger trees have lost their upper leaves, and we are entering what I call “Under-story Autumn.”
There are actually a bunch of different autumns, if you pay attention. “Candy Autumn” is early, when the swamp maples blaze crimson in the low places, as all other trees remain green. Then there is “Maple Autumn,” which tourists come all the way from Japan to see in New England. This is followed by a more somber and dignified “Oak Autumn,” as the oaks turn later to hues of rusty red and purple. But now finally comes “Under-story Autumn.”
I wonder if the younger trees are actually programmed to take advantage of a week in the spring and a week in the fall when they are not shaded by their elders. Or perhaps they are merely more sheltered. In any case, when things start to look more stark and like leafless November, and forest-shadows stop being dappled spots and start being stripes, and you can see farther through the trees to the cautious deer avoiding the hunters, you can still see a small maple blazing a glory of yellow and red, here and there. That is Under-story Autumn.
The world is all a rustle, and it is a great time to stroll through the snow-free, bug-free woods, providing you don’t get picked off by a Massachusetts hunter.
OCTOBER 29 —DAILY DATA—
The wind was steady from the northeast all day at between 5 and 10 mph, with our Forkasite moving south from 81.555°N to 81.428°N, and west from 1.497°W to 1.676°W, making our total movement for the day 9.00 miles south-southwest.
Temperatures have risen slowly from a low yesterday at 1800z of -25.6°C to a high today ar 1500z of -23.8°C.
Our companion buoy Buoy 2013B: (also called PAWS Buoy 975420,) located only 100 miles northwest at 82.697°N, 6.970°W, has been dipping below minus thirty and the latest Army data has it a full ten degrees colder than our Forkasite, at -34.63°C.
I am wondering if such a difference in temperature may indicate some clash in temperatures is developing, and whether low pressure could come of it. Currently pressures are fairly high, up around 1015 mb at both buoys.
OCTOBER 29 —AFTERNOON DMI MAPS— CANADIAN ARCTIC STORM
I’m too tired to comment much, but do notice the snout of Igor sticking off the East Siberian coast, and a new low I dub “Tyrone,” off the Canadian arctic coast.
Over Scandinavia the low “Hype” has a tail off the northwest coast of Norway. I’m dubbing that “Hypeson.” Wish I had time to pay more attention to their maps, for what I call a single storm over there is often a complex tangle of storms and occlusions. If I had time “Hype” would likely have six different names, but I’m too tired to try to think of it all now, so I’ll just leave you with an idea how “Hype” looks from a European viewpoint. (click to enlarge)
OCTOBER 30 —MORNING DMI MAPS—
Patterings of sleet on the dry leaves, here in New Hampshire this morning, as the warm air tries to fight back north. “Tyrone” up on Canadian arctic coast has cut us off from cross-polar flow, and the blob of Igor sitting over us is getting pummeled, without reinforcements. Above map shows a new Blob from Igor moving into the Arctic Ocean north of Bering Strait, however whether the cold in that high will be sucked south behind Tyrone remains to be seen. It could just stay at the Pole for a few days.
Next interuption will likely be “Hype,” moving east along Siberian coast and absorbing the weakening “Swanecks,” however Igors cross polar flow may stop “Hype.”
Back over Scandinavia “Hypeson” is modeled to weaken, and then restrengthen and attack Pole as next Atlantic Gale comes north further north than last one. Also an Aleutian low is modeled to come int through the Bering Straits and attack Pole from that side, even as “Hype” is deflected north as well. Then, with this huge party of of storms dancing about the Pole next week, a very good cross-polar flow gets going from the Snout of Igor to Alaska.
Hmm. I think the models have been sipping some Kickapoo Joy Juice. However its fun to think about.
Back at the ranch, Tyrone will appear at the top of North American maps, as he is heading down towards Hudson Bay. It makes sense to me that he’d pull down some arctic air in his wake.
With all these storms, I imagine the Arctic will be warmer than normal, which would not fit the 1976-77 pattern. The cold really built up north of 80 degrees in the late fall of 1976, and temperatures were well below normal.
OCTOBER 30 —DAILY DATA— CALM BEFORE STORM?
Our Forkasite lollygagged along, continuing south and west, from 81.428°N to 81.325°N. and from 1.676°W to 1.707°W, covering a distance of 7.15 miles nearly due south. Winds continued from the northeast, but slackened to a near calm, as temperatures remained cold, rising from -23.8°C to -23.0°C at 2100z yesterday, and then gradually and irregularly falling to -24.8°C at 1500z today.
At this point our Forkasite has drifted down to the point of no return, at the mouth of Fram Strait. (Click to enlarge.)
The edge of the ice pack is not all that far away, across the meridian towards Svalbard,
However, with the winds so light and temperatures so low, and with ice expanding so rapidly towards the north coast of Svalbard, and with our Forkamsite moving away from the open water slightly, you might think the ice could congeal and our Forkamsite, until you look down the east coast of Greenland.
