ARCTIC SEA-ICE RECOVERY; THANKSGIVING AND STORMS

This is a continuation of a series of posts, the last of which was, https://sunriseswansong.wordpress.com/2013/11/16/arctic-sea-ice-recovery-the-darkest-sixth/

The posts began last June, basically as my ruminations about what we could see, looking out the lens of the North Pole Camera, and it is somewhat amazing how much I have learned, simply by wondering about what I’ve watched.

In the old days wondering didn’t go so far: When a cloud drifted over the edge of the horizon, that was pretty much that. Nowadays you can move your mouse and with a few clicks of the keyboard employ modern satellite technology to follow that cloud.  Also topic leads to topic with astounding ease, and you can find yourself starting on the topic of icebergs and move on to walruses or the Titanic.

In order to give these posts some sort of center, I try (and sometimes fail) to orbit the subject of the specific iceberg the North Pole Camera was situated upon, even though the camera was itself rescued at the end of September. This berg has drifted hundreds of miles, and yesterday covered fifty miles in a single day.  We have moved down into Fram Strait, and have no way of knowing if our faithful Forkasite, (which is short for “Former Camera Site,”) will crumble to bits today, and drop its still-functioning GPS, thermometer, anemometer,  wind vane and barometer into the dark depths of the sunless sea, or whether it will continue on, to see the very southern tip of Greenland, and the sunshine of the spring.

I give the “Daily Data” once a day, and twice a day try to post the DMI maps of polar air pressures and temperatures that overlook our site. However those maps show storms, and I often get curious about those storms, which leads to other maps and an expanding awareness of weather patterns in Europe, Asia, and North America. After all, the little berg our Forkasite sits upon is part of a greater Arctic, which can greatly effect all northern nations, this time of year.

I will try to avoid the politics of Global Warming as much as possible, but find it very difficult to talk about our innocent iceberg without getting drawn into brawls.  So you’ll have to forgive me if my eyes bug out and I breath rapidly through clenched teeth, from time to time.  I usually get over these fits fairly swiftly.

The updates are added to the bottom of the post.  If you are entering on my “home” page you can click the cartoon balloon beside the post’s title, which takes you down to the start of the comments, and then scroll up to the most recent update.

I had to discontinue pictures from the other cameras scattered around the Arctic Sea, because they have all been shut down, with the exception of the webcam atop a bank in Barrow, Alaska.  I think the buoy-cameras may be solar powered. In any case, there is little to see in the 24 hour darkness. If I’m still around when they start the cameras back up next spring, the pictures will resume.

Lately I’ve started to include something I call the “Local View.”  This is a somewhat self-centered view of how the North Pole is affecting my brother’s small farm, which is also a Childcare Center, in southern New Hampshire.  I have a hunch this could be a bad winter on this side of the planet, so this feature could get interesting. For example, a big storm could effect the eastern USA with snow this coming Wednesday, and currently we are getting blasted by a north wind which has temperatures well below normal.

Last but not least, a long time ago I studied poetry very studiously and got good grades at it. ( A more useless subject, in terms of making money or being “practical,” I doubt exists.) However it explains the fact this blog may occasionally dissolve into purple prose. (I try to hide a sonnet in the prose at least once a week.)

Hopefully that covers everything.  If I have forgotten anything, please feel free to comment.  The comments are my favorite part of hosting these posts.

NOVEMBER 24  —DAILY DATA—

Our Forkasite continued south from 75.955°N to 75.365°N, as the gale diminished from 33 mph to a strong breeze of 22 mph.  As it dimished it backed to west of due north, and as a consequence our westward motion from  5.995°W stopped at 6.230°W at 0300z today, and we had drifted back east to 6.162°W by 1800z.  We traveled 41.02 miles south in the past 24 hours. In the past 72 hours we have covered 129.77 miles, which is more than we covered from mid June to mid September combined.

Here is some strange data, which may be only due to a delay in updates. However our berg may have split into two chunks, for the army data for Buoy 2013E: has us at 76.34 N, 7.27 W. That is 70 miles north-northeast!  Originally the Army equipment was deployed at the same site at the same time, but the equipment was spread out.  As I recall Camera One was located roughly “three football fields” from Camera Two.  Hmm.  It will be something new to watch, in the pitch dark when we can’t see anything.

Temperatures have held fairly steady with the day’s low -13.0°C at 2100z yesterday, the high -11.7°C at noon today, and the final reading -12.2°C at 1800z.

NOVEMBER 24  —DMI AFTERNOON MAPS— 

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

As the storm I dubbed “Baff” weakens as it crashes into northern Norway, an eastward extension of it strengthens by Nova Zemyla. I guess I’ll call that Baffeast, (because around here we feast this week.)

By the way, as I suppose there may be newcomers to this site who aren’t up on arctic geography, Nova Zemyla is that noodle of land sticking north from Siberia.  It is actually an extension of the Ural mountains, which separate Europe from Asia when you don’t call the land a single continent, Eurasia.

In any case, it can be seen Baff did manage to bring quite a blob of milder air up to the arctic, and this will be like gasoline fueling Baffeast for a while.  The rest of the arctic remains fairly quiet, and quiet breeds cold up there.  However that Labrador low you can barely see poking up southeast of Greenland’s southern tip is discharging a blast of bonechilling air, and the wind is roaring outside as I type here in New Hampshire.

Baff is discharging cold air towards Norway, but the temperatures along Norway’s east coast surprise me by being above freezing. They were below freezing yesterday.

Things have been stalled for a while, but as Baff moves away east that Labrador will follow Baff’s route, though a bit further south, smashing right through Greenland. Our Forkasite may see another spell of light south winds, and then get creamed by another storm that explodes east of Greenland. Could this be the end?  Stay tuned!

LOCAL VIEWS   —A Wake-up Call—

This morning’s map shows an arctic front pushing off shore. It looks rather innocent, but slapped people awake.  (click to enlarge.) a  prestorm pause 5 satsfc (3)

That low up in Labrador was a meek secondary called Fitz2son, that formed on a dangling cold front as Fitz2 went up Baffin Bay to join the ruckus that formed Baff. Fitz2son didn’t progress beneath Greenland and up past our Forkasite, as it ran into what is called a “Block,” and backed up.  Now it has exploded and is unloading all the cold air stored up north of Hudson Bay down upon us.  Thank heavens Hudson Bay is still warming sub-zero air that passes over it into the teens.  (Double click to fully enlarge.)

A prestorm pause gfs_t2m_noram_1

All day the winds have howled, despite brilliant sunshine.  Luckily I had choir to go to, and animals to care for at the farm, for otherwise I would have just stuck by the stove and missed the madness of the outdoors.

There is something unique about it getting this cold without any snow.  The damp leaves are frozen crisp, and make a different noise as they scurry by on the wind, as they are harder and heavier.  People walk hunched and strangely under-dressed, because without snow and with the sun so brilliant the psyche can’t quite accept the need for wool. Most are two busy enduring to look up, but when they do they look amazingly alert and awake.  It is not a weather for dreamers, unless they’re indoors.

This is a perfect example of why it is unwise to ignore storms that meekly pass by. On this evening’s map Fitz2son is now a monster, down near 960 mb.

A prestorm pause 6 satsfc (3)

You would think you could ignore a storm once it has moved off the upper left of this map, and was only a 990 mb low, closer to Iceland than Labrador, but this storm demonstrates you can’t.  Storms like this have killed hunters in the past, without a flake of snow, simply because a man heads out to a camp without proper clothing on a mild Friday evening, and see no storm on the map.  The wind picks up on Saturday night, but the campfire seems warm enough, and then the arctic front passes through with only a dust of snow, and suddenly the winds are roaring at forty and the temperature is ten,  (minus twelve, Celsius,) and the car is ten miles away through the trees.  The campfire’s too small, and you have no ax, or extra wood. (Some didn’t even bring matches, and only have a hand-warmer gadget for each pocket.) You’ll freeze if you walk, so you start running…

Safe and snug by my computer, I’m looking west for the next feature.  Right off the bat I notice a little low up in Canada, in the northern branch, and another little low down at the end of the cold front, in the Gulf of Mexico.  If I was a kid hoping school would be cancelled by  snow, I’d want the northern feature to roll south as an Alberta clipper, and the southern feature to start north as a coastal low, and to time their arrival over the northeast USA and to do this thing called, “phase.” Bingo. Gale center.

Don’t tell the kids, but I’m looking for ways such “phasing” can be avoided.  A white Christmas is festive, but a white Thanksgiving gets in the way of sitting in an armchair and digesting large quantities of good food. I’m quite sure that shoveling snow on a full stomach can’t be good for you.

NOVEMBER 25  —DMI MORNING MAPS—

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

Baff and Baffeast continue to chug east along the Siberian coast.  A decent cold flow comes around their backside and down to Norway. This will eventually move east and chill the Barents Sea, which is wide open and unprotected.  (Remember my theory is that the longer this sea stays open the more the arctic water will be chilled next summer.)

Interesting situation developing over Europe, with Baff’s upper air trough leaning east to the north and kicking back to the southwest further south, beneath a strong high poking over England. (I can remember a December high over England back in 1970; with the nights so long and still, and the air basically maritime, the late sunrise revealed wonderfully thick frosts.) The bowling ball over Etna may actually roll backwards and wind up over Spain. (I’ve decided to name that low “Etty” rather than “Ernie,” because the faint reflection of a prior Etna low, now a decent storm over North Korea, was actually named “Chet” and not “Bert.”) (Like a parent with many children, I have a hard time keeping the names straight.)

UK Met Nov 25 10277324

In any case, as long as that big high doesn’t budge, there will be a peculiar and backwards-seeming flow under it, down riwards Spain.  Also lows can’t charge across the Atlantic.  After looping over Labrador, Fitz2son will wobble north and enter Baffin Bay and do one of those strange morphing hops over Greenland.  (If I had the money I’d pay some young students to study what air masses do as they transit Greenland.  It is bizarre, and could occupy a brilliant mind for a year at least.)  Basically the low vanishes, as does the high over Greenland, and then the low reappears on the other side, as the high reappears over Greenland.  It would seem the winds would just drop to nothing, and then suddenly blow up a gale as Baff did.

The rest of the arctic is calm and continues to get colder, especially over the Queen Elizabeth Islands, despite a lot of that air being sucked south over Hudson Bay and south to the eastern USA. I am basically distrustful, and this sort of arctic calm makes me very suspicious.  It is like when the children get too quiet at our Childcare: You know they are up to something.

DID BAFF BASH BERG? IS  BUOY BOBBING?

I find it highly suspicious that the Army data reports our Forkasite at 76.04 N, 7.74 W, while our Daily Data spots it at 75.365°N, 6.162°W.  Unfortunately I haven’t been paying attention toi the Army data, and don’t know when the discrepancy first appeared.

Using Stephen P. Morse’s wonderful tool at  http://stevemorse.org/nearest/distance.php , I am able to calculate that these two positions are 54.06 miles apart.  Something just ain’t right, here.

My mind drifts back to those sunny days when we actually had daylight and a camera, and the view that became fondly familiar to me.  Here is a picture from last July 28 (Click to enlarge.)

NP July 28 npeo_cam2_20130728131212

This was taken just after “Lake North Pole” vanished. I now notice two things.  First we are looking at a buoy, obviously designed to float even after the ice crumbled.  Second, there appears to be a crack in the ice, extending from the lower right in a straight line to behind the buoy.  This may have been a crack that Lake North Pole drained down through, and I recall wondering at the time if it represented a weakness in the ice, and whether we would see a lead form right where we could see it.  Now I wonder if that crack did split open, and if that buoy toppled into the water, but has continued to send out data.

This actually did happen to “O-buoy 7,” which had a camera attached and filmed the experience.  I advise watching all 11 minutes and 40 seconds of the time-lapse movie, however if you are pressed for time you can watch it from the ten minute mark on, and see the camera leaning over an open lead, and then bob free in open waters, and then be recaptured by the expanding sea ice. http://obuoy.datatransport.org/monitor#buoy7/movie

I am now wondering if the same sort of thing may have happened to our Forkasite.  In the case of O-Buoy 7 the Army data stopped reporting when the berg disintergrated, however in our current case the Army instruments may have been placed on the thicker and firmer and higher ice where Camera One took pictures (until it got knocked over by a polar bear.) (A polar bear’s fur also makes a brief appearance in the O-Buoy 7 film.)  As that was located “three football fields” (900 feet) from Camera Two, there is a chance the Army data could continue to be transmitted for some time.

What the heck are we to do?  Which is the real Forkasite, and who is the pretender?

It is interesting that the Army site is further north and west, more where you’d expect a large berg to be, jostling with other bergs, while our Daily Data Buoy is zipping along like a small object, able to zip down channels between bergs and perhaps even break free into open waters.

I guess I’ll simply report the antics of both sites.

LOCAL VIEW  —Converging Storms—

It is a very cold morning for November here in New Hampshire, with my back-porch thermometer bottoming out at ten, (minus twelve, Celsius.)  However the wind has died down.  The sky is a mixture of deep blue and rafts of alto cumulus, moving fairly swiftly down from the north, and likely “junk,” a ghost-frontal memory swept all the way around and down from Labrador by Fitz2son.  Let’s look at the map. (click to enlarge)

a prestorm pause 7 satsfc (3)

Fitz2son hasn’t moved, but is weaker, which is usually a sign it will ship out.  To our northwest the Alberta Clipper is cruising southeast, and is n stronger, which is usually a sign it isn’t going snatch its energy and run off to the Northeast.  It is surrounded by very cold air and hasn’t much “fuel” to make it bigger.  Down in the Gulf of Mexico, however, there is plenty of warm, juicy “fuel,” and that innocent-looking storm has more clouds and is a bit stronger, and doesn’t look likely to squirt out under the high, over Florida.  The high is keeping it west, and it is likely to run up the coast at us.  (For viewers from Europe, this is a classic American set-up for a storm.)

Models now seem to be suggesting the coastal storm will pass just west of me here, sucking warm air up its east side, and we may get rain rather than snow.  However the Atlantic is quite warm, and sometimes the storms get jerked east by the warm water, jerking the rain-snow line east as well.  I’d best play it safe and plan on snow. See ya.

NOVEMBER 25  —DAILY DATA—  

Henceforth our Forkasite will go by two names.  The buoy,(which is what we are accustomed to following,) will be called the “Forkuoy,” while the Army data will be called the “Forkarma.”

The Forkouy continued south  from 75.365°N to 75.171°N, and then, as the wind switched to south, headed back north to 75.182°N. Longitudinal motion was west from 6.162°W to 6.642°W. Total movement of our Forkuoy was 15.26 miles to the south-southwest. (The fact our Forkuoy responded so swiftly to the change in the wind leads me to suspect it is a bouy drifting free, and not a mass of ice moving with enormous momentum.)

The problem with the Forkarma is that there is no time stamp on the data we get. Therefore, though some hard worker often updates the data several times a day, you have no idea of the time of day, though you do know what day it is.  The last report gives the location of the Forkarma as  76.04 N, 7.74 W. This is 62.45 miles from the location of Forkuoy (though the times may be different.)

What is interesting is the difference in temperature. Our Forkuoy saw temperatures settle from -12.2°C at 1800z yesterday to the 24-hour period’s low of 12.8°C at midnight, and then slowly rise to -11.9°C at noon, whereupon the wind shifted, and temperatures were up to -9.3°C at 1800z. Meanwhile our Forkarma was reporting a much colder -19.22°C.

If you travel further north to our “companion buoy,” located at 1800z at 78.070°N and 6.972°W, 200 miles north of our Forkuoy, you see very cold temperatures of -27.5°C.

This disparity of temperatures is suggestive of one buoy encased by ice, and another floating in nice “warm” water of around -1.9°C.

Of course, this is all sheer guess-work done in the dark.

NOVEMBER 25  —DMI AFTERNOON MAPS—

DMI Nov 25B pressure mslp_latest.bigDMI Nov 25B temp_latest.big (1)

Baff and Baffeast continue to wobble east along the Siberian coast, with the west-side north winds slacking off over Norway, but also cutting the dual storm off from its supply of Atlantic Juice. Meanwhile its east-side south winds are starting to dig into the interior of east Siberia, which is far colder than west Siberia has been, and therefore we are talking about very cold air being transported north into the Arctic Sea.  Further east a modest invasion of Pacific air has made its way through the Bering Strait, but has reversed and will not continue.  Continuing around to the arctic coast of Alaska, high pressure persists and the coldest air of the season so far is pooling along the immediate shoreline, extending further east to the coast of Canada.  Further east the top of Greenland is cold, with the chill spilling down the east coast and then across to Norway, however as we arrive back where we started we see the Barents Sea north and northeast of Norway and Sweden and Finland remains open, with above freezing temperatures to the south.

Intruding north into Baffin Bay, southwest of Greenland at the lower left of our map is Fitz2son, which is starting its transit of Greenland. Watching these transits is always fascinating and involves an element of mystery, and the morphing of the low from the west to the east side likely deserves a word all its own, “morphistation” or some such thing.

UPDATE ON ICE EXTENT

I figure I should note down an interesting aberration in the ordinary regrowth of ice in the Arctic.  It is nice to save a map from time to time, so we can refer back later in the season when memory fails us. (Not that memory actually fails, but it does tend to embellish.)

We are entering the time of year when people who enjoy fretting about the North Pole melting get quiet and direct their attention elsewhere, because the area of ice to our north is double what it was only two months ago, basically 12 million km2 rather than 6 million km2.  (This increase never gets the headlines the yearly decrease get.)

For selfish reasons, I keep my eyes peeled for the freeze-up of the less-known Great Lakes of Canada, (Great Bear Lake, Great Slave Lake, Lesser Slave Lake, and Lake Winnipeg.)  Also I eye the snow extent up there.  This map is good for watching that: (Click to enlarge.)

Extent Nov 26 ims2013329_alaska

This map shows us that the northern lakes are freezing over, as is Hudson Bay, and we can’t count on their warming influence much longer. (It also shows the snow-cover is complete and we can count on arctic air getting colder, due to radiational cooling, if it sits around up there.)

Another good map to just glance at is the Navy map (though it does not show the lakes) :

Extent Nov 26 arcticicennowcast (1)

The good thing about the Navt site is that it offers animations that show you whether ice is growing or shrinking, and what big storms do to the edge of the ice.  The thirty day animation can be seen at http://www7320.nrlssc.navy.mil/hycomARC/navo/arcticice_nowcast_anim30d.gif  and the 365 day animation can be seen at http://www7320.nrlssc.navy.mil/hycomARC/navo/arcticice_nowcast_anim365d.gif

I recommend the 30-day-animation, to see how swiftly Hudson Bay is freezing up, and also the battle of the Atlantic, which I’ll discuss further.

The weakness of the Navy maps involves shorelines, which can be open when the Navy maps show ice, due to tides and off shore winds.  It is good to sneak a peak at the shore of Barrow Alaska, to keep things in perspective: http://seaice.alaska.edu/gi/observatories/barrow_webcam  You can get time-lapse films there as well.

The question then becomes, “Is this ice above or below normal?”  Ignoring the follow-up question, “What is normal,” the next map is an old favorite of mine.  (Clicking will enlarge, and clicking again will create a huge enlargement, and clicking a third time will reduce things back to a more manageable view, and clicking a fourth time will again make things huge, and so on ad-infinitum.)

Extent Nov 26 N_bm_extent_hires

The weakness of this map is that it doesn’t show how dense the pack-ice is, an occationally a sea merely dotted with ice appears as pure white.  However that is more of a summer problem. What I like about this map is the orange line, which shows “normal.”  It shows us, for example, that the swift growth of ice in Hudson Bay is quite normal for this time of year, and slightly below normal in the north while slightly above normal in the south.  The growth of ice in the Saint Lawrence Seaway and Maritime Provinces is early.  The freeze-up of the Bering Strait is late, though the northwest pacific coast is freezing up a bit early.  However most interesting to me is the Barents Sea, north of Scandinavia.

What I surmise is that the gales trashing the “baby ice” up there have been sweeping it west, north of Svalbard, and then down through Fram Strait, which you’ll notice has above-normal ice-extent. This causes me to raise an eyebrow, as it is a dynamic which cools the water entering the Arctic Sea in two separate manners.

First, there is a big difference between open water and ice-covered water, in terms of cooling.  It doesn’t show in terms of anomaly maps, for there is very little difference between open water at minus 1.8 and ice at minus 1.9, however it makes a giant difference in terms of how deeply the water cools.

Ice-covered water is calm and still, and water can stratify in layers which are dealt not merely in terms of temperature, but also in terms of salinity, which means you can have warmer water not rise, but slide under cooler water like a shuffled card, when it is more salty.  Warm water can travel hundreds of miles north under ice, which later melts the ice from below.  However, when the water is open and the arctic gales are howling, this stratification is disturbed by turbulence,  and the water is churned and mixed to a degree that salinity matters less. Temperature trumps salinity, and things get much more simple. The cold water simply sinks and the warm water simply rises, to be exposed to howling winds and cool.  Therefore open water cools to a far greater depth.  Rather than warm water sliding hundreds of miles north in the quiet under ice, the water is cooled right down to the pycnocline.

The second cooling effect involves the masses of ice being flushed south through Fram Strait.  The bulge towards Iceland is uncommon, as is the bulge coming south further north.  If this ice were to actually touch the shores of Iceland, it would be a once-a-century news-worthy event, however 99% of the time it just passes by, and melts in the North Atlantic.  However ice melting in the North Atlantic does the same thing as ice melting in your summer lemonade: It cools the drink.  An above-average amount of ice ought lead to above-average cooling.

Do you catch my drift? (Terrible pun, I know.)   If we have two seperate factors cooling the inflow of water into the Arctic Sea, can we expect the melt to be more, or less, next summer?

LOCAL VIEW  —Burning Leaves—

When I was young everyone burned their leaves. In fact I remember one year, (1966?) when so many people in New England were burning leaves under the blue sky of high pressure, that the inversion trapped all the smoke, and from New York to Maine the air was quite blue.  No one worried all that much about “pollution,” back then, but I have to admit it got a bit intense.

Now there are all sorts of rules and regulations, and it is such a bother to get the proper permits that few burn leaves.  This is a pity in some ways, for the Native Americans used to attend to the health of the woodlands and gardens by having a yearly burn.  It makes nutrients immediately accessible, kills weed seeds and small brush, and actually reduces the risk of wildfire the next summer. Furthermore, it skips the bother of raking leaves. Not that landscapers rake, as I once did.  Now they use leaf-blowers and giant, sucking vacuum cleaners,  making noise pollution that irks me.  I far preferred the scuff-scuff-scuff of a rake, and smell of burning leaves.

Yesterday someone told me that farms don’t need burn-permits.  Of course, you officially must apply for the permit that allows you to be a farm, but our farm has been a farm for over 200 years, and I was tired and achy. I’d loaded the porch to the ceiling with wood, just in case it snows on Wednesday, and also all the children at our Childcare wanted to ride on my shoulders for some reason.  It is dark by 4:30, and I had a little fire to throw off some light and heat, but it wasn’t enough heat, though temperatures had recoved from the morning’s ten degrees to the high twenties.  So I threw a handful of leaves on the fire, producing a brief burst of light, and also heat.  That was well recieved, so we continued the process. I eventually got a rake, and did what we have done for 200 years in New England.

Likely it was illegal, and I’ll wind up in jail, but it was worth it, for the kids had a blast helping me, and that part of the pasture will actually be greener next spring.

It still looks like we will get rain and not snow, but I’ll post a map so European onlookers can see how the “northern Branch” and “southern branch” come together and “phase.”  (In some ways American weather is far simpler than European weather.)  Notice how small the two storms are at this point, with the Canadian storm only at 1007 mb and the Gulf of Mexico storm only at 1009 mb. (Click to enlarge.)

a prestorm pause 8 satsfc (3)

NOVEMBER 26  —DMI MORNING MAPS—

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

The “morphistation” of Fitz2son can be seen occurring on the east and west coasts of Greenland. Both our Forkuoy and Forkarma are likely being blown northwest by a brief spell of southeast winds, which will likely back around to northeast and become gales, if the east-coast storm blows up like Baff did.

Baff and Baffeast continue east along the Siberian coast, pumping Siberian cold north ahead and sucking arctic cold south behind.

Not much else looks different.

MORNING FORKARMA REPORT

Army data (without time stamp) states Forkarma is at 75.94 N, 8.44 W. This places it 13.65 miles west-southwest of where it was yesterday.  Temperatures have risen dramatically to -7.67°C, a twelve degree rise.

LOCAL VIEW   —Washout coming—

Just a quick report, as I have to rush about getting things done before our world becomes something of a swamp, tomorrow.

It was down to 22 last night, and 26 this morning as a light snow dusted the landscape.  Basically it is the first hint of the developing cloudshield of the southern-branch storm, pressing moisture into the cold air retreating east, but still over us.

nOV 26 SNOW rad_ne_640x480 (1)

You can see the expanding swell of moisture in the map below.  Note the northern branch remains weak, but the low down in the Gulf of Mexico has slightly falling pressures.

a prestorm pause 9 satsfc (3)

Interestingly, some models show the storm now in the Gulf of Mexico charging north right into Baffin’s Bay, undergoing “morphistation” and transiting Greenland, and over our Forkuoy and Forkarma on the far side of Greenland by the weekend. So I guess I’ll dub this storm “Morphist.”

DAILY DATA   —BLOWN NORTH ON “WARM” SOUTHEAST WINDS—

Our Forkouy, (formerly called the Forkasite,) has moved north from 75.182°N to 75.288°N, and west from 6.642°W to 7.645°W, for a total movement of 19.2 miles to the northwest.

The southeast winds have brought north warmer air, and temperatures have risen from -9.3°C at 1800z yesterday to -2.7°C at 1800z today.

Pressures have dropped, but not as radically as they did with Baff, from 1014.7mb to 996.6mb.  Winds have been strong at times, but not as strong as Baff gave us,  peaking at 20 mph between 0300z and 0600z, and back down to 13 mph at 1800z.

Winds haven’t veered around to the north yet, but I’m expecting it.  Then they may strengthen.

Forkarma data hasn’t been updated as of 2:51 EST. (I’m taking a late lunch break, and now must hustle off to put up tarp so kids can be outside tomorrow without being totally drenched.)

NOVEMBER 26  —DMI AFTERNOON MAPS—

DMS Nov 26B pressure mslp_latest.bigDMS Nov 26B temp_latest.big (1)

The Baff-Baffeast low is surprising me by getting stronger over the Siberian coast.  Currently it is a sub-960mb low.

The morphistation of Fitz2son is also messing with my head, for rather than transiting Greenland as a single low which explodes like Baff did, he seems to be chewed up and spat out the east side as bits and pieces, which at the moment are disorganized, but which some models show as coalescing and becoming strong as it hits Norway.  (See the interesting observation made by the blogger “MikeC,” on storms getting over mountain ranges, in the comments below.)

