CONTINUED FROM OLD POST AT https://sunriseswansong.wordpress.com/2013/09/19/arctic-sea-ice-minimum-the-darkness-decends/
This is a continuation of observations I began last summer, while enjoying my lazy hobby of watching ice melt on hot days, via the eyes made available through North Pole Cameras One and Two. It was much more interesting this year than usual, involving media hoopla about “Lake North Pole,” a visit from a polar bear that knocked over Camera One, a midsummer gale, and the fact our camera refused to drift down to Fram Strait as usual, and instead hinted something new and unusual may be occurring up at the Pole.
I have a hunch that we are seeing a change in a sixty year cycle, and a thirty-year pattern of diminishing ice may be swinging over to a thirty-year pattern of increasing ice. The only way I know of determining whether my hunch is correct it to sit back and watch. (It is not hard work, if you don’t mind the fact you don’t get paid.)
I comment on what I observe, and some people find my mutterings to myself mildly amusing. There have been well over 10,000 views of this series of posts. Therefore I’ll continue the diary, though it may get a bit dull when it is pitch dark at the Pole. However things will liven up next April, when we get a new camera.
OCTOBER 5 —DAILY DATA— MUCH COLDER
The wind has continued to die down at our camera-site-with-no-camera, and our drift to the south has slowed. We moved south from 83.577°N at 1500z yesterday to 83.478°N today, as our movement west came to a halt. We moved longitudinally west, then east, then west, then east, and then west again, with the sum total for the day being a movement east from 4.894°W to 4.881°W. Total movement for the day was 5.83 miles south.
The real news was the plunge in temperatures from -7.8°C at 1500z yesterday to -16.8°C at 1500z today. This is the coldest we’ve seen so far this autumn. It is ironic it is occurring even as we get further south than we’ve gotten before. Simpleton logic would state the further south we go the colder it gets.
-16.8°C represents a temperature of 1.76 Fahrenheit, and once it gets that cold sea ice starts forming faster. Bergs can’t slip and slide by each other, as they tend to glue together. A sloppy slush can turn into a rigid plate. There has got to be a difference in the flow of the ice, but I know of no studies on this topic.
In theory ice cannot form on the surface of salt water until a considerable column of water is near freezing, for the cold water at the surface sinks, replaced by rising warmer water from beneath. However reality trumps theory, for once it gets this cold the ice just forms at the surface. I have seen no studies about this either, though I sense some are on-going, by the data being collected. As a layman I simply think that once the air gets extremely cold the water at the surface doesn’t have time to sink; it freezes before it can sink, and then becomes more boyant than water. (When storms torture the ice in midwinter, cracks can open into leads more than a mile wide, exposing salt water to air temperatures lower than forty below. These leads freeze over swiftly, and quickly the ice gets thick enough for a polar bear to walk on, and there are some very beautiful pictures taken from above of bears walking on black ice so thin the bear makes spiderwebs of cracks as it ventures across a lead.)
In any case, it is amazing to watch day-by-day, and to see how quickly it gets very cold up there. If you back-track through these posts you’ll see it really wasn’t all that long ago that freezing temperatures were a rarity atop our earth.
OCTOBER 5 —AFTERNOON DMI MAPS— NEW STORM APPROACHES
If you are new to this site, I should explain I have the habit of naming storms and high pressure systems. Forgive me. It jazzes up a subject that otherwise could get tedious.
The big storm “Landic” is being replaced by a new Icelandic low I’ve dubbed, “Flect,” because it was deflected north. The little low north of the New Siberian Islands is all that is left of “Leut,” (because he had Aleutian origins,) but he is being replaced by a new Aleutian Low I’ll dub “Leutwo,” south of the Bering Strait. The general area of high pressure northwest of Greenland is named “Newhie,” for some dumb reason. (Maybe because it was a “New High,” but I forget.)
The north winds generated by the isobars between Newhie and Landic have chilled our camera-site and pushed it south. The question now is, will the low Flect, advancing north from the south, reinforce the northerly flow, which has been slacking off, or will it replace that old flow with an easterly flow. It all dependes on where Fleck moves. If Fleck moves east of Svalbard, the flow will be from the north, but if he moves west of Svalbard and bumps into northeast Greenland, the flow will be from the east.
This is important to our site, for it is at a fork in the road. If it goes south it will exit through Fram Strait. If east winds push it west it could hit the top of Greenland and be carried west into the Beaufort Gyre, or even, (and this would be really cool,) slip into Nares Strait on the other side of Greenland.
The temperature map is colder. Maybe it has something to do with the side-effects of polar gales, (like Leut exiting stage right,) or maybe not. Maybe it is just October, and that means much colder, in the arctic. However I have noticed the freezing isotherm playing with the shores of Svalbard for serveral days, and it was loath to venture so far south until recently.
The only invasion of above-freezing temperatures is at the top of the map, associated with “Letwo” southerly-wind side, and bringing some pacific into the arctic.
The rest of the map demontrates the plunge in temperatures shown by the DMI north-of-eighty-degrees-latitude graph in October. However that graph deserves its own update.
THOUGHTS SPRINGING FROM THE DMI GRAPH
This is a comparison of this year’s DMI graph with last years. (Click to enlarge)
2012 DMI graph 2013 DMI graph
I read such graphs in my own way. The above normal temperatures during the winter of 2012 show the sea is giving up heat to the atmosphere, which loses it to space as there is no sunshine. Partly this was caused by the warm AMO reducing ice-cover towards Eurasia, and partly it was caused by winter storms smashing up the ice and exposing warmer water. This cooled the water, and cooler water made the summer of 2012 cooler, despite the amazing heat-wave over Russia. However cooler water was still open water, and the water that brought temperatures down that summer kept temperatures up that fall, leading into another winter with open water and storms allowing a lot of heat to leave the water, leading to temperatures being even colder last summer. However colder water is still open water, and once again we see above normal temperatures this fall.
At a certain point the water gets so cool things start to change. One change might be seen in the fact last winter was able to generate some serious cold up there, which didn’t happen the prior winter.
Now let’s compare this year with 1976
DMI Graph 1976 DMI Graph 2013
1976 shows the same sort of prior winter, with much heat being lost to the sunless sky, and is followed by a summer slightly cooler than normal, and a fall warmer than normal. However then temperatures crash. Some serious cold built over the Pole, and when it came south it came to the coast of Maine, where I lived back then, and the sea froze. In fact it froze all the way down to Chesapeake Bay, that winter.
If you look at the 1977 map you notice arctic temperatures spike upwards in January. That is because all the cold air was unloaded south.
How cold was it? I remember I threw off a pair of sweaty socks in the shack where I was living, and later I found they were frozen to the carpet.
I’m thinking I should buy some extra firewood. (Not that I’m an Alarmist or anything like that.)
OCTOBER 6 —DMI MORNING MAPS—
Just thought I’d pop the maps in here. I have to run to choir practice on a wet morning with the colored leaves vibrant in the grey day. Looks calm at our camera-site, with “Army data” showing temperatures still cold, at -17.81 C.