I’m not sure where that storm came from, because I didn’t pay attention, so I’m telling myself, “Pay Attention!” and I’m dubbing the storm “Payat,” (because I didn’t.)
This map distorts everything sideways, towards the north, making the top of Greenland look far wider than it is, but it clearly shows the winds ripping along the coast of Greenland, not all that far south of our Forkasite. (Click to enlarge.)
While that swath of storm force winds is still south of the sea ice, it is interesting to think of how it effects the refreeze. I suppose a lot depends on whether it crushes the ice together onto the shore, or disperses ice out to sea, and also whether it taps into the very cold air over the pack ice, or the much warmer air over the open water.
OCTOBER 30 —AFTERNOON DMI MAPS—
(click maps to enlarge.)
A parade of lows are circling the Pole. “Payat,” who I just wrote about, approaches Iceland from the Southwest. “Hype,” who generated all the fuss in England and Sweden a few days back, has moved very swiftly east into central Siberia, more as a ripple of isobars than a movement of airmaswses, but has left the very interesting “Hypeson” behind, over the northwest tip of Norway. (If anyone can explain what formed Hypeson I’d love to learn.) East of Hypeson and Hype is what is left of Swannecks, and then we cross the Snout of Igor to the Bering Strait, and see a surprisingly weak Aleutian Low to the south, with the remains of two typhoons off the map to its south and winging east rather than reinforcing the Aleutian low. East of the Bering Strait we come across Tyrone, just dipping down towards Hudson Bay, and in the northernmost inlets of Hudson Bay are the faint traces of Flect. Both Tyrone and Flect are likely to be overwhelmed and merged into a big low which could soon explode over the Great Lakes and charge up towards our DMI map. (Such November gales sink ships such as the Edmond Fitzgerald, so if one does get going I’ll dub it “Fitz.”)
With all these lows circling the Pole, you would think there would be a high pressure in the middle, but there are no pressures on the map above 1016 mb, and the center of the Pole is disorginized. For the moment, until lows approach the Pole, this is a situation that will breed cold. The blob from the Snout of Igor is vaguely seen on the pressure map, but much more obvious on the isotherm map. Also the isotherm map shows the great contrast just west and northwest of Svalbard, between air close to freezing and air twenty-five below.
Due to my focus on the winter of 1976-77, I’m watching that cold air pouring off the tundra of eastern Siberia onto the Arctic Sea. It is amazing how quickly that tundra has gotten cold. It is not merely below zero Celsius, but largely below zero Fahrenheit as well. The following map (which has Greenland on top and Siberia at the bottom, opposite the DMI map,) shows how amazingly cold eastern Siberia has become. (Click to enlarge.)
This map shows most of eastern Siberia is not merely below freezing, but below zero Fahrenheit, and a few places are as cold as the icecap of Greenland. We are talking cold, brothers and sisters! You can also see a little neck of that cold, like a nozzle of a balloon, sticking out onto the Arctic Sea and contributing to the amount of below-zero (Fahrenheit) air building there.
Notice how the sea around Scandinavia is a shade of blue indicating the air 2 meters off the ground is above freezing, but just inland Scandinavia is a shade of pink indicating the air 2 meters off the ground is below freezing. This is partly due to the fact the layer of warm air over the sea is shallow, and due to the water losing heat. It can’t penetrate inland much.
As you travel east along the arctic coast from Scandinavia through the Siberian coastal waters you notice that surface air gets progressively colder, as the water has less heat to give up and becomes increasingly choked with ice.
Increasingly we are witnessing a building army of cold, massing its forces and, I somewhat forelornly hope, eyeing your neighborhood and not mine.
In actual fact Europe has been clobbered the past few winters, and the arctic may be deciding “to be fair to the other side.” That is my neighborhood.
OCTOBER 31 —MORNING DMI MAPS—
The pressure map looks like a lull is occurring, with more filling-in of systems occurring than building up and intensifying of systems. However this lull is allowing temperatures to chill downwards, and the graph of temperatures north of 80 degrees is sinking back down to normal: (click to enlarge.)
What I am watching for is a build up of truly cold air over the pole, as occurred at this time in 1976:
The reasons temperatures spike over the Pole at the end of that year is because the cold air was all leaving the Pole to come down here where I live. It really got bad at the start of 1977:
Those above average temperatures at the Pole during the first 30 days of 1977 represent times it was colder in Cincinnati, Ohio than the North Pole, because all the cold came south.
THE WARMTH FIGHTS BACK OVER AMERICA
Rather than the cold pattern getting locked in, it got knocked out, and the current jet stream is allowing a surge of warmth to come north over the eastern USA:
(Map created by Dr. Ryan Maue at WeatherBELL — click to enlarge.)