Lastly I’m surprised by the milder air oozing in through the Bering Strait. It now extends all the way to the Pole.

I guess I don’t know it all, after  all.

LOCAL VIEW   —THE SOUTH COUNTERATTACKS—

It is interesting how surges from the north are so often followed by surges from the south, this time of year, most years.  I’ve been on the watch for a pattern like 1976-77 to develop, where the north flow locks in, but so far we’ve seen surges back and forth.

The maps shows the southern stream starting to phase with the northern stream.  In this morning’s map both the 1016mb and 1020 mb isotherms did not attach the the two storms, and indeed the northern feature was attached to the departing Fitz2son.  Now that attachment has been severed, and instead the 1020mb and 1016mb isotherms show the northern storm is attached to the southern.  However they haven’t deepened, in the three hours between the first and second map, which keeps us on tenderhooks.

2100z Nov 26  a prestorm pause 10 satsfc (3)

0000z Nov 27  a prestorm pause 11 satsfc (3)

What could mess up the forecasts is that the storm could “jump to the coast,” (due to a morphistation of the Appalasion Mountains,) and the cold air behind the northern branch low could drive east to fill the deepening low pressure.  (Models have a problem with cold air when it is close to the ground, as it flies “under the radar.”)  Not that this will happen, however until the coastal low starts to deepen it is hiding its cards, and an element of uncertainty exists.

Currently we are getting rain, sleet and snow, but the radar shows all snow.

Nov 26 rad_ec_640x480

This radar also shows the amount of juice coming up the coast towards me (and also towards Greenland, the Pole, and our Forkuoy.) We could get up to three inches of rain, if it falls as rain.  That would be nearly a meter of snow, if it was snow.

I put up a very large tarp between trees, so the kids could be outside tomorrow if it pours, and also hired a strong young man to clean out the ditch that drains the area beneath and beside the barn.  You have to keep those ditches clean, (and the goats tend to trample down the sides and fill them in,) because if you don’t your farm may be declared wetlands by well-meaning environmentalists, and then you will only be allowed to raise ducks.

With that done, there was nothing left to do but burn leaves, which the children have decided is an utterly cool thing to do.  You don’t need any sort of permit, once there is a snow-cover, and I decided that the dust of snow on the leaves constituted a snow-cover. At first I made the kids stand back from the smoldering pile, which didn’t burn all that well, with the leaves so damp, but the fire proved irresistible to the youth.  They simply had to poke at it with sticks.  I was then faced with the choice of either punishing them, or changing the rules.

I decided to punish them by banning them from the fire for five minutes.  If they could get through that five minutes without poking at the fire, I would educate them on proper poking procedures. Soon I was busily teaching youth how to poke at a burning leaf pile in a helpful manner, except for one young man of eight, who simply could not get through the initial five minute period without poking at the fire.  Over and over he faced further punishment of five more minutes away from the fire, even as his friends busily poked.  Finally I broke down, and when he managed to make it three minutes without poking, I said it was five, congratulated him on his maturing self-control, and allowed him to poke with the others.

I raked and burned from noon until six, (with a brief break for late lunch,) and as darkness fell at four-thirty the children each had their own small fire around the circle made by the larger leaf-pile.  They were very small fires, fed by dropping individual leafs onto the flicker of a flame, and it took constant supervision on the part of me and a member of my staff to keep them using sticks and keep fingers out, but those kids now know a lot more about burning leaves than most modern youth knows.  They also had a blast.  An interesting development was that, as time passed, they decided it was more fun to share a fire, and then there were half the number of little fires, with two children at each fire.

The fire blazed so high and bright at times that the children took off their coats, but leaves burn swiftly, and soon the fire faded to a heap or orange sparks, which I heaped fresh leaves upon. Then a great smoldering cloud of smoke arose and thickened, until the flames blazed up anew.

At one point, when I had left the member of my staff to supervise by the fire so I could go to rake more leaves, a seven-year-old girl came into the dark with me, to grab an armload of leaves from my pile to feed her little fire with.  She is a tough little girl who doesn’t ever seem to wax romantic or be poetic, and who seems to think the purpose of dolls is to clout other children with, but as I raked in the dark she suddenly stated, “Gosh, that is pretty.”  Amazed, I turned to see what on earth she was talking about, and saw the fire had ebbed, and she was pointing at the twinkling orange pile of embers in the distance.

The dusting snow had stopped in the morning, but started again as night fell.  The children were so happy about the snow that I felt guilty about wanting rain.  I’m not ready to deal with three feet of snow, quite yet, though I suppose I’ll do it if I have to.  I’m always amazed by what we mere mortals can manage, when we have to.

NOVEMBER 27  —DMI MORNING MAPS—

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

Baff-Baffeast continues to crawl east along Siberian coast.  “Snout of Igot” poking north ahead of it, slowing it down and creating cross-polar-flow from Siberia to Canada, (to give USA cold in 4-7 days?)  Meanwhile the morphistation of Fitz2son has produced an elongated series of blobs of low pressure across the North Atlantic, and a nice cross-Atlantic flow underneath, bringing what looks to be a milder flow to southern Scandinavia.

This is all likely to flip as Fitz2son develops into a decent storm atop Scandinavia, sucking colder air south in its wake.  The cross-polar flow will swing around to more of a Bering Strait to Norway sweep, above Baffeast and Fitz2son, and driving a cold front down into the high pressure which has been sheltering sheltering England, (and giving USA a break from cold in 5-10 days?)

LOCAL VIEW  —“Morfist” comes north—

It is a wet morning, with cars splashing by on the street.

a Morfist Nov 27a rad_ne_640x480 (1)

Rather than a single center bombing out, Morphist is strung out.  The northern branch feature is being sucked in from the Great Lakes to “phase,” but until a single center forms the cold air can’t drive east, and instead wants to flow down the west side of the string of lows, and only drive east in Florida beneath the most southern low in Georgia.  I think that final low will be the kicker, and may switch things back to snow at the tail end of the storm as it zips up the coast and eventually takes over as the boss-storm.

a Morfist Nov 27a satsfc (3)

For the moment, however, it is just a purple morning with streaming rain.  Schools have let out for the Thanksgiving holiday, but many parents who are not teachers work today, and we get a lot of disgruntled kids at our Childcare who are not “regulars” and who don’t know the midday routine, as they are usually in school. I’ll have to explain things, and they will likely be dissatisfied by my explanations.  (For example, they will ask why we can’t burn leaves in a driving rain.)

Today will be a test of my ability to show kids that life can still be interesting, even on a purple day.

Local View  —warm front nudges west of us—

A Morfist Nov 27b satsfc (3)

Rain stopped.  Temperatures up over 50.  No wind.

NOVEMBER 27  —DAILY DATA—

Our Forkuoy continued north, from 75.288°N to 75.305°N at 0300z, and then headed south to 75.147°N at 1800z.  Longitudinal motion was steadily east, from 7.645°W to 8.763°W. Total motion was 22.08 miles west-southwest.

The temperature remained mild, sinking slightly from -2.7°C to -3.0°C at midnight, but then rising to -1.2°C at 0300z, and remaining at around that level, winding up at -1.5°C at 1800z. This is the first time our thermometer has regestered temperatures above the freezing point of water in a long time, and it occurred to me that the reason it may be happening might be because the buoy is upside down.

At the same time the temperatures jumped the wind-vane and anemometer stopped working.  Also the barometer jumped from  991.8mb to  1006.0mb, and then remained fairly steady at that level, at 1006.6mb at 1800z.

Things do become top-heavy due to freezing spray, which is a nightmare fishermen never want to face. Perhaps the buoy simply was coated with a lot of freezing spray, as winds rose to 27 mph at 2100z yesterday, and even though winds had slackened slightly to 20 mph at midnight, the buoy may have become so heavy with ice at the top that it capsized.

It’s wonderful what you can think up when viewing pitch darkness.  If the buoy is upside down, it is wonderful it is still reporting.

REPORT FROM FORKARMA

Now is when I wish the Forkarma had a time stamp, so we could better compare conditions there with Forkuoy’s.

Without a time stamp, today the army site is reporting it is at 75.59 N, 9.89 W, with an air temperature of -20.27°C, which is much colder than the Forkuoy report. The barometer is closer to the early Forkuoy reports, at 985.76 mb.

The Forkuoy is coming in as being 36.53 miles from the Forkarma, which means they are closer together than yesterday.

The Forkarma has moved 34.66 miles southwest from where it was located in yesterday’s report.

NO DMI MAPS AVAILABLE   —UNDAUNTED, I’LL USE  DR. RYAN MAUE’S—

DMI Nov 27B pressure cmc_mslp_uv10m_arctic_1DMI Nov 27B temp cmc_t2m_arctic_1

(Click maps for considerable enlargement)

These are Dr. Ryan Maue’s maps employing data from the Canadian Model, available at WeatherBELL.  The pressure map also shows wind, with higher speeds red. The temperature map is in degrees Fahrenheit, with the freezing point the white between very light pink (below freezing) and very light blue, (just above freezing.) The below-zero-Fahrenheit division is very vivid, a contrast between navy blue and light grey.

The maps show the eastern extension of Fitz2son has become a strong 968 mb gale, on  the the northwest coast of Norway, and is giving the Norwegian coast to its south a good pounding.  Baffeast is stalled on the central Siberian coast.

The coldest air, down to minus fifty, is not over Greenland but rather Siberia, and is being tugged north towards the arctic by Baffeast, which is still being fed by a long stream of Atlantic air, though the feed is becoming tenuous and likely will be completely cut off by Fitz2son.

This temperature map is good at showing the subtle, such as the slender tendril of Pacific air sneaking in to the Pole, and the heat rising from the unfrozen parts of Hudson and Baffin Bays.

LOCAL VIEW  —MORFIST REMAINS ELONGATED—

a Morfist Nov 27c satsfc (3)

It is hard to write, with family gathering for Thanksgiving.  I suppose the weather will just have to get by without me.

Interesting, purple day, in what amounted to a very elongated eye.  It was amazingly windless, considering all the isobars about. Even when the radar showed the rain moving swiftly from southwest to northeast, it was still at the surface. After the pouring rain slacked off I went out and noticed the smoke from chimneys hung in flat shelves, barely budging.  The chill hung in at the surface a long time, with a drenching drizzle at times, but just before midday a warm front finally won out, briefly, and temperatures rose from the low forties to the low fifties, (5 to 11, Celsius.) The sky brightened, and the ceiling rose to where you could see low jets as they passed over, descending to Manchester Airport, though the sun never showed and sprinkles still fell.  Then suddenly bits of low skud could be seen hurrying over from the northwest, and the temperatures began to slowly fall. For the first time all day a little wind stirred at the surface, from the north-northeast, and I didn’t need to go study my computer to know that the front had pushed back as a cold front.  I walked to the pasture that faces northeast, and there the wind was steady, but light.  Over a slight rise the winds were fitful.  Though I watched with keen eyes, the winds never grew steadier, the skud did not increase and fly towards the southeast faster, and in essence there were no signs of an exploding gale on the coast.  Increasingly it became apparent that Morfist was a dud: A storm that simply couldn’t get its act together early enough to make many headlines around here.

Looking at the above map, it is obvious a big slug of moisture is headed up towards Labrador, and the center is less elongated and tightening, and Morfist will become a gale after it passes us.  We might even get some strong winds, but they will be dry side winds.  There may be lake-effect snows to our west, but we have dodged the danger, this time, and the onset of winter’s postponed a bit longer.

It was a bit dull at work.  I had a vision of sloshing about in rain-coat, rain-pants and boots, with some small children sloshing about beside me enjoying the joys of a rainy day, wearing tyke-sized rain-coats, rain-pants, and boots, (as my wife likes the motto, “There is no such thing as bad weather; only bad clothing.”)  However there are times my staff undermines my efforts.  They think I am only going to take clean children away and bring them back muddy.

They’ll learn. However I was achy from hard work and a falling barometer, and not up to educating the staff. If they prefer being cooped up with dry children, let them learn the hard way.

So I sloshed around alone, pleased by how perfect the timing of all my last-minute roofing and ditch-digging was. The rain came down in buckets early, and it was nice to stand watching how water drained away down ditches, and stand in rooms and see no drips falling from the roof.  I did spot a new tar-job by a chimney, where summer sun made a new crack in old tar, but for the most part the deluge filled me with a sense of thanksgiving.

Just as easily it could have been a case of me walking about surveying places that failed to drain, and roofs that did leak.  I am blessed with a full life, and a list with twenty jobs every day, but a side-effect is that many jobs get nudged down my to-do list, day after day, and week after week passes without the jobs getting done.  In my more dour moods I mutter that it is a wonder anything ever gets done, and envy those who live lives that are empty.

When things do get done, often in the nick of time, (as was the case in my repairing the leaky roofs just before today’s 3 inches of rain,) it really doesn’t seem as much a matter of my excellent planning, as it seems a case of dumb luck.  Rather than arrogant, I feel humble, and thankful.

My goats were seemingly thankful the roof of their stable didn’t leak, so I spent some time feeding them by hand and listening to the rain drum down on the roof.  The goats don’t like rain, and showed no inclination to go out until after the warm front passed and the rain slacked off to sprinkles.  Then they hurried out to snatch at the last spots of green, well aware the snow will soon fall, and they wont see anything greener than pine and hemlock boughs until April.

I wandered out to repair the tarp I put up yesterday to shelter children in the rain. The sheer weight of the water had bagged it down and ripped out eyelets.  Once I had it resurrected I built a campfire,  and almost immediately the older children appeared.  They had educated my staff that “nap-time” doesn’t go over well with children older than six, and my older and wiser staff had decided it might be acceptable to allow them to hang out with the muddy old man.

After collecting some firewood for later to stack by the fire, (cleaning up old storm-damage in the woods, but don’t tell the kids that,) we headed out to inspect the flood control reservoir.  The goats saw us leaving and hurried to join us, as there is still some green grass on the steep, south-facing side of the dam.

It was a changed landscape.  We hadn’t been there since last Friday, and Sunday’s incredible arctic blast had frozen the entire reservoir over, however today’s rain had covered the ice with inches of water, and raised the water-level many feet, as well.

The water level is controled by officials from some department of the State of New Hampshire, who operate gears and gates at a concrete outlet, however local beavers decide to plug the outlet with twigs, branches, weeds and muds, which makes bureaucracy’s attempts futile.  When the water rises, no amount of cranking wheels and tugging levers can increase the flow at the outlet.  Beavers shut it down completely, and the water just rises and rises.

This puts Bureaucrats at odds with beavers, which makes sense to me.  Beavers are busy as beavers, while beaucrats are…well…if they are busy they are busibodies.

Adding to this complex and political situation has been the arrival of a couple of otters. You would think beavers would get along with otters, as they both love water, and otters enjoy the fish beaver dams make more plentiful, however apparently the two species fail to coexist in the politically correct manner.  The arrival of two otters definately slowed the progress of the plugging of the flood-control outlet.

I assume one might conclude this suggests bureaucrats are more like otters than beavers.  Otters like to eat and play, interfere with the work of beavers, and enjoy sliding down slippery slopes.

I discuss this with small children as we hike.  Perhaps some of my hoary wisdom goes over their heads. However much of what they chatter about goes over my head as well.

As we walked the gray, wind-swept, rain-swept landscape what was most obvious was how stark it was.  There was neither a beaver nor otter nor bureaucrat in sight.  Nor were there any ducks.

Last year the ducks seemed to know winter would be slow to start, and an amazing collection hung around even until November, including some sea-going ducks we don’t usually see this far inland. This year they didn’t dawdle.  Many didn’t even drop in to visit, and simply passed us by.  Their haste led me to believe winter might begin in October, which obviously was a mistaken conclusion on my part, however there is no getting around the fact the reservoir is covered in ice, despite temperatures in the fifties today, even though it isn’t even December yet.

It wasn’t even four, but the day was fading and the grey sky shaded towards charcoal, and the kids expressed an interest in our campfire.  We decided we should head back, to see if we should add wood before it went out.

NOVEMBER 28  — DMI MAPS STILL UNAVAILABLE   —MORE OF MAUE’S MAPS—

DMI Nov 28 pressure cmc_mslp_uv10m_arctic_1DMI Nov 28 pressure cmc_t2m_arctic_1

(Click to enlarge; click again to enlarge further)

Baffeast remains stalled, and now is looping, moving towards the Pole a little and bringing its imported and slightly warmer air north, which may warm the Pole slightly.  Fitz2son has plowed inland across northern Sweden and Finland, and strong west winds rake across Scandinavia on its south side.  It left a small blob of low pressure off the southeast tip of Greenland which looks like it may develop and become the next North Atlantic Gale.  I guess I’ll dub it Fitz2third.

It remains quiet over towards the Bering Strait.  Joe Bastardi suggests that warmer than normal water south of Alaska has caused the semi-permanent Aleutian low to migrate there, encouraging a ridge up the Pacific coast which noses into the Strait, ecouraging air from Siberia to cross to Alaska, which is a situation much like 1976-77.  I noticed that storms on the Asian side aren’t penetrating north.  The storm I dubbed “Chet” moved north from Korea, but remains stalled on the Russian Pacific coast, at one o’clock on our map.

The cross-polar-flow seems to waver back and forth, and when it isn’t coming directly across into Alaska we seem to later get a break in the cold coming down our way.  Currently the flow is swinging to a Bering Strait  to Greenland flow, where the flow is split by Greenland, with half heading down the Baffin Bay side and half coming down the east side over our Forkuoy and then curving across the Atlantic to Scandinavia.

If we get a break from Siberian cold, it will take a while to get here, as plenty has been poured into Canada already, and will pour into the USA behind Morfist, as Morfist heads north and appears at seven-eight o’clock on our maps.

NOVEMBER 28  —FORKARMA DATA—

The Army site has reported today, giving its position at 75.41 N, 10.31 W, with air temperature at -24.37 C, and barometer at 977.24 mb.

The site has moved 14.46 miles southwest since it reported yesterday.

LOCAL VIEW  —MORFIST’S BACKHAND BLAST—

a Morfist Nov 28a satsfc (3)

It’s brilliantly sunny, breezy and cold, with just a dust of snow silvering the brown leaves. Temperatures are in the low twenties (-4 Celsius.) The arctic cold coming down behind Morfist is not yet bitter, perhaps due to loitering over Hudson Bay for a while, however a reinforcing shot of more bitter air is riding down the arctic front with an Alberta Clipper, now over Iowa south of the Great Lakes.  This northern branch feature has little support; it gets no moisture from the Great Lakes, and the Gulf of Mexico is swept clear of humidity and will take a while to reload.  Some Pacific moisture can be seen sweeping northeast from Mexico, which would be a sign of storm if it was hand in hand with other support, but all in all the situation looks too dry for much development, at least until this little clipper reaches the Atlantic.  Mostly it is a ripple indicating the arrival of colder air.

Time to kick back and enjoy my family. Happy Thanksgiving!

NOVEMBER 28  —DAILY DATA—

Our poor, old Forkouy may be on its last legs, as the data is starting to become a bit garbled.  The wind vane and anemometer continue to be inoperable, and some of the other data is suspect. For example, at 1500z the position was abruptly reported as being at  -90.000°N  180.000°W, which does not exist, (unless a negative north latitude indicates the South Pole.) It had reverted to normal by 1800z, but such glitches do make one worry. Is seawater getting into the circuits?

For what its worth, the data states we moved south from 75.147°N to 74.835°N, but that our westward movement was arrested after we moved from 8.763°W to  8.844°W, and we then moved back east to 8.698°W.  This would indicate a 24 hour motion of 21.67 miles a bit east of due south.

Temperature data seemed garbled and unreliable.  At midnight a reading of +4.2°C was given. This reverted to a more reasonable -1.0°C at 0300z, but at 0600z a reading of +5.2°C appeared, although the closest temperatures that warm are south of Iceland. Later temperatures again reverted to more reasonable levels, and were at -7.0°C at 1800z.  However I think we have to assume the thermometer is disabled, especially as other sources suggest temperatures are closer to minus twenty in that area.

LATEST FORKARMA DATA

The Army site posted a second set of Data, locating (without a time stamp) our Forkarma site at Pos: 75.28 N, 10.56 W. This places it 45.41 miles from our Forkuoy site, and 10.03 miles south-southwest of where it was earlier today.  Unlike our Forkuoy, it hasn’t stopped moving west as of yet.

Temperatures are reported at Air Temp: -21.34 C. I suspect its barometer has a glitch, as it is reporting a pressure of 979.95 mb, which is too low.

NOVEMBER 28  —AFTERNOON DMI MAPS—  MAPS AGAIN AVAILABLE

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

Baffeast is weakening as it wobbles towards the Pole, and Fitz2son has plunged east into Siberia.  These two storm are creating a new cross-polar-flow aimed at Scandinavia, which I imagine will be facing a colder spell.  Beneath these storms, in what I suppose could be called their warm sectors, above normal temperatures has been driven deep into Siberia.  This is not to say Siberia isn’t snow-covered and dark, and capable of creating cold, but rather that it doesn’t have a bank of cold already built up.  It is working from a warmer starting point.  Only in the east of Siberia is the cold severe.

The UK Met map has a good alternative view of the same situation: (click to enlarge)

UK Met Nov 28 10353858

This map shows Fitz2son up at the top, bringing north winds down onto Scandivania. He has left Fitz2third sitting between Greenland and Iceland, developing as the next storm in the parade, as Morfist is just appearing on the left margin, wanting to join the parade.  Having all these storms parade north tends to keep a constant flow of moderated Mediterranean air west into the Steppes, which keeps Siberia from developing the truly murderous cold which gives Europe its cruelest east winds.

I wish someone from Italy would visit this site, and give us the inside scoop on the ins and outs of Mediterranean weather. The above map just puts in dark lines down there, but interesting stuff goes on.  In some ways that is Europe’s “southern branch.” (In the UK they likely look west and see the more southerly Atlantic storms as the southern branch, but in terms of Siberia and the Pole that is a “middle branch.”)  I just generalize and call the Mediterranean complexity “Etna Storms,” but it is important, if it keeps western Siberia from generating its worst cold.

LOCAL VIEW  —MORFIST DEPARTS—

a Morfist Nov 28b satsfc (3)

Just a quick post, noting Morfist moving away, and a little Alberta Clipper I dub “Crosspo” moving toward us.  However I’m not visualizing the storms as much as the globs of arctic high pressure.  The first, with Morfist as its leader, is now centered over the USA southeast, and has driven a front clear down to the Caribbean. (You can see the swath of clouds, though whoever drew this map didn’t bother mark the front, except for a tiny piece southwest of Jamaica.)  The second arctic high is up in Canada, behind Crosspo. I named Crosspo after cross-polar-flow.  If you look back you’ll see the cross-polar-flow was directed down this way, a few days away. The bitter Siberian air will reach us with Crosspo tomorrow, and we could have temperatures below zero Fahrenheit not far away from here.  Then, because the the cross-polar-flow is directed more towards Norway now, we might get a brief break after that.

However we are colder than usual.  We always go for a walk after our main Thanksgiving feast, (to give our bodies a break before we start in on the pies,) and we always walk to the same flood-control reservoir that I took the children to yesterday. The walk was briefer this year because the thin wind penetrated people’s outfits. However we were out there long enough to see most of yesterdays warm rain had already frozen over.

Yesterday the entire reservoir was ice covered by between one and six inches of water, but the reservoir was now refrozen except for a shrinking oval, roughly the size of an Olympic hockey rink, out in the middle.  The piney hills were dark, rounded silhouettes against an orange sky, and the ice reflected that orange, but the oval of water was a shimmering of shadows in the wind.

NOVEMBER 29  —MORNING DMI MAPS—

DMI Nov 29 pressure mslp_latest.bigDMI Nov 29 temp_latest.big (1)

The parade of storms continues, with Baffest weakening near the Pole, Fitz2son plowing east through inland west Siberia, Fitz2third weak and unimpressive east of Island, and Morfist charging the southern tip of Greenland.  The pattern has become a bit like an assembly line, but the monotony is about to be altered, as a Asian-Pacific feature I have called “Chet” is seemingly getting sucked up into the cross-polar-flow from where it has been sitting stalled of the Russian Pacific coast,  and may zip right across the Pole to Baffin Bay.  Or so say models. I’ll have to see it to believe it, and furthermore have no idea what I’ll be seeing, as I don’t recall seeing this before.

If Chet takes this route I imagine it will divert the cross-polar flow back into Canada, and also nudge that high pressure over Canada south towards the USA.  This suggests the break we get from cold weather, due to the cross-polar-flow currently aiming at Norway, will be brief.

NO REPORT FROM FORKUOY

I’m afraid the buoy may have short circuited and burned out, though perhaps they are still getting some reports, but not making the rest public due to the garbled parts.

DATA FROM FORKARMA

The Army data reports the GPS is today at  75.12 N, 10.70 W, (no time stamp.) This places it 11.37 miles south-southeast of where it last reported from yesterday.  The westward motion has given way to an eastward motion, as the southward motion continues.

Temperatures were reported at  -22.52 C.

The barometer reported 978.23 mb, which is wrong. It is likely busted, but I am going to keep reporting what it says, on the chance it merely needs to be adjusted up 35 mb. (I once had a wall barometer like that.)

NOVEMBER 29  —DMI AFTERNOON MAPS—

DMI Nov 29B pressure mslp_latest.bigDMI Nov 29B temp_latest.big (1)

Baffeast is fading, but did bring a tendril of “mild” (minus-ten) air over the Pole. It is being wheeled around and absorbed into Fitz2son, along with an unnamed feature on the top of Norway.  Fitz2son is plowing east, its east-side south-winds pouring cold Siberian air north onto the Arctic Sea.  Fotz2third has zipped across the Atlantic, bringing some milder air to south Norway, but the warmth will be transient as the cross-polar flow resumes in its wake. If you check out past maps you’ll note there was a big pool of minus-twenty-five air north of Greenland that is gone now.  A lot of it drained out into Fram Stait south of Svalbard on its way to mainland Norway.  Though it no longer appears on the 2 meter level as minus-twenty five air, it is quite cold higher up, and though it robs the north Atlantic of much heat passing over, it still will likely chill Scandinavia. That kind of arctic cold doesn’t just vanish.

Morfist is about to crash into Greenland and undergo “morphistation.”  I am never exactly sure what will emege on the east side of Greenland.  Some models have a secondary zip beneath the southern tip and avoid the crash altogether. Most currently suggest a more southern route than  Baff or even Fitz2son took, smack dab into Scandinavia.

No sign of Chet transiting the other side of the arctic yet.

LOCAL VIEW   —COLDEST NIGHT SO FAR—

The map shows Morfist’s outer isobars vanishing off the map’s upper right corner, and also that the Alberta Clipper “Crosspo” that was over the Great Lakes yesterday has vanished as well.  I think it simply got smushed between high pressure coming south and high pressure to its south.  Yesterday there were two high pressure cells bounded by 1028 mb isobars, and today the 1028 isobar encompasses a single large area including much of the eastern USA and southeast Canada.