OCTOBER 6 —DAILY DATA— A LENGTHY LULL
Despite the gale “Flect” churning to our south, our camera site has remain tucked into an area of calm. I wonder if the ice slowly rises and falls, the way a becalmed sailboat does on a glassy sea, when you are in the swells of of a big storm five hundred miles away.
The southerly drift has continued, from 83.486°N at 1500z yesterday to 83.435°N at 1500z today. With only a slight bump to the east, the longitudinal drift has been steadily to the west, from 4.881°W to 4.990°W. In the past 34 hours we have drifted 3.64 miles to the south-southwest. We are slowing down. At this rate, we won’t make to Fram Strait for Christmas.
I actually expected we’d make better time. The computer models showed a strong north wind for days. On October 4 we covered nearly 15 miles. However we seem to have been just far enough away from “Flect” to sit in a lull between systems, and now the models are breaking their promise for steady north winds, and inventing a storm that may take a bizarre track to our west and over the tip of Greenland towards Canada. I’ll have to see it to believe it, but it would push us back north with southerly winds.
Temperatures are still very cold cold, but have moderated sligfhtly after bottoming out, dropping from -16.8°C at 1500z yesterday to -17.7°C three hours later, and then slowly rising to -13.6°C at 1200z today, before settling back to -14.1°C at 1500z.
While the slow-down of the drift is largely due to the wind being nearly calm, at these temperatures the open waters between bergs must be filling with slush and coagulating. Pity they stile our camera, and we can’t see.
OCTOBER 6 —DMI EVENING MAPS—
OCTOBER 7 —MORNING DMI MAPS—
It is interesting to put the surface maps together and create a sort of animation by comparing them. Currently the high pressure “Newhie” has attained king-of-the-mountain status at the Pole, and has a parade of storms wheeling about it. Though the high pressure “Igor” arrived at a similar solution not all that long ago, I get the distinct impression computer models do not approve of this “solution.” Models keep attempting to replace the high pressure with a low. Perhaps some theory has a vortex over the Pole, but reality has a habit of differing from virtual reality.
The storm “Flect” south of our camera site is weaker, and has booted some of its energy east to Siberia, forming a secondary I’ll call “Fleckson.” Others might call that storm a secondary of “Landic,” further east, but I’m the boss here.
I figure that, if the hurricane center can get away with verifying its forecasts by refusing to call storms tropical when they are, and calling storms hurricanes when they aren’t, I can play that game as well. I just hope I don’t aggravate any true meteorologists.
Or actually I do. You learn a lot, by aggravating a true meteorologist. I feel somewhat sorry for the meteorologist Joe Bastardi when the hurricane center refuses to verify his forecast, and instead verifies their own forecast, by not calling an obvious hurricane a hurricane, however as Mr. Bastardi hits the roof and goes ballistic I learn a great deal about hurricanes. Therefore I welcome any visiting meteorologist to give me a tongue-lashing.
I’m interested in that storm over towards the Bering Strait. In one way it is a blob that morphed north from the Aleutian Low I dubbed “Leutwo,” however “Leut” itself seemed to get absorbed into it, in a very weakened state. Therefore, by the power vested to me by….myself, I’m going to pronounce that “Leut” survived his circuit of the Beaufort Gyre, and has revived. Meteorologists, speak now or forever hold your peace.
What revived Leut was some milder pacific air coming in through the Bering Strait. As soon as such air gets over the arctic it seems to rise like a hot air balloon, creating low pressure at the surface. It also is creating a cross polar flow that is sucking air out of Canada. That is good news for me, for air sucked out of Arctic Canada is air that is not going to charge down here to New Hampshire.
We actually have a cold front approaching, down here. One thing I’ve started to do is to plug the arctic map into my thinking, while looking at my local map. Even though that storm passing to our north gave early snows out in Montana, I know it is cut off from cross-polar-flow, and its cold air is moderated by having hung around a while down south. So….my tomatoes may survive a bit longer. (click to enlarge.) (By the way, “Leutwo” is that storm off the west coast of Canada.)
OCTOBER 7 —DAILY DATA— COOL, CALM AND KINDA BORING
The calm and the southwards drift continue. Our site has moved from 83.435°N at 1500z yesterday to 83.374°N at 1500z today. Longitudinally we drifted west from 4.990°W to 5.030°W at 0600z, but then backtracked to 5.002°W at 1500z. In the past 24 hours we have moved 4.23 miles south.
Temperatures have bounced about a bit, winding up about a degree colder. They fell from -14.1°C at 1500z to -15.7°C at 1800z yesterday, then rose to -12.9°C at midnight before falling back to -15.8°C at 0300z, and then rising to -13.3°C at 0900z, and then falling to -15.3°C at 1500z.
I suppose these ups and downs are interesting, however they are likely local effects caused by open patches of water between plates of ice. The plates create pockets of colder air and the water creates pockets of warmer air. All in all these temperatures are fairly normal for the Arctic Ocean in early October. Dullsville, if you ask me.
Looks like I’ll have to prowl around other parts of the Pole to find any excitement.
TEN DAYS AGO THIS CAMERA WAS SHOWING US OPEN WATER
This is the current view from the camera I stated had a “downcast look”, earlier in the summer. I have fallen in love with it, (now that the North Pole Camera has jilted me and run off with some sailor on an icebreaker.) It is called either Buoy 2012L: or O-Buoy #7, and if you have ten minutes to spare I highly recommend watching the arctic through her eyes. This can be done by watching this film clip, which condenses all the pictures taken since before it even was deployed onto the ice. (The first picture is from some building where they are assembling the buoy, back on June 13, 2012.) If you have no time just watch it from the nine minute mark on. I swear you learn more using your own eyes than the media teaches with a hundred headlines. http://obuoy.datatransport.org/monitor#buoy7/movie
Amazingly, ten days ago, on September 27, this buoy had been bobbing in the clear, without ice in sight, after a storm crumbled the ice it was upon and, I suppose because the superstructure acted as a sail, even though the north wind was bitter and cold the buoy was blown south into open waters. However the winds then got nicer, and southerly, and, the superstructure again acting as a sail, it headed north, and now look at the mess it is in!
Let this be a lesson to all of us. Kindly winds may not always be moving us the ways we want to go. Sometimes it is the bitter blasts that push us to the palm trees.
A CUD TO CHEW UPON
Here’s a couple of good maps to stimulate thinking .
The first is from Anthony Watt’s supurb “Sea Ice Page” at http://wattsupwiththat.com/reference-pages/sea-ice-page/ and is a map which doesn’t try to say how thick or concentrated the ice is, and instead shows the edge, with an orange line that shows the “average edge” for this date. (It is produced by NASA’s National Snow and Ice Data Center.) (Click to enlarge, and click again to make a huge version.)
What this map shows is the (only slightly) cold PDO seems to allow ice to be above normal on the Pacific side, (despite the current influx of milder air through the Bering Straits,) while the below normal ice is where the warm AMO allows a current to sweep north of of Scandinavia and continue north of Siberia, and melt ice from underneath even when air temperatures are cold.
The second picture is created by Ryan Maue on the WeatherBELL site, from data used by the Canadian model for its initial run. (I prefer this to the GISS model.) It shows temperatures modeled from spots of current data, 2 meters above the surface. (click to enlarge.)