In order for the pattern to resemble 1976-77 the blue trough just getting kicked off shore, east of Maritime Canada would have to hang tough, and the red ridge of high pressure would stay stuck over California, and never come east. As things stand, the troughs and ridges are moving around the earth like waves made when you give a stretched-out piece of rope a vigorous up-and-down shake.
When you give a rope a shake like that you can see that the rope is not actually moving, other than moving up and down, even though the wave moves right down the rope to its end. In the same manner isobars can, in a sense, move without the air-masses they are part of moving. However there are other situations where the isobars are actually created by the air-masses, and are indicative or where the air masses are moving. In most cases it is a little of both, and trying to figure out whether a particular air-mass is moving with the isobars or being left behind, or is being uplifted or is settling down, is a vigorous mental excersize. It also is a good way to wind up cross-eyed, if you are not careful.
Here is today’s surface map from my neck of the woods: (click to enlarge.)
Just a few days ago the arctic air stood its ground, and Pacific air could not get over the Rocky Mountains to the west. Now the arctic high is getting punched off the coast, with its west-side south-winds contributing to its own demise.
The arctic front has been in some ways swept east, and is marked by a warm front slanting southeast over Hudson Bay. (That is Tyrone, entering the scene along that warm front, from the north.) (Interesting stage-entrance…..not, “enter stage left,” but rather, “enter stage top.”) While Tyrone is dragging some cold arctic air down behind him, the air in much of prairie Canada is a modified mish-mash of arctic and Pacific air, and any cold must be home grown. We are cut off from the cross-polar-flow and a direct discharge of Siberian air. However the Pacific air also doesn’t have a free reign to flood east, as is shown by the occluded front on Canada’s Pacific coast. (I think that occlusion holds parts of three typhoons.)
The most interesting feature is that innoculous looking low southwest of the Great Lakes. With a pressure of only 1002 mb, it doesn’t look all that threatening. However it is “Fitz,” and even here, far from its center on its warm side, we could get some howling winds tomorrow, before it zooms off and up to the southern tip of Greenland, and enters our DMI polar maps at the start of next week.
Then I will be able to sit back and contemplate its progress. However now I have to rush off and do some quick roof repairs over at the farm before the winds get too high.
OCTOBER 31 —DAILY DATA—
Our Forkasite continued its southward progress, moving south from 81.325°N to 81.219°N and west from 1.707°W to 1.781°W. Total movement was 7.4 miles nearly due south.
Winds were light and nearly calm at times, persistently from the northeast.
Temperatures continued very low for a berg so close to Svalbard and the edge of the open North Atlantic, begining at -24.8°C at 1500z yesterday and dropping to -26.1°C at 1800z. Then it slowly rose to -24.4°C at 0600z today, and then slid back down to -26.6°C at 1500z.
At our “companion buoy” 100 miles northwest temperatures began the 24 hour period at -32.8°C and finished at -33.4°C.
Anyone think the North Pole is melting?
OCTOBER 31 —DMI AFTERNOON MAPS—
Things continue quiet, with even Payat weakening south of Iceland. and in the quiet the cold continues to build over the arctic. I am interested in the small features, especially “Hypeson” over northwest Norway. Also the piece Tyrone left behind north of Canada, which I suppose ought be called “Tyroneson.”
It would really be interesting to speak with some Norwegian forecaster who focuses on the microcosm of Norway, and get his insights. However I’m fighting a cold, and it was a bit stupid of me to keep hammering roofing in the rain this afternoon, so I’ll sleep on it. I do some of my best thinking when not fully awake…..
Besides the microcosm, it always is humbling, if not helpful, to take a peek at the macrocosm of all the weather in the entire world. Maybe you can figure out how all the storms are going to interact, as I do a bit of snoring: (click to enlarge)
NOVEMBER 1 —SLEEPY BOY LOOKS OUT WINDOW AT FITZ—
First order of business, as I wait for coffee to kick in, is to go out on the front steps and stand in the dark, feeling the warm wind eddy about in our protected neighborhood, tucked away from the warm gale that is roaring in the piney hilltops. It almost feels as if winter is over, and it is spring. The wind is like a kindly hand running fingers through your hair.
Then it is indoors for a quick check of the local map. Fitz is rushing north and is far deeper than yesterday, already down to 978 mb, and the entire east of the USA is a northward sweep of warmer winds. Far to the north, up on the east coast of Hudson Bay, Tyrone gathers the routed and retreated armies of the the arctic cold, behind a stationary front. (click to enlarge.)
NOVEMBER 1 —MORNING DMI MAPS— QUIET COLD SLOWLY BUILDING
“Payat” south of Iceland is weaker, a 978 mb low like “Fitz” west of me here. England and Scandinavia must be in a southerly flow like me, though I doubt theirs is as warm. (64 degrees Fahrenheit here, before the sun is even up.) Quick check of their map: (Click to enlarge.)
Yikes! What a spiderweb of troughs and occlusions!