Of course nothing just vanishes in the world of weather. I think a lot of Crosspo’s moisture got zipped up in an occlusion and left behind over the lakes, (the orange dashed line, and the clouds extending north to Hudson Bay.)  The ripple in the isobars was squeezed swiftly east, and may be one of the two dents in the isobars (with inevitable orange dashed line) over towards the right margin.  It’s trailing cold front, which curved down to Missouri, may be remembered by that stub of warm front over Missouri on tonight’s map.

Lastly, even though such features may vanish from maps, they represented the prow or bow-wave of an outbreak of arctic air, and just because they vanish their arctic air does not, and it arrived here with very little fanfare in the forms of clouds, but the thermometer knew.

Temperatures dropped to 16 (-19 Celsius) last night, but it was calm, as if a high was cresting and temperatures would rebound,  They started to rebound, getting up to 27 (-3 Celsius) around noon, but then got stuck there, and even began falling slightly, which is not the sign of a warm up. As the sun sank to early afternoon the temperatures fell swiftly, and were at the prior night’s lows while twilight was still bright.  By nine they were hitting the coldest temperatures we’ve seen all year, 10.  (-12 Celsius.)

It just goes to show you: Just because the front stops being drawn on the map doesn’t mean the cold has stopped coming.

It was a day off, but less intense than yesterdays cooking and feasting, so I attended to little details and enjoyed the company of family still around, and attended a local basketball game between this year’s high school team and recently graduated members of former teams.  Also I took the goats out for a walk to the flood-control dam, and saw the reservoir is now completely frozen over, and even walked on the the sagging, crackling ice a little, near the edge where the water was frozen.

It’s amazing how swiftly the landscape has become bleak.  You notice such things, when you walk with goats who are always on the lookout for things to browse upon.  Ten days ago I picked a final goldenrod flower from a protected nook, but you can forget that now.  Those plants were blackened and dead, and even the hardier plants that can eek survival from milder winters by changing their leaves to a shade of purple were blasted by the recent cold, and were withered and brown. Some grass was still green, but only because it was frozen in that form.  The goats nibbled in a desultory fashion, without any eagerness, until they suddenly set their ears forward and hurried ahead. They knew we were approaching a place where ground hugging checkerberries (wintergreen) grow, and knew they could browse well there. That will not last after it is covered with snow. From then on there’s nothing for an old goat to hope for, until April, but evergreens and bark, dead grass and buds.

I’m glad I’m not a goat.

MORFIST ENTERS UK MET MAP

I thought it might be interesting to some if I included this map, which shows Morfist, now a sizable 964 mb gale, preparing to smash into southern Greenland.  What is interesting is that, even before it hits Greenland, and any “morphistation” can happen,  it has tucked its warm sector neatly beneath Greenland and up the east side, so that the storm system doesn’t have to climb over an 10,000 foot tall icecap to develoip a secondary on the east coast.

This map also shows the weak low Fitz2third briefly sparing Norway and Sweden from north winds.

Lastly, I can’t help but notice that there are now fronts where fronts did not exist, right by the volcano, Mount Etna.  Is another Etna storm brewing?

Morfist Uk Met Nov 29 10376146

NOVEMBER 30 —MORNING UK MET MAP—

Curiosity killed this cat, and the first thing I wanted to look at this morning was how Morfist was handling the “morphistication”  of Greenland.  He cheated, by sneaking the warm sector beneath, and avoiding the interesting shambles crated when the warm sector crashes into an ice cap.  However the center did run up Baffin Bay, as the warm sector is now over Iceland, which I suppose ought sate my desire for chaos and confusion.

UK Met Nov 30 10387386

The low forming northwest of Iceland will be dubbed, “Morfistson,” and it looks like it will head straight across to Norway, and give them their next chance of a break from the north winds.  Fitz2third has rippled into the Baltic and sits beside Denmark. The Etna low still mills about the Mediterranean. The high east of Ireland has also been a stubborn feature, budged east and west but never getting washed away.

That little ripple of low pressure on the cold front dangling southwest from Iceland will need to be watched.  Let’s call that one “Morfisthird.” Those ripples can become gales in a twinkling.

NOVEMBER 30  —MORNING DMI MAPS— 

DMI Nov 30 pressure mslp_latest.bigDMI Nov 30 temp_latest.big (1)

If you ignore Morphist slamming up into Baffin Bay, and its morphistication of Greenland, these maps show the Pole divided into a high pressure side and a low pressure side, with a nice and neat cross-polar flow pouring all the from the Bering Strait to Norway.  It is fleeting, but nice while it lasts.  (I like things kept simple.)

One interesting feature is Barent’s Sea brewing up a little storm with no name, that I will consider just a part of the mish-mash of Baff and Baffeast being swept around behind Fitz2son as it plows east and even deepens a little.  (In actual fact I suspect this storm has a genesis all its own, which I missed spotting.) What is becoming apparent is that, as the Laptev and now Kara Seas freeze over, the Barents Sea seems to become a nucleus for storms, a sort of dark sun with planets of storminess wheeling about. It would be interesting to hear from an observer in Scandinavia if this autumn has seemed more storm than usual.  In any case, that sea is not getting the calm weather that makes freezing it over easier.

A hint of the Snout of Igor can be seen poking up into the Arctic ahead of Fitz2son, as very cold air comes north, but beyond that “Chet” is just starting to poke north, with milder air.  The clash between the cold and milder will fuel Cher’s cross-polar jaunt.  To the north of Bering Strait Buoy 2012H: is reporting a “mild” reading of -4.60 C, while to its northeast Buoy 2013I: reports a much colder -23.81 C.

Chet’s cross polar jaunt will be interesting to watch (if it actually happens.) In theory it should first swing the coldest air away from Canada and towards Norway, and then shift winds straight down into Canada.  In terms of cross-polar-flow, it is tantamount to “cracking the whip.”  Could it cause a ruckus?  Stay tuned!

FORKARMA DATA  —South of 75 degrees latitude—-

The Army data came in early today, reporting our Forkarma at 74.94 N, 11.02 W, which is 13.74 miles southwest of where it last reported yesterday. Temperature was  -21.46 C. (Faulty barometer was reporting  979.21 mb, for what it’s worth.)

The survival of this site amidst a pitch dark mass of moaning, grinding mobile ice must largely be due to the fact it has moved so far west, away from the “edge.”

The “companion buoy” still survives, 185.26 miles north-northeast. This buoy, Buoy 2013B: , is reporting even colder temperatures of -28.94 C, and its more-reasonable barometer reports a pressure of 1006.98 mb.

LOCAL VIEW  —CORE OF COLD PASSES—

It got down to 4 degrees here last night. (-15 Celsius.)  That is very cold for November, around here, but the crest of the high has passed, and we can now look hopefully west for a warm up, and anxiously northwest for reinforcing shots of cold.

a Morfist Nov 30 satsfc (3)

Because we pay attention to the Pole we know the cross-polar-flow is directed more towards Norway, and we should get a break, however there is still plenty of cold air up in Canada, and a lack of Aleutian lows is creating a lack of warmer air assisting the Pacific’s attempt to press east and cut the flow from Canada. The map shows some attempt from the Pacific, but it lacks the power of a winter Chinook. While huge arctic highs are not coming south, a string of little lows is bringing little bits of arctic air south.  We will get a warm up of a minor sort.

Sometimes you get a final warm spell of autumn.  It feels strange because the trees are so barren of leaves, and there is a odd species of moth that seems to exploit such sunshine, (perhaps because the birds that eat them have flown south,) and it gives you a strange feeling seeing the moths fluttering about when the ponds are frozen and there are patches of snow in the pine’s shade.  However I’m not sure we’ll be seeing any of those little moths, this week.  Rather than a true warm up, it may merely be not-so-cold.

I’m not sure how regular my posts will be.  My eldest daughter was due to have her first child two days ago, but the little one is late.  My mother-in-law stated, “That little girl hasn’t even been born, and already she’s in trouble with her great-grandmother.” I’m less grumpy than that, but I confess I am a nervous wreck.  This may result in fewer posts.

On the other hand, it may result in more posts.  Sometimes, when reality gets a bit hard to handle, writing is my route to relief, a splendid escapism.

FORKUOY’S FINAL WORDS?

A single addition to the data coming from Forkuoy was made available today:

11/28/21 0000Z  -90.000°N  180.000°W   7.3°C  1016.6mb  00-999°  0.0m/s

Looks like the poor, storm-battered mechanism got the date and time right, but little else.

I suppose there is a slender hope that the buoy is simply sideways due to a crust of frozen sea-spray weighting down its top, and when that melts off it might right itself and regain the ability to function.  However that is a pretty slender hope.

I think it is back-to-the-drawing-board, for the fellows who designed that buoy.

My vote is for a new buoy that has innards that swivel and stay right-side-up, even as the outside turns upside-down.  Of course, please don’t ask me to build such a thing.  I just come up with the ideas.

NOVEMBER 30  —DMI AFTERNOON MAPS—

DMI Nov 30B pressure mslp_latest.bigDMI Nov 30B temp_latest.big (1)

I am surprised at the strength of the regenisis of Baffeast in Barents Sea.  Fitz2son seems to be slowing down in front, as Morfistson wasres no time hurrying across the Atlantic to join them.  Looks like they are planning a Siberian party.

The “Snout of Igor” is bigger than I expected, while Chet is very unimpressive at this point, over in east Siberia.

Morfist is just sitting up at the top of Baffin Bay, having decided to skip living up to his name, and to avoid morphistication altogether.

DECEMBER 1  —DMI MORNING MAPS—

DMI Dec 1 pressure mslp_latest.bigDMI Dec 1 temp_latest.big (1)

We continue to see a lopsided Pole, with all the low pressure on the Eurasian side and the high pressure on the Canadian side, and a flow from Bering Strait all the way across to Norway.  While this brings some Pacific warmth in through Bering Strait, and briefly cuts Canada off from Siberian imports (forcing Canada to create home-grown cold) it does not promise much warmth for northern Europe.

The clash between milder Pacific air and cold Siberian air is bringing an unimpressive low I call “Chet” up from eastern Siberia and over towards Canada, and this will put a crimp in the cross-polar-flow,  likely directing it back down into Canada.  At the same time a new Atlantic low I call Morfisthird is riding up the cold front left behind Morfistson, and is appearing just southeast of Greenland.  This low is from further south than other recent Atlantic gales, and may bring some warmer air north and over towards Europe.

FORKARMA DATA  

The Army data reports our Forkarma site at 74.73 N, 11.39 W today, which is 16.04 miles south-southwest of yesterday’s report. The motion eastward has reverted to a westward motion, with most of the motion remaining to the south. Temperatures remain very cold at  -21.51 C.

LOCAL VIEW  —Milder—

Another pause 1 satsfc (3)

The arctic high has moved off the coast, and we had a grey morning with a touch of light snow as milder air pressed back north.  The home-grown front off the east coast puzzles me, as it just materialized out of the blue.  I must not have been paying enough attention, however I’m working on an essay.

*********

Nope.  We drove through drizzle and fog to take my daughter and her boyfriend out to dinner.  My wife decided I’d spent enough time hiding from reality by pouring through the reality of weather maps.  With my daughter now three days overdue, don’t ask me how the food tasted. I haven’t a clue.

Driving home the salt trucks were out. They weren’t taking any chances, with temperatures hovering right around freezing.  (They also weren’t taking any chances of missing some overtime, with Christmas shopping to do.)

It is interesting how quickly after the cross-polar-flow switches off for northern Canada the cold air stops pressing south with vigor.  However so far there has been no vigorous counter-attack of warm air surging north.  Instead the pattern has become listless and flabby.  There still is a sort of dribble of arctic air down the east side of the Canadian Rockies, with both the Pacific and the Gulf of Mexico putting up a flimsy fight against the north. (Click to enlarge.)

Another pause 2 satsfc (3)

This map has me on guard, even though the WeatherBELL forecaster referred to the low off our coast as a “toy storm,” (which I thought was a neat use of the English Language.)  When you have a low sitting off the coast and any sort of clipper crossing the Great Lakes,  things can get interesting. I plan to get up early and check out the window.  I would not be surprised if there was a “surprise” inch or two of snow.

However the front off the east coast is largely the creation of the guy “Ryan” who drew the map.  I agree with his analysis, but you know me: I keep track of fronts long after they are soo weak they aren’t on maps any more.  This front off the coast is a “ghost front” they didn’t even bother put on the maps as it crossed over on its way south, halting the intial warm up on Friday and giving us readings down near zero Fahrenheit on Saturday morning.  That ghost front has been slightly revived by the contrast between cold air over the land and much warmer water over the Atlantic,  however it is currently cut off and without support, neither part of the southern or northern stream, which is why most are ignoring it.  Except the road crews, out salting the roads on a dark December evening.

DECEMBER 1  —AFTERNOON DMI MAPS—

DMI Dec !B pressure mslp_latest.bigDMI Dec 1B temp_latest.big (1)

There’s three interesting things I’m watching.  First is how weak, non-descript, occuluded and basically burned-out storms come back to life over the open and reletively warm waters of Barents Sea.

Second, as the weak low pressure feature “Chet” crosses from Siberia to Canada it never gets big, and on this map is little more than an appendage of the reinvigorated Baffeast over Barents Sea, however it is putting a definite crimp in the cross-polar-flow.  At this point the flow is still towards Norway, though the source region is tilted more towards Canada, but as soon as Chet moves on shore in Canada the flow will be snipped and Norway will be cut off, as Canada experiences a sort of whip lash: One moment it is exporting cold towards Norway, and the next it is importing. (The question now is how cold the imports will be.)

Third, there is that little low down between Greenland and Iceland, Morfisthird.  Morfisthird is from farther south than most lows, with a kinder warm sector, and as it heads for (where else?) the Barents Sea it ought bring that warm sector over Scandinavia by Tuesday.  Therefore, as soon as the cross-polar-flow shuts off in Scandinavia, they get a warm sector.  (I have no idea how much moisture will be involved, or whether it will give Scandinavia rain or snow.  I’ll leave the local forecasts to the local experts.)

Anyway, it is interesting to watch this stuff.  Observe, observe, observe!  That’s the best way to learn.

The longer range models show a second Chet-like low crossing the Bering Strait side of the Pole, followed by a huge Snout of Igor.  However I never trust models more than five days into the future.

SECOND FORKARMA DATA

A second set of coordinates have been issued at the Army site, (as always, with no time stamp,) placing our Forkarma at 74.67 N, 11.46 W.  This is 4.35 miles southwest of where it was reported earlier today.  Temperatures have risen slightly to -19.18 C.

However at our “companion buoy” to the north temperatures have fallen to -31.88 C, and the buoy’s motion has slowed. I’m going to keep an eye on that.  I sometimes wonder if it can get cold enough to freeze the ocean up and lock these drifting buoys in place, for a while.

MORFISTHIRD’S ADVANCE TO SCANDINAVIA, ACCORDING TO UK MET

This first map shows Morfisthird now, with the warm sector over Iceland.  (That is Morfistson diving through finland, and the odd Enta low over Mount Etna.)

Morfisthird 1 10421048

This second map is the forecast for early Thursday, with Morfisthird’s warm sector over Scandinavia. (The Etna low is still down over Etna.  It must be a fun time for Italian weathermen.)

Morfisthird 2 10423828

HUDSON BAY FREEZING OVER SWIFTLY

If you compare the map below to the Navy Map I put in this post back on November 25, you can see how swiftly Hudson Bay is freezing over.

Extent Dec 1 arcticicennowcast (1)

If you look at the latest DMI temperature map above you can see the air up north of Hudson Bay in the Queen Elizabeth Islands is the coldest air in the arctic, more than thirty below in places, and this air has been steadily draining south over the bay.  The bay warms this air greatly as it crosses, but the bay is cooled greatly in the process, and freezes over. Once the Bay is frozen over, the air is no longer warmed as it comes south, and the winter here in New Hampshire can abruptly become much colder, leading to the old couplet, “When the days begin to lengthen then the cold begins to strengthen,”  as the freeze up is usually finished right around the shortest day of the year.

Something I think I am noticing is that, as the edge of the ice comes south, both in Hudson Bay and Baffin Bay, so do the storm tracks.  Storms seem to to like to run along the edge of the ice, perhaps enjoying the contrast between ice-cooled air and water-warmed air. I am far too busy to do the work necessary to make this observation be much more than an old man’s musing, but perhaps some young fellow ought to write a thesis about whether my idea is true or false.

WE STILL HAVE 21 DAYS BEFORE WINTER EVEN STARTS

This time of year is called “Advent,” because it is the period before Christmas, which is the celebration of the return of Light to a darkening world.  If you are Pagan you deem the Light the Sun, but if you are Christian you deem the Light the Son.

With my daughter pregnant and overdue, my personal advent involves an unmet granddaughter, and the end to my daughter’s burden. There is the hope of light, but also the dread of things going wrong, and darkness growing great.  I’m a nervous wreck. I’m old and wise and know the birth of anything new involves danger.  Thanksgiving will not have truly happened until both mother and child are breathing and well.

However this Thanksgiving post has gotten long, and tomorrow I figure I’ll start a new post, which I think I’ll simply call, “Arctic Sea-Ice Recovery;  Advent.”

https://sunriseswansong.wordpress.com/2013/12/02/arctic-sea-ice-recovery-advent/

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ARCTIC SEA-ICE RECOVERY; THE DARKEST SIXTH (November 15-24, 2013)

This is a continuation of a series of posts, the last of which was, https://sunriseswansong.wordpress.com/2013/11/03/arctic-sea-ice-recovery-the-dance-of-polar-storms/

I began this series last summer, as my relaxed observations about the yearly melt at the North Pole, as viewed through the North Pole Camera.  I’d been doing it for several years, gradually learning more about the topic as I went.  It definitely made me feel cooler, during New Hampshire July heat wave when temperatures touched ninety with dew-points at seventy,  to spend the hottest part of the day watching ice melt.

I would joke about “watching ice melt” in a self-depreciating manner, however I actually made a refuge out of clicking my mouse and having my screen produce a view which became quite familiar to me.  It was an escape.

Among other things, one thing I desired escape from was the seemingly endless hype and spin concerning Global Warming.  For a variety of reasons I was drawn into the debate over a decade ago, and quite early on I became convinced Alarmists were mistaken about some things.  At first I had the trusting sense that I had only to point out the mistakes and all would be well, but with the passage of time I became increasingly aware that, to put it bluntly, Truth didn’t matter to Alarmists.

Originally I came to the North Pole Camera to see things with my own eyes.  It does not take a person long to become aware members of the media do not research what they prattle on about.  There was a great deal of  talk about the “North Pole Melting,”  and how this would reduce “albedo” and cause run-away warming, especially during the summers of 2007 and 2012 when ice-extent was quite low, however all a person had to do was go north and examine the situation with their own eyes, and one saw the alarm had some major holes in its logic. I won’t go into all the evidence at this point, because my main point is that by last summer I had gotten tired of the arguing.

I think there comes a point in any debate when further talk is fairly useless.  It not only doesn’t melt the wax from the ears of the deaf, it is bad for your own sense of spiritual tranqility.  Banging your head against a wall only gives you a headache.

Most frustrating to me was the awareness that some are quite aware the premises behind Global Warming are balderdash, but feel that the ends justify the balderdash.  They feel lying is politically correct.  That causes me great heartache, for I know Truth is Beauty.

To cut a long story short, I originally came to the North Pole Camera to learn specific truths I could use in a debate, but got tired of the debate, and then came to the Pole just to see the Beauty.  There is a Truth in a beautiful landscape which does not need to be argued.  Some may chose to argue, standing at the edge of the Grand Canyon, that the canyon is just a big, ugly hole,  but such people stand to be pitied, and debate is more or less an exercise in futility. If I have it in me to be charitable, I’ll listen to the bitterness like a gentle and caring psychologist listening to a troubled soul, however if I myself am the one in need of charity, I simply put some space between myself and the lunatic.

So it came to pass that I retired to the Pole to observe and not argue, and posted on my obscure blog about aspects of Truth and Beauty that interested me, attempting to steer clear of politics, and to walk on eggs when I crossed thin ice.  This made my blog a bit boring, and I could usually expect between five and ten visitors a day.

Abruptly, last summer, this obscure blog had hundreds of viewers.  It was due to a melt-water puddle that formed in front of the camera and some called “Lake North Pole.”  It was supposedly proof the North Pole was melting, in some circles, but I was in the position to say I’d seen it before and that it would drain away.  When it did drain away, I suppose I became a sort of authority, (though I am not.) In any case, I figured the visitors would go away, but they didn’t.  Even to this day roughly five hundred people drop by each week to hear me ramble away about a wide variety of subjects orbiting about the subject of the North Pole.

Admittedly some subjects orbit farther afield than Pluto,  however I figure I’ll keep on rambling away as long as people keep coming.

Things get a bit boring this time of year, for it is pitch dark for twenty-four hours a day, however I find I am learning things about the arctic despite the darkness, and Truth exists even when you’re blind.

Each post is updated, usually twice a day, with the updates added to the bottom of the post.  If you are entering on my “home” page you can click the cartoon balloon beside the post’s title, which takes you down to the start of the comments, and then scroll up to the most recent update.

Each day I have a “Daily Data,”  which formerly gave the location of the North Pole Camera.  That camera was retrieved in late September by an icebreaker, but other meteorological equipment and a GPS was left behind, so I continue to give the position.  Because I grew tired of writing “Former Camera Site,” I now use the shorthand, “Forkasite.”

I had to discontinue pictures from the other cameras scattered around the Arctic Sea, because they have all been shut down.  I think they may be solar powered. In any case, there is little to see in the 24 hour darkness. If I’m still around when they start the cameras back up next spring, the pictures will resume.

I try to post the DMI isobar and isotherm maps of the North Pole twice a day.  You learn a lot, viewing our planet from the top.

Lately I’ve started to include something I call the “Local View.”  This is a somewhat self-centered view of how the North Pole is affecting my brother’s small farm, which is also a Childcare Center, in southern New Hampshire.  I have a hunch this could be a bad winter on this side of the globe, so this feature could get interesting in January.

Last but not least, a long time ago I studied poetry very studiously and got good grades at it. ( A more useless subject, in terms of making money or being “practical,” I doubt exists.) However it explains the fact this blog may occasionally dissolve into purple prose. (I try to hide a sonnet in the prose at least once a week.)

Hopefully that covers everything.  If I have forgotten anything, please feel free to comment.  The comments are my favorite part of hosting these posts.

NOVEMBER 15  —DAILY DATA—  The darkest sixth.

We are now about to enter the darkest sixth of the year, the two months either side of the solstice which the test the souls of all who live in northern lands.  People in southern lands cannot understand what the darkness does to you, but it explains why Native Americans said, “He has seen many winters,” when talking about an old man, rather than, “He has seen many summers.”

In terms of North Pole Cameras and our Forkasite, it is often the end.  We drift down into Fram Strait to areas where, despite the increasingly cold temperatures, the ice is clobbered by howling gales, and can be torn apart into many small bergs in a sea of slush.  If we drift far enough east we can begin to reach the northernmost tendrils of the Gulf Stream, which melt bergs from beneath.  If we drift west and cling to the coast of Greenland, we concievably could survive right down to Greenland’s southern tip,  but if we drift far east we are doomed.  Even during the very rare, once-a-century winters when sea ice extends across Denmark Strait to Iceland, it is smashed and battered ice, and only extends that far briefly.

In the last 24 hour period (from 1800z yesterday to 1800z today) our Forkasite drifted south from 78.707°N to 78.539°N, and saw its eastward drift turn back to a westward drift, from 4.648°W to 4.912°W.  Winds, which had been light from the west, dropped to a calm for a while, before picking up to around 10 mph from the northeast.  Our total movement was 12.2 miles to the south-southeast, which is a pick-up of speed from yesterday.  Although the gale I dubbed, “Sneak,” has not yet hit us very hard with its winds,  its winds are far stronger at the edge of the ice to the northeast, and shoving ice south even when not actively blowing ice south.

Temperatures have remained very cold, beginning at -23.7°C at 1800z yesterday, reaching a low of -27.0°C at midnight, rising to the day’s high of -21.9°C during the dark of noon, (the sun never rises up there,) and then settling back slightly to -22.6°C at 1800z today.

The low temperatures are another sign “Sneak” isn’t yet effecting the Forkasite much.  Usually these storms bring up warmer air.

NOVEMBER 15  —DMI AFTERNOON MAPS—

DMI Nov 15B pressure mslp_latest.bigDMI Nov 15B temp_latest.big (1)

NOVEMBER 16  —DMI MORNING MAPS—

DMI Nov 16 pressure mslp_latest.bigDMI Nov 16 temp_latest.big (1)

Sorry to be late with these maps.  On a Friday night sometimes a warm wife is more important to me than an icecap.

If you’re visiting for the first time you’ll have to forgive me for naming storms, and sometimes high pressure systems and even blobs of isotherms.  It helps me keep track of things, and is an outlet for my latent mischievousness.

We’ve been watching two storms deliver some warm Atlantic air north towards Scandinavia.  The first I dubbed “Sneak” and the second was dubbed “Combo.”  Combo was split in half by Greenland, but the western half has vanished, absorbed into a mish-mash of low pressure over northern Canada.  The eastern half is a 957 mb gale, combining with Sneak, which is a 962 mb gale. Together they form the biggest storm in the Northern Hemisphere at this time, and are likely to rip apart the “baby ice” and cause an uptick on the DMI arctic temperature graph and a down tick on the sea-ice extent graphs.  We went through this a fortnight ago when  “Blizson”  came north. (All that is left of Blizson is that weak low, north of central Siberia.)

I think these warm invasions of the Pole may have an effect which is counter-intuitive. Not only is warmth brought up there as the actual temperature of the air masses, but a great deal of latent heat is released when vapor condenses to liquid and liquid freezes to snow.  Where does this heat all go?  In the perpetual darkness of arctic winter I imagine a lot radiates out into outer space, especially because the stratosphere is much lower up there, and the storms lift a lot of the heat to the cloud tops.

In other words, if we are rooting for a nice, mild winter, we should root for a zonal flow, where the storms stay further south and the cold stays locked up in the arctic.  The mixing involved with these northern storms does not bode well for later in the winter, I imagine, as our savings-account of warmth, saved up from last summer, is getting squandered into outer space by these un-thrifty storms.  In any case, the heat brought north doesn’t last.  You can see the spike in the DMI temperature-north-of-eighty-degrees graph fell right back down to below-normal readings, as all that heat vanished: (click to enlarge.)

DMI Nov 16 meanT_2013 (1)

I imagine we will see another uptick as the current storms sweep Atlantic air into the arctic.

A second counter-intuitive effect is seen when these storms smash up the thin, “baby-ice” north of Europe in the Barents and Kara Seas. When you see a down tick in the extent graph, there is the tendency to think it indicates a warming of the water, however quite the opposite is true.  For one thing, the howling winds are often below the freezing point of salt water, and what is happening is that thin sea-ice, as little as six inches thick, is being plowed into a smaller area, where it is heaped up and thicker.  Second, open water gets colder than water protected by an insulating layer of ice.