Besides a lovely swirl of temperature-contrasts made by the storm I decide should retain the name “Leut,” it (to me) clearly shows the heat escaping from the coastal regions of the Arctic Ocean. No longer can you say those regions are warmer because of warm winds from the south, for the tundras of Alaska, Canada, and Eurasia are subfreezing, (pinks turning to blues and, if below zero fahrenheit, white.) Any land-breeze is now bone-chilling. The only warm southerly winds now involve maritime air from the Atlantic or Pacific. That can only explain the milder surface temperatures drawn north from the Atlantic north of Scandinavia and westernmost Siberia, and perhaps the waters immediately north of Bering Strait. Other arctic coastal waters are generating heat from the water itself. They have pink to their north and pink to their south, and stand out like the white areas of an infrared picture that show where your home is losing heat.
The areas I focus on are the entire Canadian arctic coast and the eastern arctic coast of Alaska, and a huge area north of central Siberia. There is no excuse for those areas being warmer, other than the water itself. Furthermore, every hour that air is warmer represents heat lost by the ocean. It is not merely lost at the surface, as occurs when the sea is insulated by a layer of ice, but down to several hundred feet.
The things to think about, (for me at least,) is: How much heat is lost, and does it have anywhere to go but up, to the frozen stars above?
OCTOBER 7 —AFTERNOON DMI MAPS— LEUT IS KING OF THE HILL
The high pressure “Newhie” is being knocked off the Pole by the advance of “Leut,” and the pressure gradient between the two should disperse ice that has been crammed to the Canadian side by earlier systems out into the Eurasian open waters. As this ice is accompanied by very cold temperatures, I expect the extent-graphs will show a surge of “new ice,” which is something of an illusion. Even our former-camera-site, under the calm center of NewHie, has stopped drifting west and started drifting east.
The current run of models is completely different from the last one, so it is likely best to ignore them until they make up their minds. I’m just watching to see if an polar-anti-vortex can be replaced by a polar-vortex in two days, and how long the situation lasts.
OCTOBER 8 —MORNING DMI MAPS—
Models have the weakening storm “Leut” move right over our camera-site and on to Greenland, but to me it looks like the high pressure “newbie” is forming a saddle right around the Canadian side. I can’t see why Leut shouldn’t get shunted down to Siberia like it did last time around. I can’t see now, but will see tomorrow I suppose.
Army data has it a toasty -16.02 C at our site, with the buoy drifting southeast.
OCTOBER 8 —DAILY DATA— STILL CALM, COLD, AND SOUTHBOUND
Our former-camera-site is continuing south, from 83.374°N at 1500z yesterday to 83.294°N at 1500z today, and east from 5.002°W to 4.685°W. This represents a drift of 6.11 miles to the southeast.
As there has been no wind reported for 24 hours, I wonder if the storm Leut to the north is pushing ice against other ice which jostles against our ice, bulldozing us along without wind.
Temperatures have stayed cold, dropping from -15.3°C at 1500z yesterday to -19.9°C at midnight. This temperature, (-3.82 Fahrenheit,) is the coldest we’ve seen it be at our site this autumn. Temperatures then rose to -11.5°C at 0900z today, before falling back to -12.0°C at 1500z.
All in all temperatures are normal and the drift is normal. I confess I find it boring when weather and ice behave themselves. I thought we were going to see something new, with the ice heading towards the Beaufort Gyre, and it’s a bit of a let down to have things go back to normal.
OCTOBER 8 —AFTERNOON DMI MAPS—
OCTOBER 8 —DMI MAPS— POLAR LOW
A quick glance before work shows “Leut” right over the pole, but not very strong. Central pressure is above 1000mb, and winds all around it are breezes at best. I can’t call this a gale, and it likely isn’t tearing the ice up and sloshing the water around, sucking the heat out of the ocean. However it is the closest we’ve seen to a zonal flow in a while, and a zonal flow locks the cold up top and allows it to build. Glancing at the temperature map it does seem there are a lot more pockets of sub-fifteen-below air this morning than there were yesterday afternoon, (and you can’t blame the sun, as it has set up there until next March.) There is even a tiny pocket of sub-minus-twenty air just off the northeast tip of Gtreenland, not all that far from our former-camera-site.
A quick check of Army data shows our buoy at -14.17 C, but over north of the Queen Elizabeth Islands Buoy 2012G: is coming in at -26.68 C. Yikes! That is sixteen below zero Fahrenheit. The cold is building up there, all right.
OCTOBER 9 —DAILY DATA— NO DATA AVAILABLE
Our former-camera-site continues in an area of calm light winds between storms, drifting a bit more rapidly southeast in bitter cold air. Movement in the past twenty-four hours has been south from 83.294°N to ? and east from 4.685°W to ? . Total distance has been ? miles.
Temperatures fell from -12.0°C at 1500c yesterday to ?.
(The above useless information demonstrates what happens if you prepare beforehand for the release of data, ordinarily at around 1:00-1:30 PM. What happens is Murphy’s Law. See if I ever prepare beforehand again!)
The most recent Army data (which lacks a time stamp) puts the buoy at 83.20 North, 4.35 West, (which is 7.07 miles from where it was at 1500z yesterday,) with the air temperature at -15.46 C.
OCTOBER 9 —DMI AFTERNOON MAPS—
Tentative theory: As these storms over the Pole fill and weaken, temperatures get much colder.
Computer models are suggesting that the next major player in the arctic will be “Flect,” now south of Svalbard. He is the northern appendage of an amazing assortment of fronts, occlusions and troughs, a sort of traffic jam of Atlantic storms caused by the champion polar high-pressure “Igor” retiring to Scandinavia and refusing to allow any bad weather to mar their autumn for a while. You can see a northern appendage of Igor over western Siberia in the DMI map, but the next map shows that Igor himself has decided to take a Black Sea vacation, and the entire mess of fronts decided to sneak into Scandinavia behind his back. Behind the back of these sneaks is a new high-pressure area just southwest of Iceland, (which Igor has hired to look after Scandinavia while he is away.) This high is named “Igin,” (a combination of “Igor” and “Again,”) because Scandinavia will again get more nice weather as all the sneaks will be pushed east to Siberia, where they will be the fuel for what perhaps, might, maybe, could be (we are talking about computer models, after all,) the revival of “Flect” into a major storm on the coast of central Siberia. We’ll see. In any case the map below shows Igor reclining comfortably on a Black Sea beach, and the plethora of sneaks entering Scandinavia. (click to enlarge.)
EXTENT GRAPH SHOWS REMARKABLE INCREASE, STIMULATING REMARKS
(CLICK GRAPH TO ENLARGE, AND CLICK AGAIN TO ENLARGE AGAIN.)
I have learned to take the ups and downs of “extent” graphs with a grain of salt. Such graphs fail to differentiate between ice packed tightly together and ice spread out thinly. For much of the summer, winds were packing ice from the Siberian side to the Canadian side, which made extents look less, and now winds have reversed and the ice from the Canadian side is to some degree being spread out to the Siberian side, which make extents look like more.