Off to work. Will comment later.
LOCAL REPORT —FITZ’S FRONT PASSES THROUGH—
Although Fitz won’t appear on our DMI maps for a couple days, his pressure’s now down to 973mb, and he has whipped a front through New Hampshire.
I sure do like these autumn gales. Perhaps it is because there is no snow to shovel. Also the leaves get into the act. Sometimes, when the rain is heavy, you get amazing dams built of wet leaves that redirect the flow of entire brooks. However the best gales for me, (though not for fishermen,) are the dry gales that stay off shore, and the rain-line never comes inland. We got strong winds from the “Perfect Storm” in 1991, but I actually got a sunburn working all day building a house 15 miles north of here for “Habitat For Humanity,” glancing south at the wall of clouds that never came north or moved west, knowing it was a monster storm by the wind, which created a sort of delightful madness out of millions of maple leaves of red and yellow.
Today’s delight was the mildness after such bitter cold. Also, though some of the leaves did stick to streets, the wind kept many moving. A couple of power lines crossed down the street, creating some fireworks and an amazing noise, like someone blowing a giant conch shell. It was so windy that it was impossible to work up on the roof at the farm, which may explain my happiness, when I think of it. I’m fond of procrastination, and as happy as a schoolboy when, rather than working, I go for a walk.
Strong south winds came surging, a mild, moist, blessed balance to the north’s nasty, bitter blasts. With warm wind-fingers in my hair, I confessed I’d grouched hardship was the one thing that lasts, but hair was ruffled, as red leaves scuffled down warm, wet streets as the wires sung, and I chuckled, unmittened and unmuffled, at winter’s defeat before it had begun.
“Aboves” and “Belows,” they all average out, though “average” itself is rarely seen. The North and the South wreak havoc, know rout, as I walk here wondering in between and…count. (I know I’ll be no math-class hero, for minus-ten and plus-ten don’t make zero.)
NOVEMBER 1 —DAILY DATA— LESS CALM AND LESS COLD
Winds at our Forkasite have remained steadily northeast, but have slowly picked up to over 13 mph. Our site has picked up speed to the south west, moving south from 81.219°N to 81.037°N, and west from 1.781°W to 2.356°W. This is a movement of 14.05 miles from where we were yesterday, however I should add this is a movement parallel with the edge of the ice, and not towards it.
Temperatures bounced about a bit, but for the most part rose, rising from a low yesterday at 1500z of 26.6°C to to a high today at 1500z of -18.7°C. As our “companion buoy’ to the northwest also recently jumped up from -30.2°C at 1200z to -24.8°C at 1500z, I suspect we are seeing some encroachment of air from the North Atlantic, due to “Payat” advancing towards, and “Hypeson” stalled northeast of, Scandinavia.
It is helpful to look at the DMI temperature map, and see the sharp gradient of isotherms just northwest of Svalbard, where sea ice gives way to open water. Minus five air at the surface is not all that far away. Though it often is a very thin layer of warmer air, Atlantic gales can bring thicker layers north.
NOVEMBER 1 —DMI AFTERNOON MAPS— ODDNESS NEAR OUR SITE
The isobars continue to indicate a weak and disorginized flow over the Pole, which seems condusive to building the cold. Also the low pressure “Hype” is speeding east across Siberia, and now is far enough east to help the Snout of Igor snort more chill into the arctic, with his east-side south-winds.
Hype swung around the weakening “Swannecks” as if they were two stones on a connected bola, and after first being swung south Hype is swinging north as the remains of Swannecks are swung south off the Arctic Sea.
Far behind Hype the remnant Hypeson is up to odd things, as the weakening Payat comes north. There is an odd ripple in the isobars just west of Svalbard which will effect our Forkasite, perhaps even swinging the winds around briefly to the south. I am very curious about what is causing the ripple. Is it a bit of Hypeson retrograding even further east, or is it a feature caused by cold winds coming off Svalbard’s mini-icecap?
LOCAL REPORT —FITZ DOWN TO 970 MB— ROARING TOWARDS LABRADOR
As Fitz roared north it zipped up an occlusion at its top, and that occlusion has swung around and become a secondary cold front approaching us in its wake. The true arctic air behind Tyrone has also been swept south as Tyrone was gobbled up, and is now tertiary front already down to the Great Lakes.
However arctic air is most definately not here yet. The air behind the cold front that passed this morning was barely cooler, though dry enough to allow the sun to burst through. I was stuck at work because much of my staff has better things to do than work late on Friday, and therefore I had to watch 17 children with my wife, rather than attend to more important things, like this blog.
If I have to watch kids I’d rather watch them have fun, so we took them to the top of a nearby dam, and flew a kite in the roaring wind. (The problem wasn’t keeping the kite up as much as it was keeping the kids down.) By then the sun was low and gold, the water behind the dam reflected the gold and made where we stood twice as warm, and the sky had nearly cleared. There was just ripples of cirrostratus made amber by the approach of sunset. The roaring wind had lost the morning’s humidity and near-seventy warmth, but still wasn’t cold enough to cause a single child to complain, so I wondered how in the world I could include the warm scene in a post about arctic sea ice.