This is due to the fact salt water behaves differently than fresh water. In a lake, water at 33 degrees floats on top of water 34 degrees, which floats on top of water 35 degrees, so the ice forms swiftly, because the coldest water is on the top. Salt alters this dynamic, and the colder water always sinks.  In theory you would have to chill water to 29 degrees to the very bottom of the Arctic Sea before it would get cold enough on top, however in actual fact the existence of the Pycnocline around 300-400 feet down means you only need to cool that layer. Also, if so much as a crystal of ice exists at the surface it will float, and act as a seed for the growth of further ice, so falling flakes or freezing spray can start the growth of ice at the surface once temperatures get absurdly cold. However, when temperatures are only “a little” below the freezing point of salt water, the cold water sinks, replaced by rising warmer water.  Therefore an open sea north of Europe enhances the cooling of water right down to the Pycnocline.

This is a very different situation from the situation in water covered by ice.  Such water enjoys a stillness, and can develop layers based on salinity rather than temperature, and slightly warmer but slightly saltier tendrils of the Gulf Stream can travel hundreds of miles north under the ice, eventually leading to more melting from beneath.

In conclusion, more ice leads to more melting, while more open water leads to more cooling and eventually more freezing.  It is a balance: When things get out of kilter in one direction a negative feedback causes things to return to a “normal,” and then get out of kilter in an opposite direction, whereupon a new negative feedback kicks in, and returns thing again to the “normal.” (This is sheer conjecture on my part, and has not been peer-reviewed.)

In any case, here is the DMI extent graph, showing the “dent” in the growth of the ice made by the last storm.  My assumption is that, if the water north of Europe remains open, the arctic waters will be colder next summer, and the ice-melt will be less, (unless other factors kick in.)

DMI Nov 16 icecover_current_new

Last, I need to correct something I stated in my last post.  I was assuming that these storms were bringing up a flood of warm air to Britain and Scandinavia.  If you look at the current UK Met map you can see a sort of Azores High tucked in under the storms. (The more southern storm is a secondary I suppose I ought dub, “Comboson.”)  It was my assumption this warm southwest flow would automatically bring warmth:sw flow 10074768

Then, yesterday, I was enjoying Joseph D’Aleo’s blog at WeatherBELL, and noticed he had posted one of Ryan Maue’s excellent maps from the same site.  The map showed whether temperatures would be above normal in western Europe through December first.sw flow gfs_t2x_swath_eur_65(21)

You can imagine my chagrin. It might be milder over western Scandinavia, but that blue area is cold enough, to the southwest, for a nice snow over Spain, France and Germany even before November 24. (Click Joe D’Aleo’s/Ryan Maue’s maps to enlarge them.)sw flow gfs_6hr_snow_acc_eur_33(166)

O well. Back to the drawing board, and time for a new assumption. My new assumption is that these big arctic storms don’t merely import warmth, but  also export cold.  We’ve been brewing up a nice pool of cold air up there, and glancing at the recent isobars I can see that cold is dragged south by the west-side winds of Sneak and Combo.  Though warmed by its transit of the Atlantic, it certainly does not arrive in England as a benign flow from the Azores. Instead perhaps it will dust the landscape with white, and put everyone in the mood to make Christmas presents. (We’ll have to make them this year, if all the cash goes for heating bills.)

NOVEMBER 16  —DAILY DATA—

Our Forkasite moved south from 78.539°N to 78.330°N, and west from 4.912°W to 5.034°W at midnight, and then back east to 4.921°W, for a total movement of 14.5 miles. The northeast winds backed to northwest, increasing to 15 mph and then slacking to 9 mph as the storm “Sneak” passed to the north.

Temperatures remained very cold, yo-yoing  up and down with a low temperature of -22.6°C at 1800z yesterday, a high of -20.3°C at 0300z today, and a final temperature of -20.6°C at 1800z today.

NOVEMBER 16  —DMI AFTERNOON MAPS— Jack Sprat

DMI Nov 16B pressure mslp_latest.bigDMI Nov 16B temp_latest.big (1)

Last week we saw a Polar map of remarkable symmetry, with all in balance as if choreographed by a genius of dance. This week has been choreographed by a joker, who has created a lopsided dance floor, with slender Jack Sprat prancing around with his enormous wife. You couldn’t ask for a more lopsided situation.

On the Atlantic side you have the deepest gales in the Northern Hemisphere, down below 960 mb, while over on the Pacific side you have pressures up near 1050 mb across the Bering Strait.  This creates a wide but somewhat vague and dispersed area of cross-polar-flow, and as a consequence most of the cold has been pushed over to the Canadian side. Also a timid “Snout of Igor” can be seen timidly poking out from the East Siberian coast.

At this point I should likely explain to new visitors that “Igor” is a character with a long and colorful history on this blog, (look back to earlier episodes if you care,) and currently has retired to Siberia, where he thought he could enjoy a quiet retirement growing orchids (of frost,) however he is finding, like many retirees, that stuff like Obamacare comes along and makes mincemeat of your plans to grow orchids.

Siberia is snow-covered, completely dark in the north and experiencing very short days in the south, and represents an area four times the size of the icecap of Greenland doing what icecaps do, which is to grow orchids of frost.  However Igor, quietly growing his orchids, keeps getting pestered by bureaucrats in the form of low-pressure-areas that come rolling along a more southern route, through the Mediterranean, across the Black Sea and Caspian and into the near-endless Steppes.  Often very dry and rainless, such lows still have the capacity to lug along warm sectors holding a de-moisturized memory of far warmer lands, including Africa.

“Chet” was just such a storm, and, (even though I try to avoid Asian weather maps because too-much-information can result in fuses blowing in the the old noggin,) his progress has been enticingly alluring.  He was just a warm-frontal zipper that was kicked east of a bigger gale into the Mediterranean, where he gained brief fame by dumping snow on Mount Etna’s vomited lava.  Perhaps he gained super-powers from that experience, for even though he only moved east of there as a barely noticable dimple on isobars, over the Steppes east of the Caspian he has regenerated into a surge of warmth mirroring the surge of warmth along the Siberian coast to the north, and now is becoming a threat to Igor’s plan to grow orchids.  Chet represents a flood of dry warmth approaching Siberia from the southwest.  It will be hard to grow orchids of frost under such balmy breezes.

If Igor is distracted from growing cold air, it is less likely cold air will be exported via cross-polar-flow to Canada, and less likely I will freeze my socks off in the near future down here in New Hampshire.

However Igor already has puffed a big balloon of cold air onto the Pole, but that too is being used up by distractions.  Although the distractions may be good for my short-term warmth, I am nervous about what it may mean for next January.

The above DMI map of temperatures shows a big pool of air, (near thirty-below,) pooled north of Canada.  A lot of that air will move south, but will be used cooling and freezing water. The release of latent heat will moderate the cold.  However the cooling and freezing of water is creating a highway of ice that will ensure that future pools of cold air travel south over solid ice, without any sign of water that could release latent heat.  For example the freezing over of Hudson Bay releases a lot of latent heat and warms the air at first, but once the bay is ice-covered our temperatures down here in New Hampshire are bitterly colder.

Other coolings of water are less obvious and take longer to manifest.  For example the cold pool over the Pole has two current exit-regions, and only the first is down over northeast Canada to freeze up Hudson Bay. The second pours over our Forkasite and down the east coast of Greenland and then east, over the Gulf Stream. The Gulf Stream doesn’t do anything dramatic like freeze, but if it becomes colder there is less ice-melt next spring and summer when it arrives north of Europe, and having more ice up there effects the long-range weather up there, and eventually even down here as well.

In any case we may well see that reservoir of cold air simply vanish, over the arctic, over the next week. However just because you read  no news of arctic outbreaks in southern cities, don’t suppose it merely vaishes without having an effect.

NOVEMBER 17  —DMI MORNING MAPS— Backwash

DMI Nov 17 pressure mslp_latest.bigDMI Nov 17 temp_latest.big (1)

At times I fear I likely drive qualified meteorologists to distraction, because I simply observe things happen and state what they look like, without digging into underlying causes and properly researching upper-air maps and so on and so forth. I’m about to do so once again.

At times the flows in and out of the arctic get established and stay stuck for a time, and you can think in terms of a in-door and a out-door at a restaurant’s kitchen: The warm air comes in here and cold air goes out there.  At other times the in-door becomes the out-door as the out-door becomes the in-door, creating the chaos of an old Charlie Chaplin slapstick comedy.

On these second occasions I stop thinking in terms of in-doors and out-doors, and switch my thinking to using the analogy of a wave coming up a beach, and then the backwash sucking back the other way.  (This only works to a point, as the warm air does rise up and over cold air, like a wave rising up a beach, but the return tends to be in the form of a digging trough of cold, which may form a wave on a map but doesn’t work like any wave I’ve ever seen on any beach.)

In any case, the gale I called “Combo” drove a wave of warmth up either side of Greenland. You could watch the warmth head north on temperature maps.  Now the backwash is heading back south.  For example Longyearbyen on Svalbard currently has northwest winds and a temperature of +5 Fahrenheit, ( -15 Celsius,) though you can see from the DMI map that much milder temperatures are being swept around the other side of Combo, with even some above-freezing temperatures invading the Barents Sea.

Currently the upper air flow is fairly flat and west to east, but by tomorrow a significant trough will start digging south  towards western Europe, and deliver the backwash of cold. (See “Mike C’s” good analysis below, in the comments.) Eventually this trough will deliver another bowling ball of a cut off upper air low, rolling slowly west through the Mediterranean, perhaps to drop more snow to hiss on Mount Etna’s crimson lava.

During November the weather can’t make up its mind, and patterns tend to follow the wave-up-and-down-the-beach pattern. The words often used are “in transition.” What this means is that one week you can be absolutely sure it is going to be a mild winter, and the next you can be convinced we are in for a debacle of snow and cold.

It is usually in December that patterns get more fixed.  Currently I am still expecting a lot of cold to pour down onto me here in New Hampshire, in the eastern USA.

NOVEMBER 17  —DAILY DATA— 

Continued south, from 78.330°N to 78.082°N, and east, from 4.921°W to 4.561°W, moving our Forkasite  17.95 miles a little east of due south.  Winds remained steadily north-northwest, breezing up to 15 mph but slackening towards the end of the period.

Temperatures rose as the Atlantic air brought north by Sneak and Combo mixes in with the fridged arctic pool, beginning at  -20.6°C at 1800z yesterday and, passing though slight ups and downs, arriving at the high of -16.1°C at 1800z today.

NOVEMBER 17   —AFTERNOON DMI MAPS—

DMI Nov 17B pressure mslp_latest.bigDMI Nov 17B temp_latest.big (1)

Some subtle changes apparent, but for the most part the situation remains the same, with the invasion of Atlantic air now achieving major status, and “warm” air completing its conquest of the Pole.

It seems odd the Pacific side seems so quiet.  Rather than a wanderer from the Aleutians, the weak low off the coast of Alaska is actually a weak memory of Blizson that has drifted across in the cross polar flow.

It also seems odd that all the cross polar flow hasn’t resulted in any obvious arctic outbreak.  Therefore we had best keep our eyes peeled for the un-obvious.

NOVEMBER 18  —DMI MORNING MAPS—  The high tide of “heat”

DMI Nov 18 pressure mslp_latest.bigDMI Nov 18 temp_latest.big (1)

Both Sneak and Combo are weakening and filling in, with a low I think is “Comboson” kicked east beneath them and east along the arctic coast of Siberia.  Though Sneak and Combo have seen better days, they have imported considerable “warm” (IE: minus-five to minus-ten Celsius) air over the Pole, and have put a large dent in the reservoir of minus-thirty air that was building up there.

I imagine this may reverse the freeze-up of the Kara and Barents Sea for a time, perhaps making a second dent in the extent graphs.  However over the Pole itself the temperatures are still below the freezing point of salt water, and also there is likely the addition of some snow atop the ice, so, if anything, the ice would be growing, further north.

It will be interesting to keep a keen eye on the exit region created by the back side of these dual lows.  Watch to see if the trough develops, poking down towards western Europe on the 500 mb maps.  While the cold air is warmed by the Atlantic crossing, in maps such as the DMI map above, such maps measure temperatures two meters (six feet) above the surface.  It would be interesting to see the temperatures only fifty feet higher.  Though there is some turbulent mixing, and stratocumulous seen in satellite views, I imagine the air remembers its arctic origins even when it arrives in Europe.  Not like the vicious east-northeast winds from Siberia do, but very different from southwest winds off the Gulf Stream.

Here in North America some cold has come across from Siberia, but is taking its sweet time coming south.  The clash between colder air and quite warm air from the Gulf of Mexico fueled some thunder and tornadoes in the midwest USA yesterday, but the front seems more Polar than Arctic. The really cold air is loitering about in Northeast Canada.  I’ll have to scrutinize what it is up to, when I have time.

In New Hampshire it is a mild and pitch dark predawn, with showers of rain pattering on the roof.  A grey Monday is in the offing.

WARM INVASION OF POLE SHOWS CLEARLY ON DMI GRAPH

DMI Nov 18 meanT_2013 (1)

(Click to enlarge.)  This is likely the high tide of the current warming, but the graph shows it was even stronger than the last one.

The weakness of this graph is that it only includes the area north of eighty degrees latitude.  This excludes the Actic Sea towards the Bering Strait and also the cold air over land in Siberia and northern Canada.

NOVEMBER 18  —DAILY DATA—

Our Forkasite has continued south from 78.082°N to 77.834°N, and east from 4.561°W to 4.508°W, for a total distance traveled of 17.22 miles. This is decent progress, considering the anemometer states the wind has died to a dead calm for the past 18 hours.  Of course, there is always the chance the anemometer froze up, or fell into a fissure.

The thermometer is still reporting, and temperatures went through ups and downs, beginning at -16.1°C at 1800z yesterday, dropping to the low of -20.1°C at 0300z today, creeping back up to -14.2°C at 1500z, before backsliding down to -15.4°C at the last report at 1800z.

It may get a degree or two warmer, if some of the Atlantic air brought up by “Sneak” and “Combo” swirls around incompletely mixed, but that air will be steadily cooling.  It will be hard to get much warmer as long as the winds stay from the north.  However some models are showing a low crashing through the top of Greenland from Baffin Bay on Wednesday and Thursday,  which might give us a spell of south winds.  I wonder if our southward movement will be paused, and if we’ll see temperatures up in the single digits. (“Up in the single digits;”  hmmm…that sounds a bit odd, but shows you the cold we are dealing with these days.)

NOVEMBER 18  —AFTERNOON DMI MAPS—  

DMI Nov 18B pressure mslp_latest.bigDMI Nov 18B temp_latest.big (1)

I am just watching the show at the Pole without truly comprehending the whys and the wherefores, but thinking it is pretty neat. The low just off the northeast of Norway actually came rolling down the backside flow of “Sneak,” from the general area of our Forkasite, and now is bigger than both Sneak and Combo, which are both basically collapsing.  I’ll call the low off Norway “Sneakswash,” because it developed in Sneak’s backwash, but I don’t pretend to have a clue as to the dynamics involved, and I’m quite sure qualified meteorologists don’t use the word “backwash.”

The low on the other side of Greenland, at the top of Baffin Bay, is another mystery to me. I’d say it is made of the warm air from the west-side piece of Combo, clashing with the cold in place, but I don’t understand why the low pressure died away and only now is making a come-back.  I’m baffled, so I’ll dub the Baffin Bay low “Baff.”

The low kicked ahead by the occlusions of Sneak and Combo, Comboson, is proceding east along the Siberian coast, but running into high pressure which is our old friend Igor.

Yes, the Snout of Igor has again thrust his big nose into our business, pouring cold air north from Siberia and towards the Pole.  In fact temperatures at the Pole have dropped nearly ten degrees since this morning’s DMI map, partly due to the cooling of air that never feels the touch of sunshine, but also because it is being dented back towards Greenland by the Snout of Igor’s nosiness from Siberia.

If you look at this morning’s map you can see a dagger of yellow above-freezing-isotherm air jabbing north from Finland, but by this afternoon it is gone. That air is still moving north, but has cooled below freezing.

Temperatures are likely to crash over the Pole as swiftly as they spiked, however the question for thinkers is: “Where did that warmth go?” We know where it came from, (southern climes,) but where does it vanish to? It hasn’t melted any ice or even warmed much water, (considering it is, for the most part, cooler than the water,) yet it vanishes from our equation. (Obviously I side with those who think it is lost to outer space.)

As a resident of North America, I am also a bit nervous about how much cold air has gone oozing down into northern Canada.

EUROPE’S BACKWASH

Every action has its reaction.  The big wave thundering up the beach, kicking its stallion heels and white mane, pauses at the top, and then reverts to an increasingly raucous undertow, rattling cobbles like a stadium’s applause.

We have watched a wave touch the Pole itself, but now Europe faces the backwash.  The UK Met map shows cold fronts replacing the southwest flow: (click to enlarge.)

A collapse 10128498

Even more signifigant, yesterday’s flat, zonal-like flow has buckled down into a digging trough over western Europe:  (Click Ryan Maue’s WeatherBELL map twice, to view biggest enlargement.)

A collapse gfs_z500_sig_natl_1

Let this be a warning to all who seek to use weather events to promote a narrow, political agenda.  By the time you notice the warmth at the Pole, and print the headline, it will likely be snowing in Spain. You wind up looking like a fool.

NOVEMBER 19  —DMI MORNING MAPS—

DMI Nov 19 pressure mslp_latest.bigDMI Nov 19 temp_latest.big (1)

I have to run, but hope to comment later.  See comments section below for good input from MikeC and Stewart Pid.

NORTH AMERICA’S BACKWASH

I’ve been saving maps for my “Local View” section, but am too busy being part of the view to write about it.  So now I have five maps and no comments (on paper.)  (I comment plenty under my breath.) What the maps show is how the warm flow that developed after a hard cold-spell switched back to a cold flow.  (click all maps to enlarge)

2100z Nov  16  A surge satsfc (3)

0900z Nov 17  A Gray Day satsfc (3)

0000z Nov 18 A Gray Day 2 satsfc (3)

1200z Nov 18 A Gray Day 3 satsfc (3)

0900z Nov 19   A Gray Day 4 satsfc (3)

NOVEMBER 19  —DAILY DATA—

Our faithful Forkasite continues south, from 77.834°N to 77.549°N, but longitudinal motion has been erratic, beginning at 4.508°W, getting as far east as 4.472°W at 0300z, and as far west as 4.615°W at 1500z, before ending at 4.588°W.  Total distance covered was 19.81 miles, which indicates a decent wind, but the anemometer reported a calm, so I fear it may be broken.

Temperatures remained relatively mild, beginning at our high of -15.4°C at 1800z yesterday, sinking to our low of -18.5°C at midnight, then rising to a secondary high of -15.7°C at 0900z, and then settling back down to -16.8°C at 1800z.

We might see milder temperatures if winds actually become south tomorrow.

NOVEMBER 19 —DMI AFTERNOON MAPS—

DMI Nov 19B pressure mslp_latest.bigDMI Nov 19B temp_latest.big (1)

NOVEMBER 20  —DMI MORNING MAPS—

DMI Nov 20 pressure mslp_latest.bigDMI Nov 20 temp_latest.big (1)

NOVEMBER 20  —DAILY DATA—

Our Forkasite continued south, from 77.549°N to 77.228°N, and east from 4.588°W to 4.413°W, for a total movement of 22.43 miles.

The aneometer and wind vane, which may have been frozen and immobile, apparently busted free of frost, abruptly reporting 20 mph winds from the north-northeast at 2100z yesterday, and then backing around  to the west while slacking off, down to under 5 mph at 1800z today.

The temperature trended down, reaching its high, -13.9°C, at 2100z yesterday before sinking to its low of  -20.1°C at 1800z today.

NOVEMBER 20  —AFTERNOON DMI MAPS— 

DMI Nov 20B pressure mslp_latest.bigDMI Nov 20B temp_latest.big (1)

Sorry to be late with data and maps. I’m pretty busy outdoors, as it looks like our landscape could be turning white by next week.

A quick glance at maps stuns me slightly with the speed at which things are moving, and the swiftness patterns are flip-flopping about.  That surge of warmth to the Pole now looks completely replaced by cold, and I expect the DMI graph to be crashing back down to normal.

The southwest flow up over Europe looks like it got clonked on the head by a trough that came down like a dumbbell: (Click the Maue-map to enlarge, and click again to enlarge further.)

A dumbbell ecm_z500_anom_eur_1

This has allowed a low to slide down from north of Iceland into Britain.

 A dumbbell 10177346

I really haven’t been paying enough attention, but think this low is Sneakswash’s secondary (Sneakswashson?) The mishmash of low pressure extending from northern Norway  north of western Siberia is Sneakswash, Sneak, and Combo all stirred into a cold pudding.

The high pressure over towards Bering Strait is a new snout of Igor which has been bringing a slow but steady seep of air onto the Arctic Sea and into Northern Alaska and Canada.  The stored up cold in Canada is starting to loom.  If it wasn’t for Hudson Bay’s open water warming that air to the east, it would be even more impressive. (Another of Dr. Ryan Maue’s great maps from WeatherBELL. Click twice to see at full size.)

A dumbbell gfs_t2m_noram_1

Another activity that has been happening too fast for me to see has been various storms I’ll combine and call “Baff.”  Perhaps because the northwest Passage is now Frozen, as is northern Baffiin Bay, while southern Baffin Bay and Hudson Bay haven’t yet frozen, a clash between thirty-below air and five-below air is tending to appear between the two areas, and a temporary storm-track is clouting storms up the west side of Greenland.

If you look back to the five local-view maps above, you can watch an innoculous low (Fitz2?) blow up north of the Great Lakes much in the manner of Fitz a few weeks back, lashing the Great Lakes with abrupt winds (which sometimes build such sharp seas that two peaks can hoist the bow and stern of an ore freighter, with air under the middle, and snap the ship in half,) and that low rockets north with amazing rapidity right up into Baffin Bay. As such lows crash into Greenland they can actually make the cold high that sits atop Greenland vanish. Sometimes you can see a circle of low pressure cross Greenland, but other times you simply see both the low and high vanish into a brief time of “no pressure,”  and then the high reappears atop Greenland as a low appears out of nowhere on the east side of Greenland. This may occur right over our Forkasite, during the next few days.

If you remember, Fitz was a Great Lakes Gale, and then was followed by a Mountain Low which became “Bliz,” a Canadian Plains Blizzard as it headed up to Hudson Bay. The same has happened again, but I have the sense the new “Bliz,” (Bliz2,) will join the parade up west of Greenland, and join the “Baff” party.

I apologize for speaking in only the most vague and general terms.  I don’t have the time to scrutinize maps and catch all the nuances. I envy the true meteorologists. If you look above to the fifth of the five local-view maps, (the 0900z Nov 19 map) you will note there is not a single mountain low, but rather nine lows, (including four over southern British Columbia and three over northern Montana.)  I imagine that demonstrates the attention to detail a true meteorologist can muster.  However I must attend to other details, (such as how hard life gets around here when we have to start dealing with snow,) and therefore I blur the distinctions and just see surges heading this way and that.  I note a sequence such as Fitz and Bliz, and then a similar sequence a couple week later, but notice the sequence is different, and take a stab at a reason for the difference, by noting which bodies of water are now iced over, and which are still open (and can still brew storms.)

In any case, watch the storms west of Greenland. It may well be they only happen when Hudson Bay is open but the Northwest Passage is closed, and when Hudson Bay is closed (in as few as twenty days from now, some years) we won’t see them behave the same any more.

Even as these storms create a traffic jam up at the top of Baffin Bay, they kick down more ordinary cold fronts, which develop more ordinary secondaries which can get big in a more ordinary location, and become Labrador Lows.

In the local-view map below Fitz2 is gone,  and the two main lows to the north are Bliz2, over Hudson Bay, and a Labrador Low over Fitz2’s trailing cold front I’ll dub “Fitz2son.”

A dumbell satsfc (3)

LOCAL VIEW   —Not locked in yet—

If you click the above map to enlarge it, you’ll note a 1037 mb high pressure right over me here in New Hampshire. That is cold air that clashed with the warmth, and caused tornadoes 1000 miles to our west on Sunday.  Here it caused temperatures to fall from a balmy 60 on Monday morning to 26 on Tuesday morning,  (A swing from 16 Celsius to -3.)

We’ve been experiencing these whiplash swings in temperature for a while now. It seems to be a North American thing that I didn’t see happen when I lived up in Scotland.  One side effect of these swings is that it stresses out the human body.

The body goes through some sort of big change when it gets dark and cold. Old timers used to speak of “thickening the blood” in the fall and “thinning the blood” in the spring, and had various herbal teas which supposedly helped you make the switch. However they had no tea that helped you when it felt like spring on Monday but winter again on Tuesday, and it happened over and over again.  Instead they simply stated that changeable weather bred colds.

There is a cold hanging around my town that people are having a hard time shaking.  People think they are over it, and stride forth with the beautiful optimism mortals display when they are redeemed from a sickbed, and after a day or so wind up stooped and despairing and crawling back in bed.

It seems to be hitting the small children as well, and, because I run a Childcare on my farm, I get inoculated by a steady stream of germs all day long, and even though I am hale and healthy for my age, it was inevitable I’d get the bug.  Unfortunately I can’t just go to bed, as that is not allowed when you have livestock.  I do sneak in naps, but I can’t just spend a couple days snuggling under a quilt and collecting sick pay.  So I have had to put up with the bother of seeing my cold come back, over and over and over again.

It does bad things to your psyche. A voice whispers it isn’t a persistent cold that makes you cough, but rather is cancer.  You will never get better. It will only get worse.

This is not anything you want to be entertaining in your skull, as the days get shorter and winter darkness grows. It is also not a good thing to be feeling feeble when you have a ton of work to do before the snow flies.  And it is coming.  You get a bit frantic, when the long range forecasts start to hint at a foot of snow.

Darkness is coming, and much must be done before the snow flies and leaves can’t be raked. Days are shortening; a dwindling sun limps low and makes mockery of when baked we were by burning beams, and ached for cold snow to press on scorched skin and scalded brows, and longed for late sunsets to end too bold daylight and too long workdays pushing plows.

Darkness is coming. The snow we longed for will make walking hard, driving a danger, raking a joke, a path become a war with a shovel, and warmth be a stranger.

And people to our south won’t have a clue why northern folk vote the strange ways we do.

But…….for a few more fleeting days our landscape is still brown, and the weather pattern is not locked in, and wildly alternates, and the cold is driven back by warmth, and we strive to use what freedom we still have to prepare for when it is lost, and we are locked in.