Think of it this way: If you had a pat of butter, and spread it over a piece of toast, a small square of butter would cover a large square of toast. That is like winds blowing from the Canadian side to the Siberian side. Then imagine you had such amazing dexterity with a butter knife that you could scrape all the butter from the toast back to a small pat of butter again. That is like wind blowing from the Siberian side to the Canadian side.
Of course, no one actually has such dexterity with a butter knife, and a butter knife is too blunt to dig butter out of all of the tiny, yeast-made air-pockets that cover the surface of toast. In the same manner, once ice is spread out in open water, not even all the king’s horses and all the king’s men can put it back together again. In the summer, a lot of it melts, and in the depth of winter a lot of it grows new ice around its edges and enlarges, and becomes huge round pegs you can’t fit back into small, square holes.
A lot depends on the temperature of the water the ice is spread out upon. For example….(The following is my private theory, and hasn’t been peer reviewed.)…
The big summer gale in the arctic during the summer of 2012 melted ice quite effectively, as the water which the ice was churned about within had been exposed to a triple-whammy of warming. First, it’s depths “remembered” the warmth of general AMO warm influxes, down deep. Second, a mild winter in North America meant Alaskan and Canadian rivers were pouring warmer water into the arctic (and warm, fresh water floats on top of colder, more briny water,) and this warmed the surface on that side. Third, an amazing hot spell over Russia that summer meant Russian rivers were pouring warmer water into the Arctic Ocean on their side, later in the melt season. When the big summer gale hit the ice was stirred around like Scotch on the rocks, and the rocks melted. (There were a few exceptions, for the gale did pile the ice up in colder areas, or even in warmer areas where circumstances allowed ice to converge.) Therefore, because the water was generally warmer, ice melted and ice extent shrank in a manner that surprised me and taught me a lesson.
However when you stir scotch on the rocks, something happens besides the rocks melting. Also the scotch gets chilled, (and sadly watered-down, but that’s another topic.) In the case of an ocean, the water gets chilled. It gets chilled not only at the surface but also down deep, as such storms churn down deeply.
This cooling of the water was furthered by the fact ice-free water is cooled more deeply than ice-covered water by arctic nights, and that big summer gale left a huge area ice-free, and in essence butt-naked, before the onset of winter.
Last but not least, a winter gale last February put a huge torque onto the surface of the Beaufort Sea, stressing the thin ice so extremely that it fractured and formed leads hundreds of mile long and many miles wide, expose vast areas of open ocean to howling arctic gales at a time temperatures were well below normal. (And normal is 30-40 below zero.)
Therefore, when gales blew up over the pole this summer, and people waited expectantly for ice to vanish like it did in 2012, it simply could not happen, because the water was cooler at the surface and cooler down deep.
Our most recent polar gale, (that I dubbed “Leut,”) seems another example of a gale that failed to melt ice and reduce extent like the summer gale of 2012 did. I honestly expected it to smash up a lot of “baby-ice,” and to see a dip in the extent graph. The NORSEX graph did show such a dip, but was so unnerved by the experience that it suffered a nervous breakdown, and hasn’t reported since October 1. The above graph, which is the AMSRE graph, only shows a slight flattening of the rise at that time. Then the steep rise resumes.
What’s going on here? Why aren’t the bergs melting, when churned up with unfrozen water that is churned up from below?
To answer these questions legitimate scientists are working very hard to gather sets of data regarding temperatures and salinity at various depths at various locations. I wish them well, and am eager to see their results. However I am an illegitimate bastard, compared to them, and will launch into the realms of sheer conjecture.
It seems to me that the Gulf Stream obeys one law while breaking another. The first law is that warm water floats above colder water. The second law is that salty water sinks below fresher water. As the Gulf Stream progresses north it is saltier water above fresher water, because for a while its warmth trumps its salinity. However as its warmth gets less and less it runs out of trumps, and then salinity eventually trumps warmth, and tendrils of warm Gulf Stream warmth dive under colder water, because they are saltier. They can even pass under ice, and melt the ice from beneath.
However these tendrils of slightly warmer water can only pass under slightly colder water when the difference is slight. When the slightly colder water becomes a bit colder, salinity can no longer trump temperature. Slightly warmer waters that may have been able to glide many hundreds of miles north abruptly runs into a wall not made of bricks, but of fluid dynamics. (I think a tenth of a degree can make a huge difference at this point.) Rather than slightly warmer water gliding hundreds of miles north, it goes elsewhere. Where? Maybe to the surface to be rapidly cooled, or perhaps left or right. In any case, it doesn’t glide hundreds of miles north.
The first to notice are the plankton, and then the fish, and then the gulls, and then the fishermen. (Sorry scientists, but you haven’t noticed it yet.) Entire populations of plankton, gulls, fish and fishermen relocate hundreds of miles, and the ice expands where it was retreating before, and scientists scratch their heads and say, “Look at this satellite map, Harry. How odd! Have we enough funding to locate a new sensor in quadrant 64, sector 77z?”
I am no scientist, and I am only a half-decent fisherman. Perhaps I am something of a gull, for some have called me a bit of a bird brain. However gulls know enough to fly away when the fish are gone. I’m not so sure about scientists.
In any case, I distrust extent graphs, however the same potential shortcomings in this year’s graph effect other year’s graphs. The 2006 graph was effected by them. And therefore when I see this year’s graph bounding upwards and crossing 2006, I think I can safely say, “The arctic is not ice-free, as some suggested it would be, by now.”
Less safe would be a radical statement, such as the following: “The theory of Global Warming was a ship built by rats and crewed by rats. It is a ship the rats won’t abandon, but honest people will. I hope only the rats go down with that ship.”
But you know me by now. I am far too fond of safety to ever, ever utter a statement like that, aren’t I?
OCTOBER 10 —DMI MORNING MAPS—
I’m glad there is no government shutdown in Denmark.
Looks like our camera-site might briefly be in the south-wind side of Leut, as Leut fades away. I wonder if the southward progress will slow, or if the north-wind side of “Flect” will take over.
The most recent Army data this morning has us down to 83.15 N, 4.16 W, with the air temperature at -14.19 C.
STILL NO DAILY DATA —ARMY DATA WILL DO—
Most recent Army Data has our former-camera-site at 83.12 N, 4.19 W, and the air temperature at -14.05 C. Compared to roughly this time yesterday, we have moved 5.71 miles just east of due south, however the eastward drift has shifted to a slight westward drift.
OCTOBER 10 —AFTERNOON DMI MAPS—
OCTOBER 11 —DMI MORNING MAPS—
“Leut” is now just an apendage of “Flect,” but isobars suggest our Forcamsite (New word I coined meaning “Former Camera Site.”) is getting strong winds from the north. The Forcamsite was reported this morning by Army data to be at 82.93 N, 3.36 W with temperatures “warmed up” to -10.40 C.
Isotherms show how much Atlantic warmth and moisture Flect has pulled up north of Scandinavia and Siberia, but as it crawls east along the Siberian coast the southerly flow will no draw on Atlantic juice, and instead will draw upon dry, cold interior air. It will be interesting to watch to see if temperatures drop dramatically in its circulation.