Then I realized something. The high pressure Igor, building his vicious cold over Siberia, doesn’t just snort cold north across the Arctic Sea through its snout. Also great swaths of frigid air is curved sweepingly out east by Pacific storms, over Korea and out into the north Pacific, where is swirls with warm Typhoons such as Wypha, and then crashes ashore and rides south along the pacific side of the Canadian Rockies, awaiting its chance to surge over and cascade into the plains as a Chinook-warmed rush of Pacific air, hurtling east to keep a kite air-born in New Hampshire.
As soon as I thought that, I thought I noticed just the slightest bit of arctic cold in the cool rush of wind, and buttoned the top button of my shirt.
NOVEMBER 2 —MORNING DMI MAPS— STRANGENESS NEAR FORKASITE
I notice that curious dimple remains in the isobars west of Svalbard, and now seems apparent in the isotherms as well. It makes me curious. I’ve always wondered if the clash between minus five air over open water and minus twenty-five air over the ice-pack could generate small home-grown storms. Perhaps that is what is happening, with uplift assisted by air puring off Svalbard’s glaciers and also perhaps a ghost-component of “Hypeson” sliding backwards from Norway.
In any case some models now show a storm developing over Svalbard. Our Forkasite may briefly get some southeast winds, but if the storm develops the winds will swing back around to the north, and our progress down Fram Strait will resume.
Far to the east “Hype” continues its cruise towards Bering Strait, and is now shoving the “Snout of Igor” south and back to the east, in terms of isobars. In terms of actual Siberian cold and isotherms, the east-side south-winds of Hype continue to draw some cold north, but the eastward extension of the low is also starting to draw some milder Pacific air in through the Bering Strait. I assume Igor will be prevented from supercooling the Arctic for a while, until Hype either weakens or heads into Alaska. Some models show Hype sucking in some Pacific air through the Strait, strengthening due to that fuel, and taking a left turn at Alaska and heading for the Pole.
For the moment, however, the calm continues at the Pole, and temperatures have dipped a little below average up there.
The first hint of “Fitz” can be seen as the dent of low pressure to the south of Baffin Island, in the lower left of the DMI map.
LOCAL REPORT –FITZ EXITS STAGE RIGHT; DOWN TO 969 MB—
Morning twilight was frost free but twenty degrees colder than yesterday. Pink sky with high purple cumulus, moving fast though no wind at ground. Smoke rising straight up from chimneys.
As Fitz moves away I cast a wary eye at lows on trailing fronts, one to our south over Philadelphia on secondary front, and one to our west over Toronto on the arctic front. They may look innocent, but I never trust the things until they zip by.
The arctic front is pretty far east as it trails back northwest up through Canada to the Yukon. No big blobs from Igor coming down the pipeline, and that means we might get air from Arizona instead, and a warm up next week after a brief backlash shot from Fitz passes through. Maybe I can use that as an excuse to put off finishing my roofing job…
No. I have to at least check to see how brittle the shingles are, before I find an excuse to loaf. See ya.
(By the way, in case anyone was wondering, that bit of particularly purple prose yesterday was something I do, when I get playful with prose. It actually held a hidden sonnet, which, after a bit of dusting-off goes like this:)
WARM STORM SONNET
Strong south winds came surging, a mild, moist, blessed ,
Balance to the north’s nasty , bitter blasts.
With warm wind-fingers in my hair, I confessed
I’d grouched hardship was the one thing that lasts,
But hair was ruffled, as red leaves scuffled
Down warm wet streets as the wires sung,
And I chuckled, un-mittened and un-muffled,
At winter’s defeat before it’d begun.
“Aboves” and “Belows;” they all average out
Though “Average” itself is seldom seen.
The North and the South wreck havoc, know rout,
As I walk here wondering in between
And…..count. In Math Class I’m no hero;
My minus-ten and plus-ten don’t make zero.
NOVEMBER 2 —DAILY DATA— HEAT WAVE! (…sort of)
The steady northeast winds did veer slightly east, and even a hair southeast of east, but our Forkasite continued on south, from 81.037°N to 80.882°N, and west, from 2.356°W to 3.114°W. Our daily movement was a healthy 13.56 miles, likely because the winds picked up to 18 mph, though they slackened back to 11 mph towards the end.
Of more interest was the upward surge of Temperature, as air from the open water towards Svalbard got whisked our way. We began at -18.7°C at 1500z yesterday, but temperatures rose all the way to -9.1°C at 0600z today, before slumping back to -12.8°C at 1500z.