NOVEMBER 21  —DMI MORNING MAPS— 

DMI Nov 21 pressure mslp_latest.bigDMI Nov 21 temp_latest.big (1)

It is interesting to watch “Baff” crash over the icecap of northern Greenland, giving our Forkasite the possibility of south winds.  Isobars make it possible, though the east coast of Greenland can defy isobars at times.

It is also interesting to compare the isotherm map with the above map from November 18. The slot of “mild” air which was between minus five and minus ten has been replaced by a blob of air below minus twenty-five.

OBSERVATIONS ON EFFECTS OF POLAR GALES ON ICE EXTENT 

A comment by the blogger “dresi4” (see below) intrigued me, and I thought I’d take a quick look at the ice extent maps to see the effects of the big Polar storms of the past fortnight.  (You can get these maps at Anthony Watt’s excellent “Sea Ice Page” at  http://wattsupwiththat.com/reference-pages/sea-ice-page/ )

I tend to use the Navy map, though it at times shows ice on cold coasts where ice hasn’t truly formed. (The Cryosphere Today maps tend to leave out areas where ice extent is less than 30%, and also to confuse melt-water pools as being open water, which can give a wrong impression during the summer melt, and lastly to confuse slush as open water, which creates a wrong impression during the refreeze, as the ocean seems to go through a sort of slush-stage as it refreezes.)  However the map below simply shows any ice at all as white, which can make ice look denser than it is, but avoids the sidetrack of “ice-concentration,” which is so fascinating that I tend to wind up utterly distracted. The map below is  the NSIDC map, which is also handy because its orange line shows where the ice “should” be at this date.

I think they determine where the ice “should” be by averaging out the years they have data for, which gives you an orange line that tells you where the ice never is, for, in order to have such a average year, you would have to have a AMO both warm and cold, and a PDO both warm and cold.  Nature is never average.  (What you tend to get is less ice on the Atlantic and/or Pacific side when their particular cycle is “warm.”)  So you have to take the orange line with a grain of salt, but it does serve as a handy reference point.

Click the map to enlarge it, and click it again to make it absolutely enormous. If it is too big for your liking you can click it a third time to reduce to a more manageable size.

Extent Nov 21 N_bm_extent_hires

The most noticeable area which hasn’t frozen over, and shows the most open water inside the orange line, are the waters north and northeast of Scandinavia, west of Svalbard and between Franz Josef Land and Novaya Semyla. These waters were actually freezing over more swiftly than in recent years during October, however the recent storms have driven the edge of the ice back to the north and east, and also the north sides of the storms have blown the edge west and then south west into Fram Strait.

Ice extent tends to be politicized, and can be a polarizing subject. (Hyuk hyuk hyuk) When it increases there is gloom among Alarmists, who glare at Skeptics, especially when Skeptics can’t resist rubbing it in and say unscientific things such as, “neener-neener-neener.” However the tables are turned when the extent shrinks. Then the Skeptics pout as the Alarmists cheer and sometimes even burst into tears.

In actual fact the current dip in the amount of ice in the Barents Sea likely is cooling the water, as it is a major inflow area for the Arctic Ocean,  and water is cooled more efficiently when it is exposed than when it is insulated by ice.

Secondly, a lot of the extent that disappeared was “baby ice,” and only a foot or so thick. In some cases it was churned into the water, further cooling the water, but also it can be piled up in heaps like driftwood on a beach at the edge of the ice further north, creating a far thicker ice at the edge which will prove more durable when the melt season gets going next May.

Lastly, the real power that diminishes the ice extent is the process of flushing the ice out through Fram Strait.  Earlier this autumn the ice down that way was well within the orange line, but now so much ice has been flushed down that way it is outside the orange line to the north, indicating more ice than normal.  This may indicate the Arctic is colder, but only to a degree; mostly it indicates how much ice the arctic is losing. Sometimes seeing more ice than normal in this part of the Arctic means there is less ice than normal left behind, especially when it is mult-year ice which is flushed out.  For example the winter of 2006-2007 saw so much ice flushed out that it led to a very low extent the summer of 2007, especially as the flushing continued. However this year the ice being flushed out is largely “baby ice,” and not so much multi-year ice, so I doubt the effect will be remotely similar.

My current bet would be for ice extent to be above six million km2 , next September, which would be a sizable increase.  The longer the Barents Sea stays open, the colder the water will be in the Arctic Ocean, and the slower the melt will progress, once it gets going next May.

NOVEMBER 21  —DAILY DATA— A heat wave!

Our Forkasite has seen an interesting change, as our progress south saw a pause.  This was caused by the passage of Baff creating a brief spell of south winds.  The ice must have been noisy, as the southward slide came grinding to a halt, and all the ice jostled and moaned.

We began at 77.228°N at 1800z yesterday, and were still at 77.228°N at 2100z, as light breezes swund around to the southwest. Then we began to drift north, to 77.219°N at 0300z today, at which point winds had veered back to the west. We were still at 77.219°N at 0600z, and had been bumped south to 77.226°N by 0900z, but by then the winds were backing to the southwest again, and we headed back north to 77.174°N at 1800z. We contiued east throughout most of this period, moving from 4.413°W to 4.144°W, and only jogging back west to 4.148°W at 1800z.. This occurred due to a radical wind shift at the very end of our 24 hour period, veering around from southwest to northeast, and rising from a near calm to 20 mph.

Our movement for the day was 5.53 miles to the east-northeast, and represents the first time our Forkasite has reverted to its wrong-way-buoy ways since back in September.  It should be noted that it was a movement towards the edge of the ice, though also noted that, since all the ice is moving this way, the edge is likely moving east as well.

Temperatures experienced a dramatic rise, moving from -20.1°C at 1800z yesterday to -9.0°C at midnight, and then continuing to rise more slowly all the way to -3.3°C at 1500z. When the wind dramatically shifted temperatures plunged to -8.1°C at 1800z, but it should be noted that the mild spell represents the closest we’ve come to the melting point of salt water since early October. This is a reminder that we are not all that far from the edge of the ice, and the warming effect of open water.

NOVEMBER 21  —AFTERNOON DMI MAPS—

DMI Nov 21B pressure mslp_latest.bigDMI Nov 21B temp_latest.big (1)

It appears “Baff” has survived the passage of Greenland’s icecap, and will take advantage of reletively mild zero-degree air in close proximity with minus twenty air to bomb out.  Also you can already see high pressure, oppressed by Baff’s passage over Greenland, making a come-back over southern Greenland.  If it rises to 1020mb as Baff falls to 980 mb, the isobars are going to abruptly become tight over our Forkasite, which means the winds could rise and howl from the north. We are very close to the edge of the ice. Could this be the end?  Stay tuned!

The map also shows that the Snout of Igor has successfully delivered a big glob of high pressure across the Pole into Canada, and the cross-polar-flow continues.  I’m a bit puzzled as to why the isotherm map doesn’t show cold air being delivered.  Perhaps the ice is thin enough for the relatively warm water under the ice to make the 2 m (six feet up) temperatures appear warmer than the air is twenty feet up.  In any case very cold air sort of disappears as it leaves Siberia and reappears when it gets to Canada.  Most mysterious. But the fact is a army of cold is marching into North America, and bivouacking as the generals of cold plan to freeze the socks off the American holiday of Thanksgiving.

(See the comments below for the blogger “MikeC’s” interesting observations on the growing cold.)

I am trying to figure out where the storm Baff will head, after it blows up.  I didn’t get much help when I checked out Dr. Ryan Maue’s excellent map at WeatherBELL, and if you look at the map, and consider the 500mb winds as “steering currents,” you’ll understand why. (Click to enlarge, and click again to enlarge further.)

Baff steering gfs_z500_sig_arctic_1

Right now the “steering currents” might suggest Baff would be carried north of Svalbard, but these are mess-with-your-head isobars. If you track the 540 mb isobar to the south, (the red one,) you’ll notice it quirks south rather than north.  This sort of fork-in-the-road arrangement of isobars is called a “divergence.”  The reason for calling it by such a name is because all meteorologists are secretly poets, and the poet Robert Frost once began a poem with, “Two roads diverged in a yellow wood…”

It just so happens that when a storm like Baff sits right where the “steering currents” are sharply turning north, but also a divergance, they bomb out. When they bomb out they get so big so fast it effects the upper atmosphere, and that effects the “steering currents.” This is why such situations mess with your mind.  You are never 100% sure which way the storm will go.  However I will say this: If I lived in Norway I’d watch this storm carefully. Even though it might look like it will head north of Svalbard.  It could clout you.

The trough that dug down into Europe might now be “cut off,” but it can still grab storms like Baff and steer them southeast.

In any case, Baff will likely be big for a while, and its warmer side may very well again sweep all “baby ice” off the Barents Sea. It will be interesting to watch.

LOCAL VIEW   —IT LOOKS LIKE IT’S DECEIVING—

Let me stick a couple local maps up to begin with. (Click maps to enlarge)

0000z Nov 21 a prestorm pause satsfc (3) 

0000z Nov 22   a prestorm pause 2 satsfc (3)

You have to be an educated worry-wart to see any trouble brewing in these maps, and I am in no mood to worry.  I prefer to accent the positive, which is that a cold high is moving off the coast, a we will get a bit of warm-side winds before that next cold front gets to east coast of the USA.

Far to the north the storms Bliz2 and Fitz2son move off the edge of the map, and all we have to deal with blobs of dry air.  The gasoline of warmth and moisture has been suppressed south of Florida. You can see a hint of the suppressing front in the first map, but they don’t even bother note the suppression in the second.

However this nice and dry air does seem a bit cold, and when we look west for some Pacific air it is a bit disconcerting to see the benevolant looking warm front in the Canadian northwest does not move ahead, but rather sags in retreat.  A small low is rippling southeast on that front, bringing another batch of cold air.  That is a bit too much like 1976-1977 to completely ignore.

However, just for the moment, the cold air is relenting here in New Hampshire.  The very frosty and windless morning gave way to southwest winds and kinder air.

It will last 24 hours.  That isn’t much, but I figure it is best to count blessings, rather than to complain they are too small or that they aren’t everlasting. I’ll leave such complaining to the little ones at the farm’s childcare. Instead I’ll use the spell of kind weather to work my butt off.

You’d be surprised by how many think a blessing is a reason to loaf.

NOVEMBER 22   —DMI MORNING MAPS—

DMI Nov 22 pressure mslp_latest.bigDMI Nov 22 temp_latest.big (1)

Baff looks to be heading south of Svalbard towards mainland Norway.  How much warm air will it draw up into the Barents Sea?  How much cold air will it suck down and across to slam Scandinavia with?

(Little do people know that, when I have a far-away look in the morning, I am not contemplating profound and mystical glories, but rather snows in Scandinavia. )

Gotta hustle.

NOVEMBER 22  —DAILY DATA— Speeding south across latitude 77 degrees

The northeast winds have started roaring, and after yesterday’s brief pause we have again headed south, from 77.174°N to 76.633°N, and west, from 4.148°W to 4.948°W.  With steady winds topping 42 mph, we have picked up speed and crossed 39.58 miles, which I think represents a record distance for a day.

Even though “Baff” is moving away, pressure has fallen to  974.4mb, which gives a hint how swiftly that gale grew.  It is sucking down colder air, and yesterday’s balmy -3.3°C with no wind at 1500z is but a dim memory.  Today it was down to -15.2°C with 40 mph winds at 1800z, which is one heck of a wind chill.

It is sort of difficult, under such conditions, to think of our Forkasite as “melting,”  however we are not all that far from the edge of the ice.  The fact we are currently getting crunched to the west may prolong our precarious survival, however we have no way of knowing what shape the iceberg our equipment is planted upon is in.  It sure would be nice to have a camera with a floodlight.

NOVEMBER 22  —DMI AFTERNOON MAPS—

DMI Nov 22B pressure mslp_latest.bigDMI Nov 22B temp_latest.big (1)

“Baff” is now the deepest low in the northern Hemisphere, at around 960 mb.  Pretty good for a storm that basically didn’t exist 36 hours ago.  And another reason that salt-water ice-fishing has never caught on.

Most of the rest of the Arctic Ocean is quiet, and busily minding its business, which is brewing up cold air.

It looks like Baff will consume the balmy Atlantic breezes basking Svalbard beaches with actual above-freezing temperatures, at least in the short term. It will be interesting to watch Baff, for to the north it has those above-freezing temperatures, but to the south it is delivering an arctic slug towards Norway.  Which side will win out?

It looks like, at low levels at least, the Siberia-to-Alaska cross-polar-flow has been broken, for the time being at least.  However the Canadian arctic is loaded, and even way down here in New Hampshire we could get arctic temperatures by Sunday.

LOCAL VIEW   —OUR LAST NON-WINTERY WEATHER?—a prestorm pause 3 satsfc (3)

I’m just posting this map, to mark a grey November Day when temperatures were above freezing from the moment I woke all the day long.  It may be a while before we see that again.

A warm front pushed north, with showers of rain in the morning, but not all that far to our north there was snow.  Then it was a misty, foggy day, with the darkness only November has, for there is no snow to brighten the dim daylight with white.  As soon as there is snow the reflected light bounces heat back up to space, and temperatures are instantly some ten degrees colder, but it is not so dark.

The days are as short and dark as they are in mid January, but January is both colder and brighter.  Nothing matches late November for hues of charcoal gray.

I suppose it might be very depressing, however at some point I decided not to use the word “gray.”  I decided to call it “:silver.”  Somehow that changes everything.

NOVEMBER 23  —DMI MORNING MAPS—

DMI Nov 23 pressure mslp_latest.bigDMI Nov 23 temp_latest.big (1)

“Baff” continues to be the biggest feature on the map.  It is interesting how it has swirled a bubble of above-freezing isotherms up to Svalbard, while the below-freezing isotherm is swept down to the north coast of Iceland and, despite the warming power of the Atlantic, right across to the northwest coast of Norway.

A weak flow from Bering Strait to Greenland continues to interupt the Siberia-to-Alaska cross-polar-flow, which might give North America a break in a week or so, however the Big area of high pressure over northern Canada is indicative of plenty of cold already delivered, and able to deliver arctic blasts further south.

The low over the Alaska side of the Bering Strait is likely to cross Canada south of the Arctic Sea, pushing some of the arctic cold back north ahead of it and dragging the arctic air back south in its lee.

For the most part the Arctic Sea will see a spell of calm, which tends to generate cold.

What grabs my eye is what Baff might be doing to ice in the Fram Strait, including our Forkasite. It is interesting to note how much further-than-normal towards Iceland from Greenland that sea ice currently is extending. It is very rare for the sea ice to actually touch the northeast coast of Iceland, but it has happened in the past.

NOVEMBER 23  —DAILY DATA—  Speeding South

Our Forkasite moved south from 76.633°N to 75.955°N, crossing 76 north latitude only a day after we crossed 77 north.  We also moved steadily west, from  4.948°W to 5.995°W.  Our total movement for the day was 50.08 miles.  Fifty miles!

“Baff’s” blew all day long, slackening slightly during the end of the 24 period, down to “only” 30 mph.  The winds were generally northeast, backing more to the east earlier in the period, and then backing thirty degrees to the north as the barometer jumped andf temperatures fell.

Temperatures rose, as another glob of Atlantic moisture was seemingly fed into Baff’s swirls, rising from  -15.2°C at 1800z yesterday to -7.6°C at 0900z today, and then falling back to -12.8°C at 1800z.

The pressure stayed down around 950 mb for much of the day, and then rose up to 1005.2mb during the final eight hours as winds shifted and temperatures fell.  It seems very much like some sort of front was wrapped around that gale, even down at the surface.

NOVEMBER 23  —DMI AFTERNOON MAPS— 

DMI Nov 23B pressure mslp_latest.bigDMI Nov 23B temp_latest.big (1)

“Baff” continues to be the big news, though likely past his prime and likely to fill and weaken as he heads east. It looks like a second center has formed, but I am going to skip the bother of naming it “Baffson.” (It’s pitch dark up there, and I figure no one will notice if I slack off a bit, but if you are into details and have the time, it is fun to watch these northern storms, for when they occlude they tend to wobble and move in a manner a bit like the dangerous boyhood toy (and tool used by South American cowboys,) called a “bola.”)

Each of these storms is different, and as unique as a snowflake, and it is interesting to watch how Baff differs from it predecessors Sneak and Combo.  They drove warm air right up over the Pole, but Baff’s warm air is in a tighter curlicue, with a blob of above freezing isotherms by Svalbard and another north of mainland Norway, but the Pole itself in the middle of a different swirl of very cold minus twenty-five isotherms.  Baff definately is raising a ruckus and keeping a lot of Barents Sea ice-free, but it is not making a spike on the DMI graph, so far.  In fact it is only slowing the plunge of temperatures back to normal, as the rest of the area north of eighty degrees latitude generates fresh cold air:

DMI Nov 23 meanT_2013 (1)

(This is not to say Baff cannot generate a slight spike, but it will be nothing like the spike that preceded it.)

You can see a weak invasion of warm air from the Bering Sea, curling north of the Bering Strait, however it only dents the minus-twenty isotherm, and above freezing isotherms stay south of the Strait.   Also the flow from that storm has already reversed, and no longer brings warmth north. (I haven’t named that storm, but I think it might be a faint reflection of an impulse I called “Chin-two” at some point.

Another impulse that moved through the Mediterranean, bathing an eruption of Mount Etna with snow,  was named Chin-three-Etna very briefly, but was shortened to “Chet.” I think Chet is cruising through central Asia, with a reflection on the arctic coast made of the memory of Sneak and Combo.  I will continue to call this weak low Chet, and have a sense it will become a more interesting feature, once he is done riding over the back of Igor.

In a general way, things seem to balance out, and you don’t usually have a big storm on one side of the Pole without having a sort of equal-but-opposite storm appear on the other.

BAFF’S “BACKWASH” HEADS FOR EUROPE

I’ve observed in the past how at times a surge north is followed by a surge south (and vice-versa,)  as if air masses charged north like waves up a beach, followed by an undertow and backwash.  Visualizing in that manner, its been interesting to watch various lows charge up towards the Pole, and the outflow of cold in their wakes.

I tend to focus on the warmth charging north, due to my interest on sea-ice, however perhaps I should pay more attention to the cold air pouring south in the wake of these storms.  Not only does it concern people in Europe, but it concerns our Forkasite.

In the current UK Met map you can see the isobars beneath Baff indicating a cold flow across the Atlantic towards Norway.

Baff UKMET 10244457

So strong is this surge that it seemingly is bringing everything to a screaming halt for 48 hours. The high pressure will stall over Ireland, and the Labrador Low  east of Labrador will actually back up to the west, (because Labrador lows are suppose to hang around Labrador, I suppose.) Meanwhile the latest Mediterranean bowling ball will do its best to cool off Mount Etna with snow.  (Click to heat your home.)

Etna Nov 23 etna_j03474

This bowling ball is actually an upper air pool of cold air, and in some ways what is left over from the southerly surges after Sneak and Combo.  Baff will try to do the same, but likely will not dig as deeply, as he did not shoulder towards the Pole as strongly. However you can already see the dent digging south towards the bowling ball, in Ryan Maue’s map of the 500mb flow (from GFS data.)  (Double click to fully enlarge.)

BAFF gfs_z500_sig_eur_1

If the more northern trough moves east more rapidly than the bowling ball to the south, the general flow created by the two features will become “positively tilted,”  and rather than the Baltic getting moderated cold air from across the Atlantic, it might get the real uadulterated Siberian curse, as  the northwest flow becomes northeast. However that is only a possibility, in the wondrous landscape of worry and fret we can make of our future.  Just dealing with the present, we can check to see if temperatures are above normal or below normal with yet another wonderful map Dr. Maue creates from GFS data at the WeatherBELL site:

BAFF gfs_t2m_anom_eur_1

This map shows the “old” cold air keeping things below normal down by Mount Etna, and also shows a green spear of “new” cold jabbing poor old Norway.  Eastern Europe and western Siberia are getting a break, (although “above normal” is by no means warm, and if the flow becomes northeast things could change there fairly rapidly.)

The trough created by Baff to the north will give the bowling ball a kick, and at least part of it will go rolling away to the east, as a fairly dry and not-newsworthy seeming dent in the west winds drifting sand and snow and waving the browned grasses of hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of miles of Steppe, but something I should pay attention to (if I only had the time) because they mess up Igor’s plans, interrupt the cross polar flow (or intensify it,) and sometimes explode into giant storms the moment they touch the Pacific.  Therefore I should give this bowling ball a name.  As the last one (that I noticed) was Bert, this one I dub “Ernie.”

SOME WONDERING ABOUT THE ICE IN FRAM STRAIT

Last year, when the North Pole Camera got this far south, it was earlier and not as cold.  It was a good thing they rescued the camera when they did, or it might have drowned.

In 2006, a year when the camera was greatly delayed like this year, it sank before it got this far south.

However there were other cameras which survived quite a long time, and made it a surprising distance south.  I haven’t the time to look up the dates they drowned, but here is an interesting “drift map.” (click to enlarge.)

NP Drifts_thru_2006

The buoy from the year 2000, “JCAD-1 NPEO 2000,” whose track is marked by the turquoise line, is most interesting, for it did not hug the coast of Greenland, yet made it all the way south of latitude 70 north.

Although I began viewing the world through the North Pole Camera because I was interested in the Arctic Sea, and had little interest in the Atlantic, I have become more interested in the ice that exits via Fram Strait as time passes. It increasingly seems something we ought pay attention to. (I bet the captain of the Titanic wishes he did.)

One very interesting period of Arctic history occurred back during one of greatest disruptions to climate we know about, the eruption of Mount Tamboro back in 1815.  blast_main

This gigantic eruption deranged the climate in ways we don’t understand.  Some take a somewhat simplistic view that the ash dimmed the sun, and caused the “year with no summer.”  However it also may have caused very low amounts of ice in the Arctic Ocean, due to huge amounts being flushed down through Fram Strait.

This topic was discussed by many due to an article I wrote, which was accepted and printed at WUWT: http://wattsupwiththat.com/2013/07/08/1815-1816-and-1817-a-polar-puzzle/

Dr. Tim Ball got me thinking, with some ideas he shared at that site, about how volcanic ash may cause jet streams to move from a zonal flow to an extremely meridional flow. I also learned so much ice was flushed out through Fram Strait that bergs were grounding on the beaches of Ireland, and this may have so cooled the North Atlantic waters that it cooled the weather all over Europe.

Not that I expect anything like that this year, however more ice than normal is currently being flushed through Fram Strait. To know this is occurring is very frustrating, for now, when it would be most interesting to use our eyes and watch what is happening, the “black hole” created by 24-hour-darkness has expanded down to near its maximum at the Arctic Circle, and Fram Strait is hidden from our eye-in-the-sky satellites.

Sometimes we can only wait and wonder.

LOCAL VIEW  —THE ARCTIC INVASION—

It is amazing how swiftly things can change, in November.  I’ll post three local weather maps, (the first being a repeat,) to show how a benign seeming situation can swiftly change to one which, (back before cell-phones,) could kill a foolish hunter who headed out into the woods under-dressed.

However first I like to take advantage of a captive audience to brag about all I got done today.  A lot was due to swallowing my pride and hiring a young fellow. I hate to admit I’m not as tough as I used to be, especially when it comes to admitting I can’t work as hard as a young whippersnapper who doesn’t know diddle about hard work, but I’ve had to admit it.  However, as the young fellow wouldn’t work unless I was breathing down his neck like a drill sergeant, I’ll take the credit for all the work, even the work his brawn actually did.

I replaced the busted sheer pins and cleaned the carburetor of the snow-blower, (a job that has been on my to-do list since last April.) I reburied the cover of the septic tank which we had pumped in the back yard. I cleaned stables. I moved a large amount of firewood. I got two free deer-hearts from hunters, (as I like a stew made from such hearts.) I fed the goats, chickens, rabbit, dog, cats, and wood stove. I wrote posts for an obscure blog. I collected 21 eggs from a sideways chicken house. I resurrected a chicken house which the children at our Childcare had managed to tip over. I caught all the chickens and put them back where they belonged.  And last but not least, I repaired the leaky dormer of the old farmhouse.

The last was most satisfying, as both the “roller-roofing” and the tar one uses state it is impossible to work with such items when temperatures fall bellow fifty, but I managed it.  I’m sure it wouldn’t have been allowed on a Union job, or any job-site involving government inspectors, but on a hardscrabble farm you just have to get the bleeping job done, and “where there’s a will there’s a way.”

You need to take advantage of the fact the shingles are black, and the tar is black, and they absorb heat.  Even with the air at forty-four and dropping, the materials you work with get just warm enough.  I was able to unroll the roller roofing without it cracking, and cut all the sheets to the proper length in a nook protected from the wind, and the knife barely able to cut the stiff shingles.

The tar was a bit humorous to work with, because the temperatures plummeted to a point where rather than soft tar, I was working with a stiffening glue that was turning to rock-hard asfalt. The tar congealed to the sides of the ten gallon can, but I could scoop softer stuff from the center, and slap it in place with haste.  Next spring some tar may dribble out from under shingles when the weather gets warm, but the main thing is to keep leaks from happening right now, and I did that.

Best was the simple fact I got to work under the sky. Meteorologists pretend to be scientists, and interested in maps, but down deep they love to look at clouds, and are poets.

a prestorm pause 3 satsfc (3)a prestorm pause 4 satsfc (3)a  prestorm pause 5 satsfc (3)

 

NOVEMBER ROOFER SONNET

To work on a roof in the cold: What joy!
Though the wind swings north and gets bitter
And the hired hand below is only a boy
And cannot be called, “A wood-splitter,”

He’s after my daughter. She’s after him.
I’m mighty above:  Thor with his hammer!
A word to the wise! They part with looks grim.
(They don’t want to sleep in the slammer.)

Then I look up to what’s higher than I,
See the cruel, swift cirrus of November,
And know what the young don’t. And then I sigh,
And do what the rich can’t remember.

They speak. How they speak! From their false, false peaks,
Not high as mine, for they can’t mend the leaks.

NOVEMBER 24  —DMI MORNING MAPS—

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

After confusing everything with a cryptic sonnet, I find it is always wisest to beat a hasty retreat into some sort of mundane factoid, and therefore I’ll quickly close this post with the morning DMI maps, showing the growing cold over the Pole draining down Baff’s west-side winds, across the north Atlantic towards Norway.  

Here in New Hampshire we are getting blasted by bone-chilling winds from the north, making the brilliant sunshine seem like a liar.  I thought I could nip out to my car without a jacket to grab something, but one shot of the wind told me I’d made a mistake.  It definitely gets your attention. The good thing is that not even sleep-heads look sleepy.

I’ll be continuing my observations at:  https://sunriseswansong.wordpress.com/2013/11/24/arctic-sea-ice-recovery-thanksgiving-and-storms/

 

ARCTIC SEA-ICE RECOVERY; THE DANCE OF POLAR STORMS

This is the latest of a long string of posts, the last of which was:  https://sunriseswansong.wordpress.com/2013/10/28/arctic-sea-ice-recovery-the-snout-of-igor/

A good friend advised me not to launch into these posts assuming visitors had read all the prior posts, so, at the risk of being redundant, I’ll give a quick synopsis of what has come before.