Also of interest will be the high pressure north of Canada. Though not particularly cold now, it looks to be cloud-free in satellite shots, and we can watch to see if radiational cooling drops temperatures there as well.
DAILY DATA —CATCHING UP ON THREE DAY’S DATA— CROSSING 83 NORTH
They finally got around to posting data from our Forcamsite, but heck if I was going to stay in on a Friday night catching up. If they can take a break, so can I. (However I was starting to wonder if they were effected by the “government shutdown.” A lot of the graphs at Anthony Watt’s “Sea Ice Page” haven’t been updated since September 30. Our Forcamsite data comes from sources not strictly under the government’s thumb, but dependent on government grants. I was wondering if the government issued the grants on a monthly or weekly basis, to keep people beholden.) However on a Saturday morning I can catch up.
October 9 Data: Our Forcamsite drifted steadily south from 83.294°N to 83.207°N, and east from 4.685°W to 4.229°W. Total movement was 7.09 miles south-southeast. Winds were calm, and then light during the final nine hours, swinging from northwest to west-southwest as what was left of “Leut” drifted down to the west. Temperatures remained cold, but average, warming from -12.0°C at 1500z on the 8th to -11.6°C at 2100z, then dropping to -13.7°C at midnight, then again slowly rising to -11.7°C at 0900z on the 9th, before dropping to the day’s low of -16.8°C at 1500z.
October 10 Data: Our Forcamsite continued south from 83.207°N to 83.153°N and east from 4.229°W to 4.071°W at 0300z, before shifting back west to 4.113°W. Total distance was 3.87 miles. The slowing of the drift was due to light headwinds for a while, however at the end of the period winds started to pick up from the north as Leut became a mere appendage of Flect, and Fleck’s west-side winds took over.
Temperatures hit their daily low early at -18.6°C, where they stayed until 2100z, before rising sharply at 0300z to -13.9°C. I suppose this represents Leut’s arctic air giving way to Flect’s greatly-modified Atlantic air. Temperatures then slowly rose to -13.1°C at 1500z.
October 11 Data: Our Forcamsite continued south from 83.153°N to 82.953°N. Westward movement continued from 4.113°W to 4.145°W at 0300z, whereupon eastwardly movement resumed and we drifted to 3.204°W at 1500z. Our total drift was 15.84 miles to the southeast.
The acceleration in our speed was caused by very strong winds that developed during the day, peaking at around 34 mph around 0600z, before slacking off to 14 mph at 1500z. As the wind slowed it backed around to the west, and we reached our southernmost latitude at 1200z, and remained at 82.953°N at 1500z. However at long last we have crossed 83 degrees south. Last year at this time our camera was just getting retrieved by the icebreaker Lance well south of 80 degrees, east of Svalbard.
Temperatures remained around thirteen below throughout much of the gale, likely churning and chilling any open water exposed by the mangling of ice. We reached our low of -13.4°C at midnight. Temperatures began rising as winds slacked off, reaching -9.9°C at 1200z and then falling to -13.0°C at 1500z as pressures began rising and winds became more westerly. Sounds like a bit of a cold front passed through.
Cold fronts and warm fronts do exist way up there, though perhaps not to the degree they exist further south.
OCTOBER 12 —DMI MORNING DATA— SIBERIAN GALE
Some interesting stuff going on up north today. At our Forcamsite there is a tiny little memory of “Leut,” likely confusing the winds, as well as a slender intrusion of milder air. (While morning Army data has our Forcamsite at -13.48 C, our “companion buoy” Buoy 2013B: to the north-northeast is coming in at a “mild” -6.15 C. Meanwhile Svalbard, which recently drove the subfreezing temperatures briefly north of its shores, is being attacked by the minus-five isotherm. There is quite a swirl of contrasting temperatures about our Forcamsite, and likely some uplift as well, which suggests “Leut” still exists even if isobars don’t recognize his existence much.
Meanwhile “Flect” has moved east to that noodle of land sticking north or Russia called “Novaya Zemyla.” Temperatures there are quite balmy for early autumn, largely above freezing, and this is going to supply “Fletch” with fuel to keep whirling. Western Siberia is not as cold as central and eastern Siberia, so the fetch of Flect is across tundra not quite as cruel as tundra further east, however it is colder than the Atlantic fetch it once drew upon. The source-region for air sucked up into the arctic is chilling, east of Flect, and though the next Zemyla east of Novaya Zemya, Severnya Zemyla, is slightly warmer it remains a growing outpost of ice on the Siberian coast. Beyond that is the Laptev Sea, whose open water has been a radiator of heat, but it is running out of heat, and is slightly cooler. Beyond that are the New Siberian Islands, (which really ought to be called the New Siberian Zemyla, if we wanted to be at all consistant,) beyond which is the East Siberian Sea, which has frozen to the shoreline, and then comes Wrangle Island, and the Bering Strait.
The other interesting feauture is the high pressure northwest of Greenland, which I suppose is part of Newhie coming back to life after part was squashed down into Canada. If you compare this morning’s isotherms with yesterday morning’s, you can see it is getting colder. The “black hole,” created by the area around the pole where the sun never rises any more, has expanded south to the north coast of Greenland. Every day the area atop our earth where the sun has no influence grows larger, and the ability to generate cold grows greater.
Sadly, many of the cameras that still function have stopped adding to their neat films, but you can still get a picture of the twilight that still occurs at high noon. Here’s a picture from Buoy 2013H: earlier today, located across the Pole at 80.94 N, 149.42 E, with temperatures at -12.11 C. (Click to enlarge.)
(I hope to get a picture when the moon “rides high,” during the next full moon.)
The ice is growing back much more quickly this year than last year. Here is a map from Steve Goddard’s site comparing where ice exists this year but didn’t last year (in green,) with areas ice existed last year but doesn’t this year (red.) Yellow is where ice existed on this date both years. (Click to enlarge.)
The main red areas, where ice existed last year but doesn’t this year, is in areas where ice is slushed south through Fram Strait to melt into the North Atlantic. The fact ice hasn’t headed south this year leaves that much more ice up north. It sure doesn’t look like we are on our way to an “Ice-free North Pole.”
Even though it looks like our Forcamsite is at long last headed south, a lot of freezing is occurring as we go. The storm that pushed us nearly sixteen miles south yesterday was blasting the water with winds of 35 mph and temps of -13, or 8.6 Fahrenheit. Considering salt water starts freezing at 29 Fahrenheit, such winds can’t bring about much melting. In fact it would seem the seas should jam up and coagulate. It will be interesting to see if southward motion slows at all.
Ice does continue to exit via Fram Strait all winter, but old maps show that some years it doesn’t melt, and some springs see an ice pack stuck to to the east coast of Greenland right down to its southern tip.
In the mid-1800’s there were reports of a few winters where the ice-pack even touched the north coast of Iceland. In my humble opinion, that’s takings things too far.
OCTOBER 12 —DAILY DATA—
We actually moved a bit north, from 82.953°N at 1500z to 82.962°N at midnight, before winds swung around and increased to 22 mph, and brought us south to 82.871°N by 1500z. Longitudinally we moved from 3.204°W east to 3.167°W at 1800z yesterday, then west to 3.197°W at 2100z, then back east to 3.162°W at 0300z today, then back west to 3.500°W at noon, and then back east to 3.458°W at 1500z.