NOVEMBER 2 —AFTERNOON DMI MAPS—
I am keeping my eye on the bit of Hypeson dimpling the isotherms around Svalbard, as it merges with Payat weakly coming north, as only a 980 mb low now, (though it has a more vigorous secondary, Payatson, scooting north of Scotland off these maps.) The lows are keeping Scandinavia sheltered on their south-wind side, and perhaps even wafting some warmer air north, to the east of Svalbard, however the winds look light, judging from isobars.
Hype has gone all the way to the Bering Strait, and is ushering some milder Pacific air Poleward from that side.
Fitz is barely seen down at seven o’clock in the circle.
For the most part the Pole is quiet and cold, though becoming less cold at our Forkasite.
LOCAL VIEW —FITZ OFF THE EDGE—
click to enlarge
I got the roofing done on the stable, under a glorious blue sky without a cloud, and with the sun so bright that even though the roofing tar was as stiff as old chewing gum, once you put a gob down on the roof its blackness soon absorbed so much heat that it spread like warm butter. In the same manner the stiff rolls of rolled roofing swiftly softened and didn’t crack when unrolled. So I was stuck with working, but at least I got an November tan out of the deal.
As evening came on and I was finishing up, it swiftly clouded over with a sort of rolling, low and purple cumulous, and abrupt sprinkles of rain began. That little low over Philadelphia and the little low over Toronto were combining right over me, as the map shows, but I was done, and, after feeding the goats, could head home and attend to what really matters: The North Pole.
Fitz only matters because he might get up to the pole next week. Right now he’s at that annoying stage where he is not on the DMI map, and is leaving my local map in the upper right, where they don’t even note what his pressure is, though you can count isobars and figure out it is below 968 mb. Even when I go check the UK Met map, only the 0000z map shows, and Fitz is at the left edge of that one as well:
Sometimes you have to hunt, but at the WeatherBELL site I searched through Dr. Ryan Maue’s models, as the “Initial” maps of the various model runs are pretty much current-weather-maps, and I came across the GFS north Atlantic pressure initial-map for the 1800z run:
That’s more like it! Fitz is down to 963 mb, and moving off Labrador towards the southern tip of Greenland. It is currently the biggest storm in the Northern Hemisphere. “Hypseson,” now storming through Scotland and aiming for Norway, is in second place, and third place goes to a low brewing up in the Aleutians.
There. Now that I have that determined, I can konk out and sleep in peace.
NOVEMBER 3 —MORNING DMI MAPS— TWO STORMS, TWO SNOUTS
With the three biggest storms mostly off these maps, south of sixty-degrees-latitude, (though you can see the edge of Fritz on the southern tip of Greenland,) we have a bit of peace and quiet to focus on the Pole. Interestingly, Hype and Hypeson have been so stretched out that they now occupy opposite sides of the Pole. (It won’t be the first time a father and son have drifted hemispheres apart.)
Of course, a purist will point out Hype is actually a mishmash of ingredients, containing part of Swanneck’s Arctic air and an unnamed Aleutian Low’s Pacific air, however I’m the boss here and I prefer to keep things simple. However, if a purist would like to explain how the heck Hypeson grew, I’d be all ears. The genesis of Hypeson remains a mystery to me, even though I watched it carefully.
In any case we had two inflows to the Arctic, one Atlantic and one Pacific, and it is likely that the inflow’s warm air rose, and the uplift contributed to the genesis of two lows which now block the inflow, by existing squarely in the inflow’s path. Very pretty. I feel like standing and applauding, as if I have watched good dancers.
The swift passage of Hype from west to east basically stampeded right over Ivan, and Ivan does not take kindly to being trampled in that manner. At first I think he was astonished Ivan could be so rude, and ducked down and flinched back west, but now he is arising like a bear shrugging, and that shrug has propelled Ivan towards the center of the Pole. Furthermore, like a creature in a nightmare, he has two snouts….(or perhaps they are merely the upper and lower jaw of a toothy smile.)
The snout to the east of Hype is shutting the door to Pacific air coming north, while the snout to the west is there to drive purists nuts, as it is purely a poetic invention on my part and it takes wild stretches of imagination to connect that ridge of high pressure, blocking the Atlantic flow, to the east Siberian High. However isn’t that what poetry is suppose to do? Drive everyone nuts?
NOVEMBER 3 —DAILY DATA— “WARM-SPELL” OVER
The winds, which briefly veered south of east, have backed to the northeast and blown persistantly around ten mph, puffing our Forkasite steadily south, from 80.882°N to 80.683°N and west from 3.114°W to 3.416°W. Temperatures, which were as high as -9.1°C at 0600z yesterday have plunged steadily from -12.8°C at 1500z yesterday to -21.6°C at 1500z today.
Even as our Forkasite tootles along steadily south, I wonder if it might slow, as the westward movement crunches the ice into the east coast of Greenland, and also the low temperatures cause the separate chunks of ice to adhere to each other. We’ll see.