Last summer I did what I have done for many years, which was to escape the heat and humidity by visiting the North Pole Camera.  Mostly I do this because I find views of the arctic to be beautiful, however also I did it to become better educated on the subject of arctic ice.

I was brought up to believe the right to vote was an honor not to be taken lightly, and that I should research before I voted, and that it was good to be an “educated voter.”  Because “Global Warming” was a political subject, I felt I should educate myself on the subject. Much to my surprise I was told that asking any questions made me some sort of a bad person.  This happened many years ago, and happened many times.

Way back in 2006 I had already decided that, even though the science was supposedly “settled,” it most definitely wasn’t settled.  I was a bit amazed, at first, by the anger some expressed towards me for simply questioning.  After a while I got used to it, and went on questioning.  I got answers, slowly, surely, and sometimes painfully.  I became convinced certain aspects of the “settled science” were, to be blunt, complete bunkum.

One aspect involved the assertion the North Pole was melting away, and that with the ice gone the “albedo” would be irrevocably altered, and a runaway positive feedback would ensue, and Global Warming would result in a planetary meltdown.

This struck me as bunkum because, even as a boy, I likely knew more about the Vikings in Greenland than most adults, and in the half century since I have learned more and more.  It was obvious to me it had to be much warmer back then than it is now.  (They could grow barley in land that now is permafrost in mid-summer.) My view was reaffirmed by more than a century’s worth of papers by scientists of all sorts, including “climatologists,” and the only dissenting view was held by a modern, elite cluster of individuals who were especially suspect because they refused to show their data.

In any case, that is largely water under the bridge.  I took my stand, had my say, and that was that.  I wasn’t really starting this post on “Views from the North Pole Camera” to make any sort of political point.  To be honest, I was getting sick of the complete stupidity of Al Gore.  I wanted nothing more to do with him or his crowd.  I wanted to get away from people who call me names for asking simple questions.  One way, I had discovered, to get away from civilization, and insults, was to enjoy the view of the North Pole Camera.

Of course, after you have spent several summers viewing the ice, the suggestion that the ice is vanishing becomes absurd.  You have seen with your own eyes how it gets slushy and then refreezes.  You know how melt-water pools form and drain down, how the ice cracks and leads form, and then clamp together and form pressure ridges.  You learn of the Transpolar Drift and Beaufort Gyre, and landscapes like Svalbard and Wrangle Island become familiar to you.  You learn of the life cycle of seals, polar bears, plankton, arctic cod, walruses, whales and krill almost by mistake. Such learning is engrossing and beautiful, and a wonderful escape from civilization and hot weather, and a good subject for an obscure blog where you get perhaps ten visitors on a good day.

Abruptly, last summer, this obscure blog had hundreds of viewers.  It was due to a melt-water puddle that formed in front of the camera and some called “Lake North Pole.”  It was supposedly proof the North Pole was melting, in some circles, but I was in the position to say I’d seen it before and that it would drain away.  When it did drain away, I suppose I became a sort of authority, though I am not. In any case, I figured the visitors would go away, but they didn’t.  Even to this day roughly a thousand people drop by each week to hear me ramble away about a wide variety of subjects orbiting about the subject of the North Pole.

Admittedly some subjects orbit farther afield than Pluto,  however I figure I’ll keep on rambling away as long as people keep coming.

 

Enjoy.

NOVEMBER 4   —DMI MORNING MAPS—  The dance begins

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

Newcomers to this series of posts will have to get used to the fact I name storms, high-pressure systems,  and blobs of isotherms.  It helps me keep track of things, however at times I get a bit whimsical.

Two lows are dancing around the Pole.  “Hype” is over towards the Bering Straits, circling east off the Alaskan coast, as Hypson is northeast of Svalbard, also cycling east,  off the Siberian coast.  They both are carrying invasions of warm (by arctic standards) air, and between them is the coldest air of the autumn, pooling about pole.

Further south “Payatson” is running into Norway, with his father “Payat” a weak tongue of low pressure extending north.  South of Greenland Fitz is a 968 mb gale, but has kicked an occluded front with a leading “zipper” clear across the Atlantic, and that small low, off our map, is entering and moving up the English Channel as “Fitzip.”  Crossing west Asia and about to move out into the Pacific is “Chin.”

The general area of high pressure over Siberian snows will be called “Igor” all winter, and any time that Siberian high  bulges up into the arctic and precipitates a cross-polar-flow the flow will be called “The Snout of Igor.”

NOVEMBER 4  —DAILY DATA—

Our Forkasite is continuing south, from 80.706°N to 80.531°N, and west from 3.402°W to 3.755°W, for a total movement of 12.78 miles. Temperatures have risen irregularly from a low of -21.6°C at 1800z yesterday to a high of -15.9°C at 1500z today. The wind has been steadily northeast, rising to around 11 mph at the end of the period. Barometric pressure has been falling, now down to 997 mb.

NOVEMBER 4 —DMI AFTERNOON MAPS— SECONDARY DANCERS

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

It is always amazing to see weather, which is basically chaos, produce something symmetrical, such as the swirls of a hurricane. I can see it on the Pole in these maps, where both Hype and Hypson are weaker in unison as they pirouette around the Pole, and both have a low growing stronger to their southwest. Who would imagine chaos obeyed choreographic rules?

In the case of the low developing beside Svalbard, I’d have to call it a revived “Payat.” I notice these revivals a lot up there. Hypeson himself was a low that died and was resurrected. I never have understood how it happens, but in this case it almost seems Hypeson dangled a front southwest, and Payat redeveloped as a secondary.  The same seem thing seems to be occurring on the oppose side of the Pole, with Hype and his tail, who I will dub “Hypetail.”

Further south Scandinavia is in a triad of lows, with Payatson stalled on the Coast of Norway, Fitzip entering the Baltic, and an unnamed low on the far side of the Baltic. None are ferocious giants, but I don’t imagine blonds are getting blonder.

Fitz is negotiating Greenland, which is a perplexing thing to watch and always full of surprises, as some storms drop dead while some do just fine, (and some turn to twin storms on either side of Greenland.)  I imagine Hype will stay strong, as his occlusion is totally loaded. It, by my estimate, holds about half the air that was bringing humid warmth to the east of the USA last week.  It’s not likely to run out of gas right away.

I don’t have time to study Asia, but it looks like Chin is sliding towards the Pacific.

The battered snout of Igor in east Siberia has managed to snort a glob of cold out into the arctic, but is pretty much cringing out of sight, however the rest of Igor looks fairly strong and is bulging into our map with yellowish isobars and blue isothems into the coastal Kara Sea.  This makes me a little nervous, as it is north of the Caspian.  Joe Bastardi teaches to be wary of arctic high pressure north of the Caspian, calling it something like  “Cahir’s Connection.”  (In fact, even though I said I was too busy to study Asian maps, I quickly checked, and was relieved to see a very weak low of 1002 mb just north of the Caspian, southwest of the lobe of Igor appearing on our map. Igor is centered well northeast of the Caspian.)

The center of our map holds impressive cold.  Minus-thirty is midwinter cold at the Pole, where it seldom gets as cold as the tundra of Siberia or Canada, due to the simple fact the water under the ice is a radiator running at minus-one.  While the ice is a fairly good insulator, midwinter lows tend to run in the minus-thirty to minus-forty range.  And we are still 50 days from the first day of winter!

NOVEMBER 4   —LOCAL VIEW—

I’ll have to keep this short, as most of my mental energy got spent tonight considering some wonderful questions asked by Michael Bertsch. See the comments-section below if you are curious about what I’m talking about.

The local view has been a cold one.  Although Fitz is off the map the arctic shot he hurled behind as he departed hit us squarely between the eyes.  My back porch thermometer stated, as I limped out into the cold this morning, that I was facing a low of twenty, and the warmest it got all day was 36.  (In Celsius, that is -7 to 2.)  These are temperatures that belong in December, around here. Fortunately the map shows no reinforcements from Igor coming down our way. (click to enlarge.)

Fitz Nov 4 satsfc (3)

I noticed they neglected to mark the boundary of the arctic air on that map, so I’ll do it.  The ghost front comes ashore as a stationary front in southern Virginia,  continues west to the eastern tip of Kentucky, becoming a warm front which curves sharply north and doubles back east and….Well! Will you look at that!  They have an orange dashed line to mark an upper air trough for just a bit!  The ghost has a life, after all!….but then becomes a ghost warm front again,  curving back to the north over Lake Ontario and then northeast to Bliz, who now is a modest blizzard over Manitoba.  You can see the arctic blast digging in behind Bliz, and then curving around and back north up the Canadian Rockies to Northwest Territories.

If this was 1976-77, the belly of Bliz’s arctic blast would hold another high from Igor, which would depress the boundary of arctic air southeast, as Bliz moved south of us, however please notice this map holds no such high-pressure gift from Igor.  The high to reckon with is the high over us, which will, as it slips east, create such a surge of west-side south-winds the arctic will be driven back north, where it darn well belongs.

I do note a new mountain low brewing, in the above map, with slight centers over north Texas and Gallup, New Mexico.  That low will get bigger, and I dub it “Blizson.”  It likely will follow Bliz up to Hudson Bay, but will drag more cold air into the west, and shove the arctic boundary east across the Mississippi River. However it will take its sweet time bringing the cold air all the way east to New Hampshire,  and I say “Hip HIp Hooray!” After one more frosty night we’ll get some nice, southerly winds.

I’ll close with an incredibly annoying incident which you may find amusing.  (It is sort of like seeing someone else slip and fall in the mud: Wonderful to witness, not so fun to undergo.)

My goats didn’t believe me that this was just a brief cold shot, and not the start of winter.  Over and over I drove them back to the yellowing pasture, (wondering where the heck the electric fence was grounding out.)  Undeterred, they kept up their onslaught on the last green things in sight, my Brussels sprouts and my kale.  Persistence paid, and they were victorious.

Laugh all you want.  I am seriously considering how good goat-chops, ribs and roasts might taste. A lot better than Brussels sprouts, I should think.

NOVEMBER 5  —MORNING DMI MAPS—

DMI Nov 5 pressure mslp_latest.bigDMI Nov 5 temp_latest.big (1)

The symmetry at the Pole is starting to get a bit lopsided.  As sometimes happens on dance-floors, Payat is becoming as bit of a stage-hog, and may move north of Svalbard and become one of the biggest storms the ice has seen in a while, with a central pressure eventually dipping down towards 970 mb.  Our Forkasite could see some excitement.

In fact the entire Atlantic side is getting a bit fiesty, with Hype pretty large southeast of Iceland and Payatson over Norway with a party in the Baltic.

In comparison the Pacific side is quiet, demure, polite, but that is but a facade.  I’m not sure whether you call it “teleconnections,” or envy and a bad temper, but one side of the earth does not like being upstaged by the other.  Although Chin may look like a mild-mannered low of only  992 mb, he has already completely lost it and is swinging a mean uppercut:  A storm that is exploding east of Kamchatka. Already its pressure has dropped below Fitz’s 968 mb, so it already the biggest storm in the northern hemisphere.

Yet our DMI arctic map gives no hint of this.  Let that be a lesson to you, next time you see a face that appears quiet, demure, and polite.

This new pacific storm will gobble up Chin, but, as it is happening out of sight, I’ll just go on calling it Chin.  Purists may object, but this is my blog and I call the shots.  Expect it appear on the top of our DMI maps in a day  or two.

The counter-clockwise spin of the Pacific “Chin” will need some sort of clockwise whorl between it and the counter-clockwise spin of the Atlantic “Payat,” or sparks will fly.  Time to purchase some popcorn, and watch, wait, and whistle.

NOVEMBER 5  —DAILY DATA—   GALES HITTING OUR SITE

Northeast winds have increased rapidly at our Forkasite today, peaking at a steady 42 mph shortly after noon, and only slowly diminishing to 35 mph at last report at 1800z. We moved steady south from  80.556°N to 80.134°N, and moving west from 3.703°W to  4.340°W at 1500z, before rebounding east to 4.303°W at 1800z, which suggests winds may be veering northwest at times.  Our movement has been an amazing 30 miles south-southwest, and one can imagine the ice must be creaking and groaning in the wind.

I expect a temperature upsurge, but so far they have been remarkably stable, starting at  -16.9°C at 1500z yesterday, bouncing to dual highs of -14.1°C at midnight and -14.3°C at 0600z, before sinking to -17.4°C at noon and rising only slightly to -16.9°C by 1800z.

That’s a nasty wind chill.

NOVEMBER 5  —DMI AFTERNOON MAPS—

DMI Nov 5B pressure mslp_latest.bigDMI Nov 5B temp_latest.big (1)

NOVEMBER 6  —DMI MORNING MAPS—  IN THE DARK

DMI Nov 6 pressure mslp_latest.bigDMI Nov 6 temp_latest.big (1)

Now is when I most hunger for a camera, or a clear and cloudless satellite picture, however our camera is gone, and the satellite view is mostly of an expanding black hole of 24-hour-darkness.  The black  hole has swallowed up Svalbard, and is just touching the north-most coast of Norway.  The entire north half of Greenland is in twenty-four hour darkness. So we are in the dark.

Even if we had a camera, the lens would likely be frozen over. These northern gales are shy and don’t like us gawking at them.  It is one of those situations where you have to use your imagination to see what is hidden, (and hope you don’t get slapped for doing so.) A true scientist would stick to the facts, facts, facts.

Judging from isobars, the northward progression of “Payat” just to the west of Svalbard is giving our Forkasite strong winds. At first those winds would have an eastern componant which would crunch all the ice to the west and mash it up against the coast of Greenland.  However the winds would gradually back to the north as the storm moved north, grinding the ice south along the coast. What gets interesting is what happens when the storm starts giving us northwest winds, and we get pushed away from the coast.  Does the ice fall apart into  broken bits of berg at the dreaded end-of-the-world edge of the ice?  Or is our berg glued to other bergs by howling gales that have a fifty-below windchill, and is it a huge plate of ice that moves out? (In Antarctica the entire plate of ice moves out, and there is a stretch of open water along the shore.)

I checked the army data, and the temperature at our Forkasite is still down at  -17.33 C. I aslo checked the port of Svalbard on the island of Svalbard, at their temperature is -7.77 C, so it is not like the storm is melting ice with warming winds.  However the seas must be high, and the ice away from the edge must be lifting and falling on big swells, making strange groaning and squealing and moaning and muttering noises.  I wish you were there, standing in that starkness, listening, and could report back to me, as I put more wood on my warm fire.

The isobars on the east side of Payat are more open and the winds are not as strong.  A long curve of general low pressure extends to Fitzip over Finland and then back to Fitz south of Iceland, which is weaker overall but still down at 968 mb.  Chin is a gigantic Pacific storm just starting to appear on our map south of the Bering Strait.

The faint remains of Hyeson continues his waltz around the pole with his father’s faint remain mirroring his moves, but they are like ghosts and no one is paying them much attention, with Payat now tied for second-strongest-storm in the Northern Hemisphere at 968 mb.

I’ll have to check up on how big Chin is getting later, but have to run to work.

QUICK PEEK AT CHIN   WOW!

Here’s a look at a map made of the “intial data,” used for the GFS models, from the 0600z run. Ryan Maue takes the data and produces these wonderful maps over at WeatherBELL.  I’d tell you to go over and sign up for a free trial, but it is like heroin: The first bag is always free. Click the map once to enlarge, and click again to get a good view.

Chin Nov 6 gfs_mslp_uv10m_npac_1

Pressures are down to 953 mb in Chin.  The typhoon getting all the press, (Halyan,) approaching the Phillipines just off the bottom left of this map, may have its pressure fall lower, (at the time of this map they are only down to 990 mb,) and its winds may be twice as high in a narrow ring around the eye, but these northern gales are bigger, and have hurricane winds roaring far from the center.  This is the sort of storm that fishermen in “The Most Dangerous Catch” like to avoid, and is one reason the fishing grounds up there aren’t yet depleted.

To any purists who insist that this storm is different from Chin, and in fact consumed Chin, I simply state this developed as a remote frontal feature, and therefore is a much part of Chin as an uppercut was part of Mammy Yokum

WWI US 817th Bomb Squadron 483rd Bomb Group 15th Chin AF Leather Patch with Al Capp's Mammy Yokum Decal

NOVEMBER 6  —LOCAL VIEW—   The Arctic Relents

Yesterday morning the arctic was still upon us, with temperatures down to 25, (-4 Celsius,) but the cold didn’t feel as cruel, likely because the air was breathlessly calm.  I didn’t trust the forecast, as computer models are often too fast with the return of warmth up here in New Hampshire, for some reason.  All it would take is a flattening of the 500 mb map isobars to the north, and the arctic air could nudge across the north and dip just enough to catch up with the arctic air already over us, and then, even if the rest of the USA enjoyed a southerly flow, we’d stay stuck in a pocket of cold.

This morning’s map shows such a cross-country charge of arctic air along the border looking less likely: (Click to enlarge.)

Fitz Nov 6 satsfc (3)

First, I notice Bliz is no super-storm, up over Hudson Bay, with his central pressure a weeny 1002 mb. His trailer Blizson is no giant either, at 1005 mb over the Great Lakes.  Of course, as we saw last week with Fitz, those Great Lakes lows can blow up fast, but Blizson doesn’t have the same supply of arctic air funneling in behind, and it will be a case of too little too late, if he tries to grow.  Lastly, the arctic high behind the two has lollygagged around in the west, and I have a hard time calling an arctic high “arctic” when it comes my way via Arizona.

I’ll keep an eye on Blizson, becomes sometimes even if such mild-seeming storms retreat off towards Labrador to the north of the Great lakes, with a seemingly benign Arizona-arctic high in their lee, the arctic high sneaks a strand of nasty cold in a fringe on its northeast flank.

If you look at the above map you can just a hint of such a sneaker in northwest Montana.  You can see the boundary between Pacific and Arctic air is collapsing east as a warm front all the way south through Canada, but ends with a innocuous-seeming hook of a cold front.  If that hook were to get sucked into the flow between a growing Blizson, and the cool side of a Arizona-arctic high, every one else in the USA might be walking about all smiles a midst balmy breezes, but in this northeast nook of the northeast folk would be cussing their choice of a homeland, in a brief blast of bone-chilling bad-luck. That’s why we are such grouches, up here.

Yesterday banks, government, insurance and bureaucracy added to the chill. When I was young a youth could buy a fifty dollar clunker, and it was no big deal.  Now a days it is much harder on modern youth.  It wouldn’t surprise me if the EPA passed a law banning anyone under thirty from even owning a car, but that may just be my mood talking. In any case, I got sucked into helping my middle son get a car at age twenty-one, and the time it took and the paperwork involved sunk my voice to a low growl.  I’ve got enough problems with my goats, and don’t need the government horning in as well.

I took the goats out for a walk, to keep them out of the garden. They are much better than my dog, for they stay close and never chase squirrels or attack old lady’s toy poodles. They are also interesting to observe. I study what they eat. This time of year they get a bit urgent, as they sense food is growing short.

One thing they like is acorns, which have been late falling this year due to the late flowering in the late spring.  I took them to a patch of woods where I noticed a lot had fallen, around five days ago, and was surprised to see the fallen nuts were nearly all gone, and the entire leafy floor of that patch of woods was scuffed up.  It would take a hundred squirrels to scuff that much, so I suspected a group of white tailed deer had beaten us to the harvest, but then noticed the goats sniffing and glancing about anxiously, and decided a black bear had joined in for a brief before-bedtime snack.  (It’s amazing what you can see when there’s nothing to see.)

We headed out to the dam to find some green stuff on the south slope, and I saw something lovely happen in the sky.  There is a time in the early-to-mid morning when the air up five thousand feet or so is all warmed and all uplifts, and an entire deck of altocumulus can appear and then dissolve in the course of an hour.  It was a very pretty thing to watch, and made it hard to be a grouch.  Also I noticed the clouds were not moving, and figured the center of the high pressure was over us, and the cold would soon relent.

The cold hung around long enough yesterday to keep me suspiciously scanning the maps, but by this morning it was milder, and there was no frost on my windshield.  The farm thermometer read 40, (4 Celsius,) at sunup. Even the goats relaxed, and I saw them laying in the pasture, basking in the softer sunshine, as I returned from dropping off some boys at kindergarten.  Of course, that doesn’t mean I can relax.  I need to hustle, before the next cold blast bears down on us.

NOVEMBER 6  —DAILY DATA—  THE GALE RESUMES

Our Forkasite is getting blasted.  The wind, which seemingly backed slightly west of due north, veered back to the northeast. It was blowing a steady 42 mph at 1500z yesterday, but slacked off to around a steady 22 mph at 0300z today, (which is still a higher wind than we usually see,) and then the wind again increased, gradually at first but then more rapidly, to the highest winds we’ve yet seen. At the final report at 1800z  steady winds of nearly 45 mph were reported. (Who knows what the gusts are?)

The pressure bottomed out at 972.7mb during the “lull” of the gale, and the temperatures, which had risen steady since yesterday’s noontime low of -17.4°C, hit their high of -10.9°C, still well below the freezing point of salt water.  Since then they have fallen to -14.5°C, as the pressures slowly rose and the gales resumed.

Our Forkasite has continued south, from 80.134°N to 79.705°N, and west from 4.303°W to 4.513°W, which is another whopping 29.87 miles nearly due south.  The westward movement intrigues me, for the coast of Greenland does not move west this far north, and at some point the ice simply runs out of room, and the only way it can move further west is by crunching and heaping up in piles.

NOVEMBER 6   —DMI AFTERNOON MAPS—

DMI Nov 6B pressure mslp_latest.bigDMI Nov 6B temp_latest.big (1)

I’m too tired to delve much into details. I’ll just quickly note Payat has two centers, and I face a problem with the fact they have only one name.  Also, though Hype is weakening on the coast of Siberia, the blub of very cold Siberian air brought north by his south winds has formed a very impressive, snout-of-Igor-like pool of nearly thirty-below air out over the Arctic Sea on the Bering Strait side of the Pole.

THE CONTINUING SAGA OF BUOY 2013C

Last October 17 in a prior post I wrote about the interesting journey of Buoy 2013C: from a fixed location attached to a firm ice shelf on the north side of Ellesmere Island, facing the North Pole, to a floating wanderer on a berg that broke off.  It had travelled down through Nares Strait and the northwest corner of Baffin Bay and entered Parry Sound, and was headed west, seemingly determined to visit the most northerly town in the world, Resolute.

Apparently there has been a change of plans. After wheeling and dealing its way through around five circles in Parry Sound, Buoy 2013C: has decided the heck with that, and headed back into Baffin Bay, and is now steaming south.  (Click to enlarge, and click again for further enlargement.)

2013C Nov 6 2013C_track

It would be intersting to figure out the total distance this buoy has traveled, if you took all the bends, loops and circles and made them be a straight line.  I assume the reporting station is on a chunk of ice, and isn’t a buoy just floating between bergs, because most of the time it has spent traveling has been in sub-zero cold, and even sub-zero waters.  However it does make you reconsider how mobile 100% ice-coverage is.  For example, when you look at the upper reaches of Baffin bay in the following map, you get the feeling Baffin Bay’s upper reaches are locked in. (Click to enlarge.)

Concentration of ice. Nov 6 arcticicennowcast (1)

This is a good lesson in how mobile sea ice can be.  A camera facing south on Monday can be facing north by Friday.  Even in a dead calm the ice is rising and falling with the tides, shifted by under-ice currents, and shoved about by other ice responding to winds which may be blowing hundreds of miles away.

I prefer the above map to the Cryosphere Today map, even though the above “Navy” map does have a habit of showing slight concentrations of ice on cold coasts where it hasn’t formed yet. (The Cryosphere Today maps, on the other hand, show areas that are a quarter covered with bergs as open water, for some reason.) In either case the value of a camera becomes apparent.  Sometimes our own eyes work better than satellites, though they cost far less.

I was glad to see the above Navy map showed less than 100% coverage right along the northernmost coast in Alaska, because David Sims, down in the comments, sent us the following link: http://seaice.alaska.edu/gi/observatories/barrow_webcam

This webcam, located atop a bank in Barrow, allows us to watch the shore of the Arctic Sea with our own eyes, and see the exact moment the ice arrives.

NOVEMBER 7   —DMI MORNING MAPS—  Oh Oh. Arctic aims at me

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

In terms of art and choreography, all is harmony and pleasing.  Hype merges into Chin on the Pacific side as Hypeson merges into Payat on the Atlantic side.  Very pretty, until you consider the fact we are talking about thirty-below air between the two merges.

Cold air has been massing its power over the Pole.  Think of it as the ball of a turkey-basting syringe inhaling a lot of juice.  Now think of Payat as fingers pressing that ball on one side, and Chin as a thumb pressing from another. The “juice” has got to squirt out somewhere.  It even shows in the graph of polar temperatures; as the cold builds the graph sinks below normal; as it departs the temperatures start to perk up towards normal:

DMI Nov 7 meanT_2013 (1)

Warm air pressing up into the arctic may be encouraging to those with a vested, political interest in seeing the arctic at least appear to be warming.  The surges from Atlantic and Pacific sides may  make them happy by temporarily slowing the growth of ice in the Barents, Kara and Chukchi Seas.  However the “warm” air is largely below the freezing point of salt water, and rather than much melting the southerly flow will likely pile the ice up at its edges, making it thicker there, while keeping waters south of the edge open and more prone to deep cooling.  In other words, blips in graphs don;t matter a hill of beans in the long run. And, in the short run, we should be focused on where the reservoir of cold air is draining.

A ridge of high pressure has appeared between the Pacific and Atlantic wheels of low pressure.  (You can’t have two counter-clockwise gears next to each other without grinding teeth; a clockwise gear must exist between the two.)  This ridge creates two cross-polar flows, one from Alaska to East Siberia north of the Bering Strait, and one from West Siberia across to the northern reaches of Canada.

The flow on the Pacific side seemingly should transport lots of reletively mild air into Siberia, however I have noticed Siberian high-pressure often defies the flow, as if some sort of front develops between Pacific and Arctic air and the highs roll the “wrong” way north of the front. Anyway, I don’t live in Siberia yet, so I’m not heeding this flow so much.

It is the other flow that concerns me.  While it is bringing some warm air north at its entrance region, you can also see the temperature map showing cold temperatures on the Siberian coast of the Kara Sea, indicative of frigid West Siberian air being sucked north as well.  However it is over at the exit region that my eyebrows rise, seeing some minus-thirty air is heading my way.

Lest Europeans smile, thinking they are off the hook, I should point out a secondary exit region hooks down the east coast of Greenland (over our Forkasite) and then bends sharply across the Atlantic towards Scandinavia.  While this air may be warmed at the surface by its Atlantic passage, not all that far up it is likely to remember its Arctic roots. The people of Norway and Sweden and Finland  will not be getting Atlantic air originating in the Azores, that’s for sure. (It would be great to get an observant comment from someone who actually lives over there.)