After all that work, we only covered 6.09 miles. That’s only a quarter mile an hour. Do you know how slow that is? At age 82 my Dad could go faster than that using a walker (which he called “my gallopper.”)
I guess it just goes to show you, if you want to get anywhere, don’t change direction all the time. Sounds like a fine philosophy, and I intend to try it out, as I have to drive to Boston tomorrow.
As the winds at our Forkasite (I’m shortening the word “Forcamsite,”) veered over 160 degrees during the course of the day, temperatures also went through antics. They sunk slightly from -13.0°C to -14.9°C at 1800z yesterday, and then rose gradually to -12.7°C at midnight, but then spiked up six degrees to -6.7°C by 0300z, and were still at -6.5°C at 0600z, but then spiked down nearly four degrees to -10.3°C by 0900z. They were still at -10.2°C at noon, but then spiked down nearly four more degrees to -14.1°C by the final report at 1500z. Sunshine had nothing to do with it, as the sun has set for the winter at our site.
Obviously that slot of milder air, that was over our “companion buoy” this morning, was wheeled south over our site. Our companion buoy had a longer period of milder temperatures, as high as -1.6°C at noon yesterday, and -4.7°C at 1800z yesterday, which stayed high at -6.7°C at 0300z today, and then abruptly sunk to -10.3°C at 0600z and continued this plunge down to -19.2°C at 1500z. To me this longer period of milder temperatures shows the arctic “warm sector” of this slot of air was wider, but uplift has made the slot narrower as it came south. The slot is on its way to becoming an occlusion of warmer air aloft, with temperatures showing no uptick on the ground. (At 1500z our companion buoy was 87.1 miles north-northwest of our Forkasite.)
Some arctic maps show no sign of all these antics our Forkasite witnessed today. They saw nothing but straight lines of isobars between Flect, now far to the east, and Newhie, still far to our west. I guess it just goes to show what you can miss if your weather observations are too far apart, and your “grid” is too large.
OCTOBER 12 —DMI AFTERNOON MAPS— LEUT BECOMES INVISIBLE MAN
Leut, responsible for all the antics we saw in the daily data, is only the slightest waver in the isobars west of Svalgard in this afternoon’s map. All that we have to focus on at our Forkasite is Flect, far to the east, and Newhie, far to our west. Leut has become one of those “butterflies” that drive meteorologists mad by ruining their forecasts.
The DMI temperature map impresses me with how the cold has built over the Pole. (Compare it with the above map for the morning of October 9.) This is relected in the DMI graph for temperatures-north-of-80-degrees-latitude, which has dipped below normal.
I hope it bops above normal a bit more. I’m not ready for an autumn like 1976 was from November on, quite yet.
OCTOBER 13 —MORNING DMI MAPS— MINUS TWENTY-FIVE
With the center of the high pressure “Newhie” right over our Forkasite, wind on our side of the arctic are dropping, as east of Svakbard the winds roar and the ice-free sea is churned. We might even get some light southerly winds, as the low Flect digs south and crashes ashore in Siberia, and Newhie is king of the hill to our north.
Newhie is generating some real, winter-cold. For the first time this fall a small island of sub-twenty-five islotherms have appeared just north of Greenland, and, though the DMI map only shows it as a bluer area in the sub-twenty isotherms north of Queen Elizabeth Islands, Army data shows Buoy 2012G: coming in at -30.19 C. That is -22.34 degrees Fahrenheit.
How quickly things change up there, once the midnight sun sets. Thirty days ago the sun was always up, and temperatures were still up near freezing. (It makes me feel a lot better about how quickly the days are becoming shorter here in New Hampshire.)
I was feeling bitter and wintery, because Cameras One and Two ran off with a sailor on an icebreaker. Then, no sooner did I recover and profess new love for Buoy 2012L:, when she vanished from the Army site. (Likely because their thermometer sank when the ice broke up.) I tracked her down at the O-buoy site, but all she would give me is a frosty look:
Undaunted by such coldness, I turned to the other side. It is spring in Antarctic, and the sun is rising at the South Pole!
OCTOBER 13 —DMI AFTERNOON MAPS— NO, IT ISN’T SPRING UP HERE
Just back from Boston. Couldn’t look at the maps until now. What surprises me is how much more deeper blue, sub-minus-twenty-five isotherms there are up there. The cold seems to be building fast, and currently has nothing to do but sit there and build more.
Second thing I notice is that innocent little low about halfway between Iceland and Svalbard. That is roughly where all the leftover junk from Leut that passed over us yesterday would be.
OCTOBER 13 —DAILY DATA—
Our Forkasite drifted south from 82.871°N to 82.821°N in the past 24 hours, and drifted east from 3.458°W to 3.385°W at 0300z, before shifting back west to 3.425°W. Total distance covered was 3.48 miles south-southeast. Winds were light and backing around to the southeast. Pressures rose slightly and then fell slightly.
Temperatures fell from -14.1°C at 1500z yesterday to -18.7°C at 0300z, before rebounding to -14.7°C at 0900z, and then resuming the fall to -18.9°C at the final report at 1500z.
VIEW FROM THE FROZEN SEA NORTH OF THE BERING STRAIT
I must have made Buoy 2012L: nervous by running off to look at Antarctica this morning, because she decided not to be so frosty, and gave us this view of the frozen sea, with its cracks now hidden by drifting snow. (This is that camera with the “downcast eye” that was giving us views of an open ocean it bobbed about in, only two weeks ago.) (Click to enlarge.)
In case you are wondering how the sun can still be shining, it is because this buoy is “down south” at a latitude of roughly 76.5 north. (Our Forkasite was at 82.821°N at 1500z. By using the handy-dandy gadget at http://stevemorse.org/nearest/distance.php , and by keeping the longitude the same, I can tell you with some degree of authority that this camera is 442 miles further south than our Forkasite is.)
All places north of the Arctic Circle will eventually arrive at a dreadful day when the sun refuses to rise. However the further south you are, the fewer dreadful days you endure, and the later in the year the first sunless day casts it’s shadow across your life.
You can get an idea of how low the sun is by the pink tint on the snow. However this is as good as it gets. This is noontime, and all too soon the sun will dip back below the horizon, and in not too many days it won’t even rise; you will only get a twilight at noontime.
It puts me to shame for griping I do, if we get too many cloudy days in a row. Darkness is not an easy thing to endure. I spent a single winter farther north, up on the northeast tip of Scotland, but that was below the Arctic Circle, and at least we could hope the clouds would part and we might get a snatch of sunshine at noon, even in December.
Just a snatch of sunshine, such as Buoy 2012L: now gets, as the sun limped low across the sky, was like water in a desert to my spirit. I can’t imagine how tough people who spend winters north of the Arctic Circle need to be. They likely have little choice in the matter, and do what they need to do, and think little of what they are doing. However, because I have endured darkness, and know what such endurance entails, I have respect for Inuit and Laplanders and Russian pioneers who know such a demand upon endurance every year, and knew it even when they were small children.