NOVEMBER 3 —DMI AFTERNOON MAPS—
The two main features near the Pole continue to be Hype and Hypeson, with Hype diverting the Pacific invasion of warmth east to the Alaska coast, and Hype diverting the Atlantic invasion of warmth east, north of Scandinavia.
The Pacific invasion is making it almost balmy over the Beaufort Gyre buoys. West to east, Buoy 2012H: is coming in at -7.30 C, the new Buoy 2013I: is at -10.29 C, Buoy 2013G: is at -10.80 C, and Buoy 2013F: comes in at -7.85 C. These “high” temperatures explain the swirl of green on the temperature map, and they also represent a full tank of gas for Hype. He will continue his circuit of the Pole, attempting to reach our Forkasite from the west, but his full tank will run out of gas as he is cut off from the Pacific gas station, and he will eventually weaken. I expect we will see the green swirl fade to light blue as the invasion of Pacific air is chilled.
Hypson, who remains mysterious to me, will preform a circut of the other side of the Pole, also weakening as he is cut off from the Atlantic gas station.
Now we come to the southern wanna-bees. First is a likely future mystery, Payat, which is greatly weakened and a mere bulge in the isobars off the northwest Norwegian coast. Models have him weakening like Hypson did, but then mysteriously restrengthening like Hypeson did, and following Hypeson’s route. I can only watch and wonder. Likely I need to find a polar map that actually has fronts drawn in, to figure out what is going on.
Much more attention is being paid to Payatson, crashing into southern Norway, and his son Payathird, a tertiary storm that will likely strengthen in the Baltic. However this mostly will effect areas south of the Arctic Sea, at first.
Another no-name storm is currently traversing the north border of China, troubling Igor’s underside and on its way to fueling a huge Aleutian Low next week. I’ll dub that low “Chin,” if and when it appears on our map.
Last but not least is Fitz, crashing into the southern tip of Greenland. Strange things happen to gales when they meet Greenland. If I were rich I’d fund a couple young meteorologists to simply study the transit of air over Greenland east to west, west to east, south to north, and north to south, because none of it currently makes a lick of sense to me. Mostly I watch and wonder, however one rather interesting event can be seen in the UKMet map: (click to enlarge)
What interests me is the long occluded front extending east from Fitz off Greenland nearly to Ireland. It amazes me because even yesterday Fitz had a big warm sector loaded with juicy air. It had a full tank of gas, which was air around 68 Fahrenheit with a dew point near sixty as it moved over me here in New Hampshire. Somehow a cold front caught up and “zipped up” that warm sector. This suggests two things to me.
First, that is one heck of an occlusion. It is loaded. It is not the occlusion of a dwindling and dying storm. Second, there is something odd about the speed of that zipper. I’ve noticed often an innoculous-looking low acts as the zipper, but abruptly become an eventful low the moment it finds an opportunity to turn north. (Around here a tiny “Alberta Clipper” can zip down from western Canada, reach the coast a hundred miles east of here, and amazingly explode into a full fledged gale the second it turns north.)
It looks like this particular zipper will become eventful in the English Channel tomorrow, and move from there up into the Baltic, where I previously identified the potential gale as a tertiary development of Payat and dubbed it “Payathird.” I now think I should take that name back and re-dub it. It is actually an impulse made from the zipper of Fitz, and therefore should be named “Fitzip.”
Finally I should discuss the poor Snout of Igor, which has the sad and sorry look of a dog smacked on the nose by a rolled-up newspaper. (Not that I do that to my dogs any more.) The Body of Igor is alive and well, strengthening in the west of Siberia, but, to the east, Igor’s nose, subjected to Chin from the southwest and Hype to the northeast, is confused and disjointed. (You could say his nose is out of joint.) It is not the steady, serious and established flow of 1976-77, but is more like a state of transience.
Igor is liable to impart another shot of Siberia into Canada, in the wake of the blob of invading Pacific air fueling Hype, but then Chin will interrupt the flow before it becomes established.
Did this stuff happen in 1976-77? I can’t tell you, because back then I had no access to such wonderful maps. I don’t think such maps even existed. However, relying on memory alone, I don’t think it was until late November that a “local” I was friends with in Maine gave me a hint I ought expect a cold winter. He neither used satellites nor computers, nor was he grey and grizzled. He was in his early twenties, as I was back then, and we were standing up a steep hill from South Freeport Harbor. I was remarking on how the wind stayed stuck in the northwest day after day, and he pointed out how the smoke from all the chimneys did not rise, but rather headed from the houses down to the harbor, and then he remarked, “The Old Timers say that is a sign of a cold winter.”
I guess I’ll have to drive up to South Freeport to be sure of anything.
In any case, as this post is called “The Snout Of Igor,” and as that snout is retreating, I think it is time to finalize this post with a final “Local View.”