In any case, it will be interesting to watch the news from southern Canada and northern USA around five days from now, as I expect the cold Snout of Igor will press them like a friendly wolf. (Hopefully it sniffs out Arizona before visiting me.)

NOVEMBER 7   —LOCAL VIEW— RUMORS OF STORMS

I’m up way before the sun with a case of late-night insomnia, noting it is nice and mild, with winds from the south. The temperature is 52 (11 Celsius) and there are some showers to our west, but the air behind the slowly approaching front isn’t all that cold. (Click to enlarge)

First storm Nov 7 satsfc (3)

That is a nice, bengn map.  Blizson finally did develop a bit, way up in Quebec, but his central pressure is only 993, rather weak.  The sneaky front my sharp eyes have been watching is still stalled up in eastern North Dakota, but I do notice some arctic reinfosements just bulging into the top of the prairie provences from Northwest Territories.  That is the very tip of the Snout of Igor, like a dog peeking into your kitchen.

If you run the computer models forward that snout grows into a very big and cold arctic high, which presses south into the USA next week, and various models have various versions of snow storms to the south of that cold air.  Most clobber the center of the USA, with the snow only clipping northern New Hampshire, but a few have a secondary storm clobbering me.

I’ll have to avoid the weather blogs as much as possible, because I know my fellow weather-geeks will be all a tither, and if I’m not careful I could waste hours chatting rather than getting stuff done.  Once we have a snow cover everything becomes three times as hard to do, around here.

Forgive me if my postings become brief and terse over the next week.

NOVEMBER 7  —DAILY DATA—  STORM OVER

Our Forkasite moved south from 79.705°N to 79.396°N and west from 4.513°W to 4.883°W at 1200z, whereupon the winds turned northwest and the Forkasite rebounded back to 4.761°W. I’m a little surprised by the size of the rebound, considering winds had dropped to roughly 5 mph. It is almost as if, when the winds relented, a storm surge up against Greenland’s east coast turned into a backwash heading off shore. In any case we moved a healthy 21.66 miles further south before the winds slacked off.

Temperatures fell steadily from -14.5°C at 1800z yesterday to -20.3°C at 1800z today. This frigid air seems to stick close to the coast of Greenland and only turns east towards Europe on a trajectory that takes it south of Iceland.

Note:  Formerly our data was released in segments covering 24 hours from 1500z one day to 1500z the next day.  Now it covers a period from 1800z to 1800z. Perhaps it is due to the end of Daylight Savings Time.

NOVEMBER 7  —DMI AFTERNOON MAPS— NOW THAT’S CROSS POLAR FLOW!

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

There are only two dancers now, “Payat” on the Atlantic side and “Chin” on  the Pacific side, both positioned to throw warm winds towards the Eurasian side of the Pole, which can only squeeze the cold towards the Canadian side.

It’s hard to talk much about the weather anywhere but the Philippines tonight, so I’ll pop on a Pacific map and talk about “Chin,” allowing us to glance south and think about Typhoon Haiyan. (Click to enlarge.)

Chin Nov 7 gfs_mslp_uv10m_npac_1

Haiyan is down on the lower left corner of this map, and due to latitude distortions and also computer grid-problems, doesn’t look like the tight dot of horribly fierce winds it is.  Central pressure is estimated to be around 903 mb at landfall, and with isobars so tight winds are screaming, with gusts to 200 mph, which is faster than many tornadoes.  The storm surge is likely to taller than a two story building, and one can only hope they got the people away from the coast.  Just about the only good thing about such storms is they are at their worst in a tight band around the center, and a hundred miles north and south the winds may only be gales.  However for the people directly in the path it is hell, especially if they are poor and without sturdy shelters.

Pray for them.

To the north a gale such as Chin is far larger, and its strongest winds can reach vast swaths far from the center, and even though they are not as strong, perhaps “only” up around 80 mph as the gale peaks, they stretch out across such a long fetch of ocean they can generate monster seas.

Chin himself has filled in slightly, yet still reaches from Siberia to Alaska, and is pumping reletively mild air north and then east along the Siberian coast. (Also note the air being pulled off the west Alaska mainland is colder.)  These winds will reduce the ice extent slightly with warmth in a very narrow band, but will reduce the extent far more by driving the thin “baby ice” north from the coasts and crushing it up against the thicker ice. (Click temperature map below to enlarge.)

Chin Nov 7 gfs_t2m_npac_1

While the above map does show how incredibly cold the air over Eastern Siberia is, that air is largely stagnant and incubating colder cold.  If anything is is seeping south towards China and Korea. The “Snout of Igor” you see poking north is largely a residue of damage that has already been done, for the cold was already delivered north.

A glance at the UK Met map on the Atlantic side of the Pole shows Fitz, (to the south of Payat on our DMI map,) has filled in, and only has a pressure of 978 mb.  However, though it has suffered the fate all gales face, it still is enormous.  If you follow the line of the 992 mb isobar, you see it encompasses eastern Norway, northern Scotland, a vast area of the Atlantic, the southernmost tip of Greenland, and most of Iceland.  It is an area roughly the size of the east coast of the USA, holding all the warm air that was over the East Coast of the USA last week, but holding it as a wallowing occlusion, up several thousand feet where no one can enjoy it.  Sorry about that, Europe.  I told that warm air to stay here, but it wouldn’t listen to me.

Until some new gale explodes and kicks this mess in the butt, things look fairly stagnant in Europe, with a few ripples moving into the Mediterranean but most fronts and systems basically stalled.  That makes Payat the big frog in a small pond, and an influential feature, in his wafting of warmer air north of Scandinavia and Westernmost Siberia.

The DMI map does a poor job of showing inland cold, so I’ll show Ryan Maue’s version of GFS data that I get via WeatherBELL. (Click to enlarge.)

Fitz Nov 7 gfs_t2m_arctic_1

In this map (looking straight down at the North Pole) you can see that, just as Chin drove warmth west along the coast of East Siberia, Payat is driving warmth east along the coast of West Siberia.  You can also see that big glob of cold getting squished to the Canadian side, where the North American defenses against cold are putting a last stand.

These defenses are areas of open water, and this map is interesting because you can see the warm (and likely very thin) surface temperatures they create.

One area of open water is just inside the west entrance of the Northwest Passage, which tends to stay open because is it is protected from sea-ice being blown south, (and also owns the reletively warm outflow of the Mackenzie River.)  Other areas are two of the world’s largest and deepest lakes, Great Bear Lake and Great Slave Lake.  All these waters tend to freeze over in November, but before they do they protect people to the south from the full wrath of the north.

But it is coming, even if it isn’t altogether apparent on today’s maps. Wait, watch, and you will see Canada abruptly fill with a big blob of arctic high pressure, in the next few days.

LOCAL VIEW  —JUST THE WAY I LIKE IT;  IE: BORING—

When I was young I yearned for clouds of deep purple, flashing lightning, but now that I’ve grown grey I think I prefer grey.  I’ve decided “boring” is another word for, “peace.”  Furthermore, peace is not an empty thing, but holds a richness all its own.

Today’s map shows that a gentle cold front passed over us. The hint of a secondary low off shore would have caused me grief when I was young, as I would have seen it as a lost chance for a storm to “bomb out,” off shore.  I hungered for typhoons and tornadoes, little understanding what ruin is like. Now I’ve already been there and done that, and today noted the sprinkles grew to showers as that secondary rippled by, and was glad when it turned back to sprinkles, and then gladder to see the west grew ruddy at sunset, with the end of the rain.

The sneak-attack arctic front I worried about yesterday is merely an orange dashed line on today’s map, from Illinois to most northeastern Texas, and that is fine with me.  I don’t need any sneak attacks around here.

The low “Fritz” is a mere memory, a lone isobar in the upper right corner of the map, but that is enough to deflect “Blizson” south, moving toward exit-stage-right, a mere 989 mb weakling low.

Of course, all the mild air the frontal passage is shunting off shore will stream north, and may well combine with the ripple of Blizson and turn into some howling North Atlantic storm.  If that happens, I hope some young man in Iceland who hankers for Typhoons and Tornadoes appreciate a 950 mb low.  He wants life crashing and pounding like a Beethoven symphony. But do I want that? or do I prefer things dull and grey?

So, how was my day?

It was a dull, grey day, mild but turning colder as a front moved through. I drove to work noting no chimney’s smoked. None were burning their hoarded wood. (I guess frugal folk shirk from cheerfulness at times.) The trees, leafless, swung black claws against grey scud, and I thought to myself, “How Novembery!”

Depress? Or promote poetry? Really, how ought a fellow respond to a wet, grey day?

As my truck’s tires hissed across the wet tar I considered the fact I must buy some hay, get goats bred, shovel shit, and saw things are grey, grey, grey. I’ve a job, and must get on it, and haven’t the time to ink a sonnet.

NOVEMBER 8  —MORNING DMI MAPS— THE SURGE

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

Pretty much everything is still proceding as discussed last night.  The surges of warmth towards the Pole now have created an above average peak in the DMI graph of temperatures-above-80-degrees latitude.  It is important to remember that graph doesn’t measure the very cold air pushed south of 80 degrees towards Canada.  It is also interesting to note that, looking at the green line which shows the average of the past 55 years, you notice an odd uptick right on this date occurs even in the averages.

DMI Nov 8 meanT_2013 (1)

The surge is also causing a down-tick on ice extent graphs.  I hope to find time to think about this later.  The problem is that such graphs don’t measure how much latent heat is lost to space in the dark upper reaches of such storms, nor how much snow adds to the bulk of sea ice, and so on and so forth. Lots to mull over. (Click to enlarge)

DMI Nov 8 icecover_current_new

LOCAL VIEW   —A SNEAK ATTACK—

That boundary between arctic and balmy air that was demoted from a front to an orange, dashed  “trough” from Illonois to Texas on yesterday’s map has been further demoted and now only exists as a “ghost front,” but you sure could feel it sneaking in, early this morning.  There wasn’t much to see, just some scattered mid-level clouds to make the sunrise pretty, but the northwest wind, merely cool after the official front passed through yesterday, became bitter before dawn, a thin wind with a sting, as temperatures sank to 28 (-2 Celsius.)  Nor are they in any hurry to rise above freezing.  It’s a far cry from yesterday when temperatures bounded up to 58 (14 Celsius) by mid-morning.

The build-up of the cold in Canada is sneaky as well.  The map shows no giant high pressure surging south, but you’ll notice the next low, currently in the Canadian Rockies, doesn’t move off to the northeast, but rather takes more of a Alberta Clipper route to the southeast, along the edge of the building cold.

Note meek 991 mb Blizson slipping off this map’s upper right side.  He’s likely to appear in our DMI polar maps as an roaring Atlantic gale, to replace Fitz, in a couple days. Sneaky.

A Sneak Attack satsfc (3)

Last but not least, I snuck a sonnet into my “Local View” last night, even while stating I was too busy to write sonnets.

It’s not so hard to sneak sonnets into prose.  All you need to do is make sure your thirtieth syllable rhymes with your tenth, and your fortieth rhymes with your twentieth. After repeating that three times you end with a couplet, such as “I’ve a job, and must get on it, and haven’t the time to ink a sonnet.”

I learned to to this because, years ago, I discovered that raising an index finger and saying “I have written a poem” was a good way to get large numbers of people to evacuate the premises.  (The only way a modern man can get away with poetry is to be sneaky about it.)

NOVEMBER 8  —DAILY DATA—  CALM DESCENDS 

Our Forkasite decelerated south as northwest winds fade to a calm and the barometer rose, moving south from 79.396°N to 79.308°N, and moving east, west, east, west and east again, from  4.761°W to 4.746°W. Our movement slowed to 6.11 miles south.

Temperatures yoyoed downwards, reaching a high of -19.3°C at 2100z yesterday, (The single reading above minus twenty,)  but ending up at -23.3°C at 1800z today.

I sure wish we could view the landscape after that storm, but don’t suppose we’ll ever know what it looks like.

NOVEMBER 8 —AFTERNOON DMI MAPS—  

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

With the low I dubbed “Payat” (short for “Pay attention,” because I didn’t, and missed the genesis of this storm,) conquering the Pole, you might think we could sit back and watch a nice, simple zonal pattern develop, however no such effect.  With “Chin” moving north and east from the Aleutians, we are liable to see a splendid example of the Fujiwhara effect, where two storms orbit each other in a counterclockwise fashion, with one storm eventually gobbling up the other.  Such so-called “binary interaction” usually involves a couple of hurricanes out of the reach of jet streams, however I think the Pole is also, in a manner of speaking, out of the reach of jet streams.  So we may see the same thing.

It looks like Chin will gobble up Payat, in the long run, as Chin rolls along the arctic coast of Alaska and then Canada.  However what I am attempting to focus on is how this will warp, distort, and alter the cross polar flow.  Considering the flow currently exists between the two storms, if one absorbs the other it obvious the flow will be maimed.  So where will the next flow develop? My best guess is that it will occur in the lee of Chin.  Chin will basically slam the door on any air coming north through the Bering Strait, and instead the air will blow from Siberia to Alaska across the Bering Strait.

Another thing to watch is the cooling of the influx of warm air in the arctic.  The air has no business being so “mild,” and is in a sense like a cup of hot tea set out on a winter porch railing.  It might be warm to begin with, but its temperature has nowhere to go but down.

Watch all that warm air north of Bering Strait and north of Scandinavia and West Siberia over the next few days.  Without reinforcements, (which do not exist at this point) it can only get colder.  We are seeing a sort of high tide.

Lastly, all the cold air which formerly was lodged over the Pole has gone some place.  Where?  Look south, young man. Look South. (Both into Canada and into Siberia.)

LOCAL VIEW   —GRAUPEL—

Ha!  I’ve been talking like a madman for two days about ridiculous things like “sneaky cold” and “ghost fronts,” and now it turns out I’m not quite as dumb as I look!

Look back to this morning’s map, where I pointed out there was no note of the “ghost front” I’d been tracking.  Now check out this evening’s map, and please note the orange-dashed-line, indicating a trough which has passed over New England and is now just off shore.  (click to enlarge.)

A sneak satsfc (3)

Of course, one could say the orange-dashed-line did not exist on the morning map because it developed off shore during the course of the day.  I won’t argue with that, because I have to deal with a pack of children on my farm, and I’m too busy dealing with the outlandish arguments children dream up.

I also have to deal with the unintended consequences of well-meaning beaurocrats who say teachers ought skip school, to have “workshops.”  This means the tax-paying parents are faced with going to work on a day when the kids don’t go to school.  Who is to care for the kids?  You got it: little old me must care, though I’m a guy who would rather be herding goats and planting radishes and writing sonnets, but who somehow wound up a “Child Care Professional.”

I also have to deal with a “fire code” written by someone who thinks a farmer is too stupid to know when he ought burn leaves or a field of weeds, and instead ought pay a fee to get a “permit.” Never mind that I don’t even know the guy and he never had the decency to come talk to me.  I just can’t farm as I’ve always farmed, and that is that: I can’t burn a single leaf on my farm without paying him.

So I dealt with it, and entertained kids with a nice, very-safe campfire that warmed us as we cooked and got fat all day.  We even fried some shrimp.  How many Childcare centers offer fried shrimp, by a campfire?

I knew the fire was safe because of yesterday’s grey-day rain, which drenched everything, and also knew a fire was important, (unless you prefer children huddled indoors,) because I knew a ghost-front was coming through. ( I mentioned the thin, cruel wind this morning, and it didn’t gentle much as the day went by.)

It was a day of purple, rolling cumulus, mostly cloudy but allowing flashes of brief sunshine. The most purple cumulous threw down smatterings of neat stuff, not quite as strange as Dr. Seuss’s “Oobleck,” but so outlandish it seemed a bit like Dr. Seuss all the same.  It is fluffy white pompoms that pelt from the sky, called “graupel.”

When an ordinary snowflake falls through air loaded with super-cooled water, every edge gets frosty, just as stuff in an old fashioned freezer got frosty, (before they added the frost-free gizmos.)  The growing frost makes the snowflake get larger and rounder and fall faster.  Even as it falls, the super-cooled water continues to build frost on its outer edges, until it it is as round as a hailstone, but far softer.  Some can grow as large as a kernel of corn.

In any case, small children seem to think it is rather cool when all these frosty pompoms start pelting them from the sky, and run about gleeful.  I thought it was rather cool myself, and was glad I was expecting a ghost front.  If I was attending to the forecast on the radio I might not have been as prepared.  I might not have bothered face the legal rigmarole of lighting a fire and making a warm place where children could eat shrimp, french fries, hot dogs, and steak tips, and run around in a cold and swirling wind getting pelted by graupel.

How many Childcare facilities offer the experience of graupel?

Think of it it this way:  I was only dealing with seventeen kids, but they got to laugh and play and enjoy childhood.  In my humble opinion, many other children grow up deprived. And is a child who is deprived all that different from a child who is abused?

Some other child care facilities are like small prisons. They are boxes with fenced-in postage-stamp playgrounds of hygienic concrete, where children are allowed to slouch about like convicts for an allotted time and then called back to their cells.   They never get to run about a pasture laughing, getting pelted by pompoms of graupel.

Why?  Is it not at least partially because the owners of other Childcare facilities never question the GFS computer generated forecast, or the GFS maps, or the bureaucrats, or the fire codes, and, in their obedience to inferior authority, they have basically abdicated from the obligation inherent in having a mind, which is to think for yourself?

NOVEMBER 9  —DMI MORNING MAPS—  HIGHWAY ROBBERY

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

Payat over the Pole, Fitz off the coast of Norway, and Chin over the Siberian side of Bering Strait are all 982 mb lows, and the dance at the Pole seems well choreographed and nicely balanced, however computer models are still suggesting Chin will rudely gobble up Payat by noon tomorrow.

The isotherms show the Atlantic flow curving north of Scandivania  and the hooking back up to the Pole.  In a sense the Pole is stealing our milder air and chilling it. I think I would prefer a nice, zonal flow, with the cold air staying up where it belongs, and the milder air staying down here.  We have little enough mild air as it is, and for the Pole to take any is highway robbery.

NOVEMBER 9  —DAILY DATA—

South 79.308°N to 79.203°N, and west from 4.746°W to 4.816°W. We drifted 7.34 miles with no wind.  There must be a current down here.

Temperatures rise from -23.3°C at 1800z yesterday to -15.9°C at 1200z today, and then fell back down to -22.7°C at 1800z.  With no wind, changes that large make me imagine a wide lead of open water opening up, black water in deep purple darkness, and warming the air before crunching shut.

With no pictures or even satellite shots, I can imagine all sorts of stuff.  Maybe there is no wind reported because the wind vane and anemometer toppled over into a crack.

NOVEMBER 8  —AFTERNOON DMI MAPS—

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

NOVEMBER 10  —DMI MORNING MAPS— 

DMI Nov 10 pressure mslp_latest.bigDMI Nov 10 temp_latest.big (1)

“Payat” is being absorbed by “Chin.”  This will disrupt polar flow and disrupt the import of cold into Canada.  In fact Canada may briefly export cold north out over the Pole.  That is good news for me, because we have enough heading down our way already.  The USA will get a big arctic high, and then will get a break, as the arctic “recharges.”

(I love that word “recharges,” which I first heard used by Joseph D’Aleo of WeatherBELL.  It does a great job of describing.)

Watch how the air cools over the Pole.  Already the isotherms have changed from green to green-blue, indicating a five degree drop in the air sitting there.

Fitz looks like it will stay relatively weak, as it moves past Norway and drifts towards the Pole.  Chin will prowl the coast of Alaska, heading east to the Canadian arctic coast.  The next big storm to effect our Forkasite, (and perhaps sink it,) is likely to be Blizson, which was a weakling as it passed north of USA.  It is likely to explode south of Greenland, and head up between Greenland and Iceland.

LOCAL VIEW   —another sneak—

Sorry I can’t write much.  I’m suffering a cold and have a lot of low IQ work to do, like shovel stables.  My hope is the dust in the stables holds bacteria that kills the common cold.

Blizson is off the map, with some isobars denting our upper right corner.  A clipper-like low has dipped down from Canada to the Great Lakes and now is curving up the St. Lawrence Seaway.  We are in a “warm sector” which hardly counts as a warm sector. You can see the fellow who drew the map didn’t even include a warm front.  Behind this storm, which I’ll dub “Sneak,” is a reinforcement of cold northwest winds.  Further upstream is further reinforcements, with the front just dipping down into Montana from Canada.  This is the major cold I’ve been expecting. (click map to enlarge.)

A sneak 2 satsfc (3)

It was interesting that a couple runs of the European computer model showed a storm blowing up off the east coast next Wednesday, with snow as far south as Atlanta, and that model run went “viral.”  There was chatter all over the place about “the storm.”  Now the storm doesn’t appear on any models, and the chatter is starting to shift towards scorning forecasts.

I had no  idea people in the blogasphere were so educated about computer model runs.

NOVEMBER 10  —DAILY DATA— 

Our faithful Forkasite continued south, from 79.203°N to 79.075°N, and west from 4.816°W to 4.900°W, for a day’s travel of 8.95 miles.  Temperatures remained low, sinking from -22.7°C at 1800z yesterday to -26.6°C at 0600z today, before bouncing up to -19.0°C for a hot noontime luncheon, and then falling back to -23.0°C at 1800z.

Winds were reported as calm until they abruptly jumped to 18 mph during the hot noontime luncheon, and then slacking back to 10 mph.  That sounds slightly suspicious to me.  Perhaps the anemometer was frozen, and then broke free.

Despite the cold temperatures, we are getting to a point where we are far enough south for accidents to occur.  Should our Forkasite abruptly go silent, I expect you all to be big about it.  No wailing and sobbing, please.

NOVEMBER 10 —AFTERNOON DMI MAPS—  

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

Chin is absorbing Payat as it drifts east along the north coast of Alaska. Fitz is weakening north of Scandinavia, perhaps giving eastern parts some north winds, but it looks likely Scandivavia will be raked by southwest winds in the near future, as storms pass to the north.  The weakling Blizson has grown to a 952 mb bully south of Greenland, and now is no longer forecast to head up to our Forkasite, but rather to take aim at the waters just northwest of Norway. Even though he will weaken as he gets there he is setting the trend, and the following storm, (which I suppose will be “Sneak,”) is forcast to be an absurdly deep monster as it passes north of Norway, with a pressure getting down near 930 mb.  I’ll have to see that to believe it.  It likely is one of those fantastic storms that only exist in the virtual world  of computer models.  However the fact it even appears likely means Sweden won’t get any east winds from Siberia in the near future.  A southwest flow seems likely.

The air over the pole  continued to cool, and already the DMI graph of temperatures up there is starting a dive:

DMI Nov 10 meanT_2013 (1)

NOVEMBER 11  —DMI MORNING MAPS—

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

The features that stand out this morning are 550 mb Blizson just west of Iceland, and the west winds closing down both entrance and exit to the Pole from western Siberia clear around to Canada.  For the time being, the door has slammed shut, in terms of air coming up through Bering Strait, or pouring down through Canada, and the primary entrance region will be the southwest flow under Blizson as he moves northeast up towards the north coast of Norway.

The air off the north coast of Alaska is relatively mild, but the very cold air that moved south there last week, combined with the west winds now, have filled up the entrance of the Northwest Passage with ice around a half foot thick.

There is a low inland and south of the central Siberian coast.  It is moving into  very cold, thirty-below air in Eastern Siberia.  We’ll have to watch to see if that low has the strength to use its east-side south-winds to budge the cold north up into the Arctic Sea, and the Snout of Igor reappears.  In the mean time all the air over the arctic will be home-growing its own cold.

The blob of air that moved south from the arctic last week is currently giving the west coast of Hudson Bay sub zero (sub -17.77 Celsius) north winds, and for the first time this year the Canadian ice-cover map is showing ice on the small bays and inlets of Hudson Bay’s west shore.

That air is headed down towards me.  I’d like to duck the cold by flying south, but I’m not a duck.

LOCAL VIEW   —HERE COMES THE COLD—

(click to enlarge)

A sneak 3 satsfc (3)

About the only good thing about having a cough and cold is that I get to meditate on maps.  Of course, I also am in a sour mood, and the maps can irritate the heck out of me at times.  If they aren’t irking me by not behaving the way I want them to, then the models are irking me by malfunctioning, or perhaps the manner the map was drawn irks me.

For example, the man or computer who drew the above map again wiped out the cold front that passed through here yesterday, only including a snippet of a cold front east of Florida, though that front obviously continues northeast and then north to the low “Sneak” just east of Nova Scotia.  Furthermore, it continues west as a stationary front and then northwest as a warm front where they have that orange dashed line from north Texas up to Nebraska. Or so think I.  I like my air masses in nice capsules made by frontal boundaries.

(Likely I should take some more aspirin.  I shouldn’t let these little things get to me.)

In any case, the air mass after that is the one that means business.  On his blog at WeatherBELL Joe D’Aleo pointed out the below zero air (Fahrenheit) is right down to the towns just above the Dakota-Canada border, this morning.  It has taken a sly trajectory from the Queen Elizabeth Islands straight south, skirting the warm waters of Hudson Bay by coming south to the west of it, and avoiding the Canadian arctic lakes, (though I suppose Lake Winnipeg is having an effect.)  So it is actually colder “down south” in the Dakotas than the arctic coast of Alaska and Canada, where west winds are bringing temperatures up around 20 to 25 (Fahrenheit) east.  Though these temperatures are “mild” they are still below the freezing point of salt water and will likely get colder, so I’m not expecting any break-up of the ice as occurred on the European side.  However I do expect this flow, south of “Chin” and north of the big high pressure bearing down on us here, to nip the cross polar flow for around three days, before the north wind on the back side of Chin resumes the flow with a vengeance.

I’ve been thinking about a sort of whip-lash that must be created when arctic winds pour south into Alaska, and then abruptly are sucked out, and then come roaring back again.  Into my mind’s eye come various images:  Water moving in and out of tidal pools at the beach;  waves made by small girls whipping their jump rope up and down when it lies slack on the playground turf….and then I think maybe I ought to take my temperature.

In any case, with a ridge developing in the west and a trough in the east, for a few days we again we will see the pattern we got stuck in, back in 1976-77.  What will be interesting to watch is whether or not it becomes more established, or whether the western ridge keeps coming east.

Also it will be interesting to watch “Sneak” as it moves away.  It was only a 1000 mb low in the above map, but already down to 993 mb last time I checked.  It is likely to bomb out big time.

NOVEMBER 11  —DAILY DATA— Past 79 degrees north latitude, southbound.

Our Forkasite continued south, from 79.075°N to 78.966°N, and began drifting back to the east, from  4.900°W to 4.788°W, due to light winds (5 mph) backing to the Northwest.  Movement was 7.71 miles. We have passed 79 degrees north latitude.