As a rule, the small children at my Childcare at my brother’s farm do not like darkness one bit. Even the small boys brimming with machismo, who sneer at other children who admit they are scared of the dark, tend to hurry a bit, with panic on their heels, when they are the last one in the woods as night is falling.
By December the sun is going down before 4:30 here in New Hampshire, and it is quite dark by the time parents arrive to pick up their kids after their nine-to-five jobs and, in some cases, a long commute. I want to keep the children outside, because my staff is busy cleaning the “facility” to comply with state codes and standards, and a child indoors can get place so dirty it breaks codes and standards in less time than it takes to shake a cat.
How to keep kids outside, when it is dark, cold and kind of creepy? All I need to do is light a campfire. It draws the kids like moths.
I tend to gather dead, junk wood from cleaning the woods up, and light the fire before the sun has set. The first kids are the cold kids, but as soon as they are warm they dash off to play some more. However, as the dusk grows, more and more children are drawn to the light. Soon everyone is there by the fire. Even the parents are drawn, when they arrive to pick up their child, and linger longer than necessary.
There is something ancient and perhaps Neanderthal about the power of firelight in winter darkness. Even my dog feels it, and perhaps the reason dogs were domesticated so early in human history is because they were less afraid of fire than other beasts.
However fire is no match for the sun. It comes in a poor second. I see this every February, as the days lengthen and sap starts running in my maples. For the kids I like to tap a few maples and boil the sap, but the fire has not the draw it had in December. By March the children are practically disdainful. They do not actually come out and say, “Oh, pooh pooh! Who needs you!” (likely because they understand my fires cooks delicious stuff,) but they are no longer drawn like moths, for there is no longer any darkness to nip your heels with Halloween panic.
However right now the dark is building and getting worse. On some primal level we instinctively know darkness breeds cold and cold can kill us. Or you should know that. Even Neanderthal knew that. If you don’t know that your IQ might be sub-Neanderthal.
Some likely have their excuses. A visitor to this site might have always lived indoors, and had a thermostat on the wall that could warm without light being involved, and switches on the wall that responded with light without heat being involved. They might, in fact, be so coddled that they haven’t a clue what cold and dark are.
If you are such a visitor, I am afraid I must be the one to tell you there is no Santa Claus. Things such as cold and dark do exist, and you are privileged and fortunate to have lived a life where the plug never got pulled on you. I pray it never happens to you, but if it does happen I am here to tell you that yes, such things can happen, because the plug got pulled on me. I learned what cold and dark are like, as an altruistic artist sleeping in my car.
Cold and dark are not nice things, but they do teach you to love warmth and light. Therefore, because cold and dark are such good teachers, you might even call them lovely. They are lovely because they teach you to value warmth, light, and all sorts of other attributes ascribed to the spiritual ideal called “Love.”
Wow! You likely never dreamed a blog focused on Arctic Sea Ice could sidetrack off into such altruism. However the simple fact of the matter is that cold and dark matter greatly to ordinary bums who are not always sure where their next meal or heating bill is coming from, which explains why ordinary bums bother with meteorologists and weather reports.
In conclusion, even though we are only into the first third of Autumn, the oncoming Winter weighs on people’s minds. Some Neanderthal logic stirs in the depths of humanity, and they wonder, “Shall I see another springtime?” And the answer from the cold and dark is like Halloween, and states, “Maybe not.”
This is why the above picture from Buoy 2012L: pleases our eyes. Sunlight on arctic snow, it tells us, even as daylight shrinks, “Light will return.”
How are protected people to know this? They are so sheltered. They are vaccinated from ever getting the measles, and do not know what I know. When I was young I got the Measles, and the measles gave way to a time I could spring from bed. I had the mumps, chicken pox, rubella, and a flu before flu shots that nearly killed me. I always sprang from sickness to healing like darkness springs to dawn, and winter springs to spring.
The good guys always win. People get proof of this every day, They try so hard, but get more and more tired. Finally they are exhausted. They can’t go on. They are in a sense defeated. So do they take a course in how to utilize waking time wisely? No. They do this totally lazy thing called, “Go to bed.” Not the most constructive, pro-active thing to do, yet they achieve a springtime. They awake revitalized, recreated, reinvigorated, and ready to face the light.
We are all moths, because we all want to face the light. Even when the light is ebbing, and shadows lengthen, (for a while,) the light remains attractive. For example, look at the latest view, from Buoy 2012L:, showing shadows lengthen. Is the light not still beautiful? And able to make snow a thing that can warm a soul?
OCTOBER 14 —DMI MORNING MAPS—
The low south and east of Svalbard is still “Leut,” I have decided, as it formed out of junk which included stuff leftover after Leut decomposed. It is a reincarnation, and northeast winds around it will nudge our Forkasite south today.
Newhie is still king of the hill, atop the Pole, but things look weaker, as if we are about to see the pattern change.
Army data has our Forkasite at 82.77 N, 3.55 W, with air temperatures moderated to a balmy -13.72 C.
OCTOBER 14 —DAILY DATA— STEADILY SOUTH
Our Forkasite moved steadily south, from 82.821°N to 82.724°N, and steadily west, from 3.425°W to 3.425°W, for a total distance of 7.18 miles south-southwest.
Temperatures rose from -18.9°C at 1500z yesterday to -12.7°C at 2100z, and were still at -13.2°C at 0600z today, but then fell back to -17.6°C at 1200z, before rebounding slightly to -16.2°C at 1500z. I assume the northeast winds are keeping the very cold air to the northwest from sliding in, and keeping us in air that has been modified downwards a lot by the arctic ice and night, but still was Atlantic in origin, though it took a long, roundabout loop to arrive at our site.
OCTOBER 14 —AFTERNOON DMI MAPS—
OCTOBER 15 —DMI MORNING MAPS— EAST WINDS
(CLICK MAPS TO ENLARGE)
While isotherms show a slight southerly flow bringing milder air in just southwest of Svalbard, around reincarnated “Leut” as it bumps into northern Scandinavia, the greater flow is still around “Flect,” which is wobbling down in Siberia and likely to wobble back north as it merges with Leut. While these lows are creating an east wind north of the Siberian coast, feeding into that east wind is a weak cross-polar-flow to the north of the high pressure “Newhie” which is again cresting over or Forkasite. If the east winds can get down to us we may see our first sub-twenty-below readings of the season.
The area bounded by the sub-twenty isotherm seems smaller this morning, but I think that is because it has been discharged east across the pole towards Siberia. As soon as it gets near the open waters northeast of Svalbard it is warmed and no longer is sub-twenty any more. However those waters are losing a lot of heat, especially when churned by storms such as Flect. This in turn is cooling the major inflow of warmer water into the Arctic.
I’ve noticed the pocket of unfrozen water in the Laptev Sea is shrinking. It is located over central Siberia in the map below.
As soon as the Laptev sea freezes over Siberia’s power to generate cold greatly increases. What I will then watch for is a cross-polar-flow developing from eastern Siberia to Alaska, with any sort of high pressure ridge poking up the Pacific coast. Despite such a lobe seeming to attempt to poke north, such cross-polar-flow is not the case currently, with a lobe of the Aleutian Low along the Alaskan coast creating an interesting divergence of winds north of Canada, (West north of Alaska but east north of Greenland.) (Whenever I see such divergence I imagine ice being stressed, pulled opposite ways until it is torn in two, and a lead of open water forming in very cold air.) However the current pattern is a pattern in flux. Events such as the Laptev Sea freezing over make major changes to the ingredients going into the recipe of a pattern.