LOCAL VIEW —SNEAKY ARCTIC—
The edge of the arctic may have been displaced east, but that doesn’t mean it can’t sneak down and clip the northeastern tip of the USA. This morning’s map is a perfect example. (click to enlarge)
It was actually grey and spitting snow as I awoke, because of that little low “Fitzson” moving off the coast. I told you that you have to watch out for those little ripples, didn’t I? However this one did little more than warn people that spell of near-seventy-degree kindness last week was just a bit of Grace, and winter itself wasn’t cancelled. It soon cleared off, but the air was bitter, and the sting on the back of hands made me wonder where I had misplaced my gloves.
You’ll notice the above map has a cold front crossing Florida, however that “cold” is greatly moderated and partially Pacific air. The real Arctic boundary is the cold front over the northeast USA. Notice how it curves back north to our west, and on up to the Northwest Territories. If this was the pattern of December-January, 1976-77, what you would see is another arctic high pressure rolling down the east side of that front, keeping warm air from pushing east. However we currently see no such reinforcements arriving.
Instead we see an interesting conglomeration of low pressure in the Rocky Mountains. The meteorologist who wrote the map was meticulous, and I count seven in all. These are not the little dimples called Alberta Lows, rippling southeast along an established arctic front, but rather are a development called a variety of names, such as “Colorado Low.” ( I suspect this one would have to have seven names.) In any case they tend to become a feature in and of themselves, and can become a blizzard in the northern plains. This one looks likely to become a blizzard moving up into the Canadian plains to Hudson Bay. It won’t come east because of the high pressure coming down over us today.
That high will go through a remarkable transition which I always find somewhat amazing to watch. You can see it happening already in this evening’s map: (click to enlarge)
What I notice right off the bat on this map it that the boundary to the arctic air is no longer marked, to the west. You can see the cold front extending to just north of Cape Hattaras on the North Carolina coast, and then it mysteriously ceases to be.
They always do this, and I never see why. You can actually see the clouds marking the edge of the front as it curves back north through Kentucky, Indiana, and Wisconsin, but they consider it dead. Therefore I call such fronts, “ghost fronts.” I have found it pays to remember where they are, over the years, for just because they are not on maps doesn’t mean they can’t come back to haunt you.
In any case this ghost front marks where the arctic air has been halted, and is being over-swept by the warm flow in front of that Mountain Low to the west. I’ll dub that mountain low “Bliz,” as it looks like it will be a blizzard for folk out on the plains, especially up in Canada.
Why is Bliz going north? It is because the cold arctic high chilling my house tonight is going to turn into a warm friendly high. Mr. Hyde is going to turn back to Dr. Jekyll. The high pressure will move off the coast and then stand its ground, refusing to let the blizzard come east. Instead we will be situated in a southwest flow between the high and Bliz.
It is quite a difference from 1976-77. In 1976 the arctic highs came so quickly they kept the warmth at bay, however in this situation the pause between the arctic highs is so large the leading high becomes an ally of the south. And the western storm is able to be something besides a little clipper.
The reason this occurs is because of winds up in the higher levels of the atmosphere. In 1976-77 the jet stream got “stuck,” with a big ridge in the west and a big trough in the east. Currently the jet stream is allowing troughs to ripple around the world. The trough that brought the Great Lakes Storm has moved east, but a new one is moving to the west and allowing a Mountain Storm and Plains Blizzard. Within 48 hours the situation will be quite opposite the situation of 1976-77, in the upper air map. (Click to enlarge.)
While this upper-air map does hint at the “Snout of Igor” in the to-left-center margin of the map, to me it looks like the arctic air will be hoarded up there. Some discharge may leak through the far west of Alaska and down the Pacific coast, but it will be prone to plunging into the trough in the west of the USA. If an arctic boundry is reestablished it will be in the west, and have a hard time fighting east into the lovely surge of southwest flow.
(Or maybe not so lovely, as it takes away all my excuses to avoid doing a ton of last-minute chores I must do before winter sets in.)
This lovely pattern will not lock in any more than the last one locked in. November tends to be a time of transition, and that trough in the west is likely to be gone by next week. In fact, in his blog at WeatherBELL, Joe Bastardi, who is one of the better long-range forecasters I know about, mentioned November isn’t much use, when it comes to finding signs of what the future weather will do. October, though farther away from winter, is a better indicator.
Keeping that in mind, I will still keep my eye peeled for the “Snout of Igor” poking down from Pole. I can’t say I will mind it all that much if he directs his snorts into the west of the USA, and I have to suffer a green Christmas. It seems to me that is has been an awful long time since they’ve seen snow in San Diego, and I wouldn’t want to see those poor folk deprived. Sadly, I suspect they will be deprived, while I know the wealth.
With the start of a new week, I guess I should start a new post. It will be found at: https://sunriseswansong.wordpress.com/2013/11/03/arctic-sea-ice-recovery-the-dance-of-polar-storms/