The huge area of open water north of Western Siberia and Scandinavia catches my eye. During colder times in sixty-year-cycles the ice would already be well below the eighty degree latitude circle, encasing Franz Josef Land and northern Svalbard in the ice pack, with the the ice pack already extending down to the tip of Novaya Zemyla, and filling the entire Kara Sea to its east with ice.
The fact this water is open water instead creates, in my view, a tremendous negative feedback to any continued melting. All that open water is being robbed of heat, and next summer the Arctic Sea will be colder, which will effect the speed of the ice-melt next summer. It represents a sort of reverse logic, for open water means more ice, not less ice. The longer that water stays open in November and December the more ice there is likely to be hanging around in June and July, (dependent, of course, on other factors, such as winds flushing ice south, or a new warm-spike in the AMO sending a new charge of warmer water north.)
THE INCUBATING ARCTIC ICE-DRAGON
Below, in a map of polar temperatures created by Dr. Ryan Maue at WeatherBELL out of the data used for the initial run of the Canadian Model, you can clearly see (if you have any sort of imagination) the dragon of sub-zero temperatures circling the pole like a doomsday vulture. And I’m talking sub-zero Fahrenheit, the REAL sub-zero. The contrast between above zero Fahrenheit and below zero Fahrenheit is made vivid in Ryan’s map by a shift from deep blues to white. (Click to enlarge.)
The cold dragon is incubated by cold, silence, and darkness. The lull after Leut weakened while crossing the Pole, the building of Newhie over the Pole with clear and calm, and the more southerly route of Flect along the Siberian coast, all allowed winds to circulate around the edges without any discharge of the building cold from the center. Now, even though the cross-polar-flow is not major, just watch the temperatures over Scandinavia and East Siberia this next week. The discharge side of the cross polar flow is always a shock to those receiving its attention, when the cold dragon rules.
It is also impressive how the cold has built in Western Siberia, towards the Bering Strait. It shows up well in another of Dr. Ryan Maue’s excellent maps, this one using data from the initial run of the GFS modle. Compare the cold on the Siberian side of the Bering Strait with the Alaskan side. (Click to enlarge.)
With this map we have to switch our brains around to having the Pole at the top. The huge typhoon doesn’t really show in the lower right, but as it pulls northeast from Japan it ought to tap into that cold Siberian air, and northern Japan could see some early snow. Then that typhoon ought fuel a humongous Aleutian low.
When you look at the above map and note the cold in Siberia and the relative warmth in Alaska, it might seem Alaska is a buffer to the cold. However what happened the autumn of 1976 was that much of west, south and central Alaska was above normal, as the cold air “came over the top.” In the above map such a route would make an illogical-seeming sharp curve, but if you look at the map above that, and view our Earth from the top, the route from western Siberia to western Alaska is a far straighter line.
That is what I am watching for. Until I see otherwise, this autumn smells like 1976.
In case you are wondering how the cold can build so quickly in Siberia, check out the snow-cover they have already. Short days, long nights, and snow-cover, and presto! Sub zero air. Once the arctic coasts of Siberia and Alaska are frozen over, that sub-zero air only gets sub-zeroier, as it crosses the sunless arctic sea, and sub-zeroiest as it crosses the dark and frozen tundras of Alaska and Canada. Then, as they say, there is nothing between the North Pole and Texas but strands of barbed wire and some shivering cows.
In the winter of 1976-77 the entire population of the USA east of the Mississippi got hit by a winter they never expected, for the snow dragon breaths out air that burns, but with blasting cold, rather than flame. (Click snow-cover map to enlarge.)
OCTOBER 15 —DAILY DATA— SOUTH BUT SLOWER
Our Forkasite began the past 24 hours drifting south at a goodly clip in a brisk, light northeast breeze that occasionally gusted to 15 mph, however as winds slackened to under five mph, with occasional calms near zero, and swung around to the south, and temperatures rose up to the low teens below zero, working conditions became so unbearable for sea-ice that it little wonder tongues hung out and progress towards Fram Strait slowed.
However progress we did, moving south from 82.724°N at 1500z yesterday to 82.668°N at 1500 today, and longitudinally west from 3.712°W to 3.940°W at 1500z today, before backsliding to 3.927°W at 1500z. Total movement for the day was 4.32 miles to the south-southwest, with most of the progress made early.
It’s hard to progress when it gets so danged hot. Temperatures began at a comfortable -16.2°C at 1500z yesterday, but immediately spiked to an unbearable -12.6°C at 1800z. They then strove to cool, getting as low as -15.3°C at 0300z, however another uppercut of stifling heat raised temperatures to -13.7°C, and all efforts since have only lowered the temperatures to a sultry -15.0°C at 1500z.
The UBAI is threatening to go on strike and not budge at all if I don’t improve working conditions. They said I promised them temperatures of sub-twenty-below. I am buying time by telling them, “But I didn’t say when,” however they have a mean look in their eye. It never pays to mess with the United Brotherhood of Amalgamated Ice-floes.
OCTOBER 15 —AFTERNOON DMI MAPS—
The pressure map shows that Newhie has relinquished contol of the Pole, but not to a storm, but rather to a general area of low pressure with isobars so far apart that conditions must be calm or nearly calm. The lobe of the Aleutian Low has formed a little low north of Canada which must be named, so I’ll name it “Fred.” (Why not?) Fred’s east-side southerly winds are the warmest air entering the arctic at this time, and because they are continental, from inland Alaska and Canada, they aren’t all that warm. and anyway they are swiftly curled around and head back towards Bering Strait. The second inflow into the Arctic is very cold air slowly oozing in to the east of “Flect,” coming from central Siberia. And the third inflow is likely from aloft, as air lifted in Ferrel Cells and Polar Cells decends. There must be air coming from above because a lot less seems to entering than is departing.
A long fetch exists as an east wind above both Fleck and Leut, and then dumping south onto Scandinavia. Considering this air has origins in Siberia, and furthermore incorperates bitter cold air from north of Greenland translated into it by the slight cross-polar-flow, I don’t suppose the folk in Finland are forgetting to don their fur hats.
The degree of cold in this exit region is largely masked in the temperature map. I surmise this is because very cold air crossing relatively warm water is swiftness moderated at the surface, robbing the water of its heat. However I also surmise that layer of heat is shallow, and the warming only appears aloft in areas where uplift is encouraged, towards the center of lows.
I still feel this is a very temporary pattern. I’m eager to see what Tyhoon Wipha adds to the mix, once it becomes an Aleutian low.
OCTOBER 16 —DMI MORNING MAPS—
NOTE: AS THIS POST IS GETTING LONG AND UNWIELDY, IT WILL BE CONTINUED AS A NEW POST AT: https://sunriseswansong.wordpress.com/2013/10/16/arctic-sea-ice-recovery-halloween-hushing-and-howling/