Temperatures remained steadily cold. We reached our 24-hour-period’s low of -25.2°C at midnight, and reached the day’s high of  -22.2°C at 0600z, and were at -22.5°C at 1800z.

The Navy drift maps show a great arc of ice, stretching from Severnya Zemyla, curving north of Frans Josef Land and  Svalbard, pouring down into Fram Strait, all moving at two thirds of a mile a hour, (which is fast for arctic ice.) While this does not include the major body of arctic ice, it is increasing the ice in Fram Strait a lot, and the ice now extends down past Scoresbysund (which has some new Inuit name I haven’t learned to spell) which is the part of Greenland poking east into Denmark Strait, northwest of Iceland.  To me it seems a remarkable increase of ice from early September, when it was below average.

NOVEMBER 11 —AFTERNOON DMI MAPS—

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

“Chin” is starting to fade slightly, cut off from Pacific moisture.  Watch the air north of Alaska get colder. Fitz has enough Altlantic moisture to survive, and will dance the Fujiwhara around the Pole with Chin, as his air cools as well.  The monster gale Blizson will cross north of Iceland and elgongate and weaken, bringing the next pocket of Atlantic warmth and moisture north to Norway.  Scandinavia will be the primary entrance region, and likely will be milder than normal, though this does not mean they will escape snow, especially in the north.  A long,curving fetch from Finland along the coast of Siberia to Alaska is the beginning of a new flow that will again make Canada an exit region.

A quick look at the UK Met map shows an interesting feature over Italy, making Mount Etna a strange mix of exploding red lava and swirling snow.  As this low fills in a faint reflection will head along the southern route across the steppes, a Chinthree to follow Chin and Chintwo (now in central Siberia.) But I think I want Etna in the name, so I’ll dubb it Chninthreeetna, but that’s too long, so I’ll shorten it to “Chet.”

A sneak 3 Etna 9975209

Blizson is still a 956 mb gale in this map, but occluded with much energy moving east as a zipper.  In the lower left Sneak is just sneaking into view, already deepening to 988 mb low from the 1000mb low it was this morning.

Dr. Ryan Maue’s version of the GFS map, available at WeatherBELL, is a better view of the North Atlantic: (Double click for full enlargement)

Chin 3 Nov 11 gfs_mslp_uv10m_natl_1

In this map, from six hours later, Blizson is stretched out from one side of the Atlantic to the other, with a long fetch of easterly gales to the north and a long fetch of westerly gales to the south.  The westerly gales won’t be all that warm, as the source region is the southern tip of Greenland, however Sneak is already showing signs of sneaking some warmth north, as it’s east-side south-winds dig further south.  Each storm that charges across the Atlantic towards Scandinavia will be different, as we remain in this pattern, and each will need to be judged on its own merits.

NOVEMBER 12  —DMI MORNING MAPS— The Question

The arctic storms have cleverly formed a question-mark, as they dance about the Pole.  “Chin” is approaching the Canadian arctic islands, with the ghost of Payat curving around the Pole and south to Fritz and the stem of the the question-mark is formed by the elongated Blizson stretching down to Iceland.  In a very general sense these lows form a spiral of winds entering the the Arctic Ocean north of Scadinavia, cooling and curling around the Pole while ingesting some additives from Siberia, and then pooling north of Canada, and perhaps bulging south as a new arctic high for the USA.

But what is the question?

The question is, “Is this just a transient autumnal pattern, as we move towards the winter’s pattern?  Or is it a sign of things to come this winter?”

Both Joe Bastardi and Joseph D’Aleo, over at WeatherBELL, have been pointing out past winters that had a set up similar to this one.  One important thing to notice is that the Pacific is not in either an extreme El Nino nor La Nina, both of which seem to generate energetic Pacific winds that cross the USA and blunt the arctic’s southward thrusts.  Also the warmth in the ENSO is away from Peru,  in something of an El Nino Modoki pattern. Mr. Bastardi also pointed out a warmth anomaly in the northeast pacific, while Mr. D’Aleo has pointed out interesting patterns involving solar cycles.  To skip all the intricate details, it boils down to a pattern like the one I’ve been talking about, that occurred during the winter of 1976-77.

While this would be very cold for the eastern USA, I think it tends to be more of a back-and-forth winter for western Europe.  A quick search didn’t turn up much, regarding that winter in Europe, except for the fact it was hard on the spruce plantations of Norway, due to warm-ups followed by freezes killing the tender tips of spruce branches.

EL NINO MODOKI 

Here is a very simplified chart of the four main ENSO patterns. (Click to enlarge.)

El Nino Modoki 461481a-f2.2

I think this is over-simplified, and likely the fellows who deeply study the ENSO would roll their eyes.  As we grow wiser there may turn out to be more variations, and in a few years the chart will have eight different ENSO states.  However it is a great improvement from the situation when I was a small boy, when there were basically zero states that anyone but Peruvian fishermen and a few wild-eyed meteorologists knew about.  I still remember the excitement that surrounded the emergence of the El Nino into public consciousness back in the 1960’s. For a while there was no talk of the La Nina, but eventually it also filtered into public awareness, though mostly the focus remained on the El Nino.  However I can recall being baffled by the fact an El Nino did not always have the same effect.

In my careless and haphazard way I had noted, though not a scientist and basically a bum, that some El Nino’s had given us snowy winters. (As a bum I had discovered a warm place to hide from winter cold was a public library.  I may have been a bum, but I was a very literate bum.)  Using a boyish logic, I figured if some weak El Ninos had given us a cold and snowy winter, a really big one would give us blizzards. FAIL.

The 1998 El Nino was an extreme event, with the above average temperatures piled up against the coast of Peru.  It lead to a mild winter across much of the USA, with Pacific air flooding coast to coast at times.  This was so different from other, less intence El Nino’s that it led not only bums like me, but genuine scientists to a more careful examination of the idea that some El Ninos were “the same, but different,” (and the Japanese word for that is “Modoki.”)

It turns out it makes a difference where the heat is centered.  (I can imagine some meteorologists smacking their foreheads and saying, “Duh!!!”)  If you center the heat several thousand miles west of Peru, it will create a different pattern than when the heat anomaly is right on the coast.

One aspect of this different pattern is the tendency for a ridge to be encouraged in the west of the USA.  Today’s 500 mb map has some of the qualities of a Modoki pattern. (This is Dr. Ryan Maue’s map from the WeatherBELL site. Click to enlarge, and click again to expand further.)

El Nino Modoki gfs_z500_sig_noram_1

Often these waves and ridges ripple their merry way around the planet, giving us our typical spells of sunny weather followed by spells of acclimate weather.  However what I look for is for the ridge and trough to get stuck in a certain position.  In some ways it is like a standing wave, but exactly how it happens is very intersting to watch.  For example, the GFS model shows that strong ridge on the west coast coming east, but dramatically weakening even as the ridge on the west coast reestablishes itself, giving us a 500 mb map in three days like this:

El Nino Modoki gfs_z500_sig_noram_13

In this map it can be seen that even though the ridge came east, it is so much weaker it will not generate as great a southwest flow, or as much of a warm spell. Meanwhile the next cold spell is already pouring down from Alaska, to the west.

In the heart of winter such a pattern gives you nasty cold snaps, and then a slightly warmer time where nothing even thaws.  This is what I yearned for, when young, but now dread.

LOCAL VIEW  —A DUSTING—

I awoke feeling hopeful that my cold wasn’t going to kill me after all, and pottered about getting coffee as as the blackness out the window gave way to grey.  It was my wife who first looked out, and muttered, “It’s snowing.”  I glanced out at the whirl, and immediately thought of things such as salting the front walk of our Childcare, and where the heck did I put the snow-shovel last April?  Also I clicked the weather radar on my computer:

Dusting rad_ne_640x480 (1)

The radar reassured me the cold front was pressing south with no bulges made by ripples on the front that might blow up into storms, and the snow would swiftly end with no more than a dusting.  Then I checked the map:

Dusting satsfc (3)

The map reassured me as well, as it shows no ripples on the passing front.  However the high pressure is building, now up to 1047 mb, and it looks very cold.  I looked north, wondering if “Chin” truly had cut the flow from Siberia, or whether the flow was going to be reestablished more swiftly than I expected.  To see this I need Ryan Maue’s superior WeatherBELL map of the same GFS data.  (While the above map shows isobars and clouds, Ryan’s map shows wind speed 10 meters up; (you can select other maps as well, that show other things.))  (Double click to fully enlarge.)

Dusting gfs_mslp_uv10m_noram_1

One reason I like this map is that it includes a larger area. You can see “Sneak,” heading off Labrador , now down to 984 mb, but more importantly sucking up much more southerly Atlantic warmth for Scandinavia and eventually the Pole, and our Forkasite.

However more important to me down in my neck of the woods is “Chin,” smack dab in the center of the top margin.  His west-side north winds are now pouring air into Alaska, and if you follow the 1014 mb isobar you’ll see that flow curves down to Hudson Bay and then down to New Hampshire, passing between my back door and the chicken coop.

Hmm. Next I’ll check Ryan’s temperature map, to see if the air is all that cold.  After all, Chin dragged some Pacific air up with him.  Maybe the air coming south isn’t that cold:

Dusting gfs_t2m_noram_1

(As always, click and then click again to fully enlarge.)  One thing I immediately notice is how the current cold high has warmed.  It held below zero air yesterday, but now the lowest I note is a ten degree reading in Iowa. (That is -12 Celsius.) So the land is still warming these highs as they come south.  In fact you can see how “warm” not only Hudson Bay is, but also Lake Winnepeg, Great Slave Lake, Lesser Slave Lake, and Great Bear Lake.  There is also some bare ground absorbing weak sunlight.  Once all the lakes freeze and the ground is snow covered, the arctic highs won’t be in such a hurry to warm, and can even cool, in the dark depths of December.

However I can look all the way up the pipeline to the Arctic Sea, and see no sub zero readings (Fahrenheit.)  (The sub-zero readings in Alaska are high up in mountains.) In fact it is colder in Iowa than on the north coast of Canada.

So perhaps we will get a bit of a break, after this current arctic shot passes through, but then I look out my window and see the dusting of snow isn’t melting, and temperatures are not rising.  Also I remind myself the snow was falling this morning when temperatures hadn’t fallen below freezing.  So I can’t use the excuse, “The weather will be better in a couple days” as an excuse to loaf, (though I confess it is one of my favorites.)

NOVEMBER 12   —DAILY DATA—  

Our Forkasite continues south towards its eventual doom, death, destruction and downright indignity. In fact it is getting hard to write this section of this post, because I’ve gotten rather fond of this chunk of ice.  It is a bit like a grandparent: You know they have to go but hope they hang around a bit longer.

In any case, we moved south from 78.966°N to 78.834°N, and east from 4.788°W to 4.710°W at 0900z, where-after we retrograded back to 4.723°W, because the light northwest winds veered to just a hair east of due north. Our total movement for the day was 9.2 miles, barely east of due south.  (These small distances may not seem like much, but they add up. Since we finally succeeded in crossing 84 degrees north latitude for the final time last September we have traveled over 350 miles south.)

Temperatures remained fiercely cold, staying stubbornly below minus-twenty despite the proximity of milder air.  We were at -22.5°C at 1800z yesterday and are at -22.2°C at 1800z today, in the interim achieving a low of -23.6°C at 2100z yesterday and a high of -20.7°C at noon today.

At these temperatures is is absurd to talk about melting.  Every bit of exposed water cracked open by stress forms a swift skim of ice, and the bergs themselves grow so cold they not only grow ice outwards at every edge but also grow ice down from their bottoms and become thicker.  The “volume” of the ice, (which some make a big deal about,) is most definitely growing, (in this specific time and place.)  However it is not slowing the southward progress of our Forkasite in the slightest. We are headed for warmer waters, and just as your favorite grandmother, (the one who bakes the best cookies,)  must some day kick the bucket, so our favorite Forkasite must someday dissolve.

When our Forkasite melts like a sandcastle before a rising tide, some will state it is a proof of Global Warming and a reason to institute bizarre taxes.  Therefore I hope for weather events as bizarre as those taxes.  Three spring to mind.  One is a historical example where the sea ice expanded to the north coast of Iceland, creating a sort of ice-jam and bringing the flow of ice through Fram Strait to a screaming halt.  The second was a huge discharge of ice through Fram Strait, which so filled the north Atlantic with icebergs that some were washing ashore on the Western beaches of Ireland like peculiar, white driftwood. (It would be very cool if our Forkasite was still reporting from a beach in Ireland.) And Third, most boring, but not least, is that there have been years that the flow of ice down the east coast of Greenland has been so thick it froze to the shore, even on occasion down to Greenland’s southern tip, and remained stuck there well into the next summer’s melt, and even, in more northern areas, remained stuck right through a summer’s melt and had to wait for the following summer to be freed.

In all three cases the main effect will be to make bizarre carbon taxes look utterly dunderheaded.  (They already are dunderheaded, but crafty salesmen can sell some fools a Brooklyn Bridge.)

In actual fact, weather will likely be more normal.  Our Forkasite will go to its ordinary demise, a bit later than usual, which is like a grandfather or grandmother going to their ordinary demise, at age ninety.  And, just as the passing of your grandparent is no reason to raise taxes, so is the passing of out Forkasite further south and later than normal a reason to raise taxes.

NOVEMBER 12  —AFTERNOON DMI MAPS— The question remains

DMI Nov 12B pressure mslp_latest.bigDMI Nov 12B temp_latest.big (1)

Looking at the map of isobars, one sees the question-mark persisting, and one must ask the question, “Is this a hint of a pattern we shall see endure during the winter?”

The southwest flow would be nice for Europe, which deserves a break after the nasty winters they have had to endure.  However the moistness of the flow might make the warmth produce deep snows in northern and eastern areas.

I’m unsure about Asia.  I lack experience. Merely guessing from the actions of “Chin,” the storms moving west across the Steppes would be minor and dry,  only exploding when they reached the Pacific, and Asia would have less snow but possibly very cold temperatures.

However the way the isobars now direct air straight from Siberia to Canada is much like 1976-77, and does not bode well for advocates of Global Warming in Washington DC. In January 1977 they had some mornings in the American capital that were close to forty degrees below normal.  Even if they attempt to be crafty, and forebear using the words “Global Warming” and switch to “Climate Change,”  the net result of all their reptilian slithering is likely to be an outraged public whipping a snowball into their snoots.

However I am just a grumpy old man, and my main concern is staying warm.  That was darn hard to do, even as a young man, and how I will do it as an old man I just don’t know.

The question-mark even shows in the isotherms of the DMI temperature map, however there is an appendage of cold back towards Siberia, as if the question-mark has a “Mohawk” haircut in a strong headwind. Those isotherms bounding blue-cold are indicative of the very cold temperatures the cross-polar-flow is once again threatening to drag from Siberia to Canada. However when you look at the hodgepodge of isotherms over Siberia it is hard to make sense in the way you can make sense of the nice, neat isotherms over Greenland.

Therefore let us once again resort to one of Ryan Maue’s amazing maps from WeatherBell, showing us both the cold over Greenland, at altitudes above 10,000 feet, and Siberia, at far lower altitudes: (Click twice for full enlargement.)

Cross Polar Nov 12 gfs_t2m_arctic_1

Greenland is at the top right and Siberia at the bottom left of this map, and at first Greenland looks far colder.  However if you drop minus-forty air from ten thousand feet to one thousand feet, can it match Siberia’s minus-twenty air?  No, because air warms as it sinks.  (I’ll let you do the calculations.)

Another thing to consider is that Siberia is gigantic, compared to Greenland.  What you want, if you want a nice, warm winter, is for the snows to be late falling on Siberia.  Then, at least, Greenland has an advantage of being snow-covered while Siberia is brown.  However this year the snows fell early on Siberia, and they have expanded.  Now consider, if you will, the vast area of white Siberia has, compared to the somewhat small area of Greenland, on the snow-cover map below:

Cross Polar Nov 12 ims2013316

Currently Siberia is a short-term icecap.  It generates cold the same way long-term icecaps such as Greenland do.  Greenland can get all haughty and say, “I have been here hundreds of thousands of years, and you will be gone next July,” but it doesn’t change the “Now.”  And, without sitting cross-legged and chanting, “Aummm,” I can tell you the “Now” is that Siberia is four times the size of Greenland, and far more worth my attention.

(I digress, but you have to be careful with how maps warp areas on the edges.  Many maps make high latitudes appear bigger than they are, so that Greenland looks larger than South America.  You should always check the actual areas, in terms of square miles. Unfortunately an Alarmist neglected to do this, and produced a comparison of Greenland and Africa which suggested they were the same size, in their zeal to stress the hugeness of Greenland’s icecap and the dangers of having it melt.  The above map errs in the opposite direction, making Africa appear huge and Greenland appear piddly.  If I was in a tit-for-tat mood, I could use the above map to produce a comparison showing Greenland was the size of Sudan, and debate Alarmists with that.  But that would be stupid. It is better to always check the actual square miles you are dealing with.

If you bother do that, I think you’ll see Siberia is enormous.  It may lack a voting majority, but it has a meteorological majority.  The last thing I want to see is that huge, cold-generation-monster Igor looking my way.

Best would be if he discharged all his cold southeast into the Pacific, generating enormous gales, but hurting few.

Best for me, but not for my brothers, would be if Igor discharged his cold east into Scandinavia and Western Europe, or south into China. However right now Igor seems to be looking across the Pole, right at me.

The silver lining is: At least this is good for my brothers.

NOVEMBER 13  —DMI MORNING MAPS— The question remains

DMI Nov 13 pressure mslp_latest.bigDMI Nov 13 temp_latest.big (1)

Despite the influx of Atlantic mildness and moisture northeast over Scandinavia and along the Siberian coast, the Pole as a whole continues to get colder. The storm “Sneak” is just appearing at seven o’clock in the lower left, as a spot punctuating our question mark.  Computer models continue to see Sneak tracking up north of Norway, but no longer turn him into a enormous 930 mb gale up there, but rather see a more minor 984 mb low.  The more interesting feature to watch will be the southwest flow beneath Sneak, associated with high pressure both in Sneak’s warm sector and also behind Sneak.  Guess we should take a quick peak at the UK Met map:  (click to enlarge)

Sneak Nov 13 10008280

The biggest difference I can see between Sneak and Blizson (who is up above Norway, where Sneak is heading,) is that Blizson’s “warm sector” held air from south of Greenland, while Sneak has brought warmer air up from warmer waters.  I wonder if they notice any difference up in Scotland.

It continues to look like the building cold will exit south over Canada.  My main hope is that it thrusts southwest into the Pacific, or thrusts southeast over Hudson Bay and into the Atlantic over Newfoundland, rather than heading straight south for the USA.

LOCAL VIEW   — A TASTE OF WINTER—

(CLICK TO ENLARGE)

A TASTE satsfc (3)

I am going to pretend I know nothing of the arctic as I look at this map.  I’m just a boy of twelve, back in 1965, hungrily scanning the map for signs of winter, of snow storms, of something that would cancel school and free me to roam the outdoors.

The most obvious feature is the huge high pressure plowing all the way down to Oklahoma,  with its arctic front all the way down to the Gulf of Mexico.  My eyes would implore the Gulf to brew up a storm and fling it up the cold front as a nor’easter, and I’d urge the front to slow down, so that storm wouldn’t run out to sea.  I was ever hopeful for calamity.  However perhaps I’d be in a bitter mood, with hope punctured by some boyhood trauma, and I’d face the reality: No storm was brewing, and the front was sliding far out to sea.

Next I’d look north for “clippers,” or even mere impulses swung south from a low parked up in Newfoundland.  I’d see slight dents in isobars, (better marked on modern maps, as the orange-dashed line swinging down across the St Lawrence Valley, and the other one moving from Lake Superior to Lake Huron,) as straws my hope could cling to.  I’d beg the impulses to suck up moisture from the Great Lakes, develop tiny warm fronts and cold fronts, and then to impossibly stall just south of Cape Cod, and explode into giant storms.  Anything! Anything to get me out of Algebra class!

Of course I was setting myself up for heart break, for 99% of the time the storms I longed for didn’t develop. The silver lining was that I became aware of other patterns that did develop, and that sunny days were not all that bad, and that Algebra could be endured.

One boyish rule I had was that a big surge of cold weather was often followed by a surge of warmer weather.  A cold wave was like a wave rushing up onto a beach, and the further the wave came up the beach the bigger the undertow was, going back the other way.  If you look at the above map, you can already see a surge of west winds developing, that will rush east over the top of the arctic high as it warms and weakens.

As a boy I’d urge the cold weather to  stand up the the warmth invading from the Pacific.  I was starved for skating, sledding, ice-fishing, and all the joys of winter.  I would have frowned if anyone stated I was like a cheerleader in pompoms, rah-rah-ing for the cold, but I practically was that.  Deep gloom would descend on my soul when my side lost and the warmth won, and west winds came rushing through.

However I discovered, at some point, that if I climbed a tall hemlock atop a hill in such a wind,  and clung to the top as it swayed, and gazed into the wind, I could pretend I was up the masts of a clipper ship, sailing into the golden west, and leaving Algebra far, far behind.

This sport was so cool that soon I converted other boys to clinging to the tops of hemlocks with me, rather than doing homework right after school. I had decided warm west winds were not so bad after all, as neighborhood mothers concluded I might not be a good influence.

I also unconsciously came to expect that, a few days after cold northwest gales, there would milder southwest gales.  However that was one thing that made the winter of 1976-77 so unique.  The high pressure cells came rolling down from Alaska one after another, and the winds remained fairly steadily to the north side of west.

Looking at the above map, I see no immediate reinforcements to the huge cell that has come swooping down upon us, and therefore expect a break before the next arctic high gets organized.  I can see that development without knowing that “Chin” interrupted the cross-polar flow by rolling in across the Bering Strait and down the arctic north-coast of Alaska.

NOVEMBER 13  —DAILY DATA— 

Our Forkasite moved south from 78.834°N to 78.757°N, and east 4.723°W to 4.690°W, for a movement of 5.36 miles in the past 24 hours.  The slow-down in our southward progress is likely due to light winds, and also the fact the winds have seemingly backed all the way around to a little south of west.  This is the first wind with a southerly componant we’ve seen in a while, and may explain the uptick in temperatures in the final 1800z reading. Temperatures, which began at -22.2°C at 1800z yesterday, were still at the day’s low of -24.0°C at noon today, but then rose to -19.7°C by 1800z.

The shifting light winds are due to a very weak ridge of high pressure between the departing Blizson and the nearing Sneak.

NOVEMBER 13  —AFTERNOON DMI MAPS—

DMI Nov 13B pressure mslp_latest.bigDMI Nov 13B temp_latest.big (1)

Had to go to a class tonight and am too tired to analyse maps.  Note new low up in Bering Strait. Will this one sever cross polar flow like last one did?

NOVEMBER 14  —DMI MORNING MAPS—

DMI Nov 14 pressure mslp_latest.bigDMI Nov 14 temp_latest.big (1)

Our polar lows are running out of gas, as the warm air that fuels them is exhausted and becomes cold.  Chin is much weaker, and I think a dim memory of Payat is just north of the New Siberian Islands. Fitz has revived a little North of Severnya Zemyla, and Blizson is north of Finland.  All four will weaken and drift back across the Pole towards Canada, as Sneak approaches, bringing a full tank of gas, and also a new storm in his wake, which I will dub “Combo” because it is made of a weak low that came across cental Canada, and also a piece of Chin that slide down through the Queen Elizabeth Islands and to the west of Baffin Island.

(I suppose you could call these weak storms Chinson and Sneakson, but one brought minus-twenty air south as the other brought Atlantic moisture and mildness up, and they created an abrupt storm when they combined, so I’m calling them Combo)

Combo will attempt to squirt around the southern tip of Greenland and pursue Sneak, eventually combining with Sneak into a bigger Combo.  Models now have a big, sub-940 mb storm north of Norway, just southeast of Svalbard, again, by tomorrow night.  It’s funny how the models had that storm there a week ago, but then vanished it a couple of days ago, but now have it back.

The low coming through Bering Strait I’ll dub Chintoo, and it will cut the cross polar flow briefly before that flow really gets going next week.  So I’d saw that down here we’ll see a break in the cold, another cold shot, another break, and then a more serious and lasting cold blast.

Our Forkasite will get some calm and perhaps even some south wind, before Combo blasts it with north winds.

LOCAL VIEW   —WEST WINDS—

It was 17, (-8 Celsius,) yesterday morning, and temperatures hovered around freezing all day as the arctic high crested over us, but as night fell very high clouds made the bright moon milky, and though temperatures dropped to 24, (-4 Celsius,) by bedtime, when I awoke this morning they had risen back to freezing, and the winds were southwest.  So the huge high packed a single punch, and now retires,  Temperatures are up to 45, (+7 Celsius,) and it is sunny, with the winds west and light. So I’ve got to stay outside while the good weather lasts, but thought I’d quickly insert yesterday evenings and this mornings maps, to show how swiftly a bitter cold blast can turn to a westerly blessing.

A TASTE 2 satsfc (3)A TASTE 3 satsfc (3)

NOVEMBER 14  —DAILY DATA—  

We moved south from 78.757°N to 78.707°N, and east from 4.690°W to 4.648°W, for a total movement of 3.52 miles.  Winds were light and variable, mostly from the west, and the pressure was just starting to fall.  Temperatures hit their high of -17.9°C at 2100z yesterday, but had fallen to -20.8°C by midnight, hit their low of -24.1°C at 0900z today, and had only risen back to -23.7°C by 1800z.

With temperatures so low and motion only a tenth of what it was the last gale, one might be tempted to imagine everything is being frozen to a solid block of ice, however I think the lack of movement is largely due to the light winds, and the fact the wind backed slightly south of west at times.

It will be interesting to see what happens if “Sneak-Combo” hits our Forkasite with a gale.

NOVEMBER 14  —AFTERNOON DMI MAPS—

DMI Nov 14B pressure mslp_latest.bigDMI Nov 14B temp_latest.big (1)

Heading off to a Bible Study, and hopefully will return spiritually enlightened, for I’m not feeling particularly spiritual at the moment.  I have a toothache.  Few things make me quite as un-saintly as a good old-fashioned toothache.

Interesting how “Combo” is like a log split in two by the blade of Greenland.  It also looks a little like a lot of the arctic air moving into northern Canada is heading east rather than south. Hope to comment more later.

NOVEMBER 15  —DMI MORNING MAPS—

DMI Nov 15 pressure mslp_latest.bigDMI Nov 15 temp_latest.big (1)

Although the east half of Combo is pursuing Sneak, and seems intent on repeating the old pattern, the west half is brewing up some new and intersting pattern over Baffin bay and northeast Canada.  The cross-polar flow is steered east in northern Canada Building a reservoir of cold which is starting the freeze of Hudson Bay.

Cold, west-Siberian air can be seen moving off shore, chilling the coastal parts of the Laptev and Kara seas. Moving up under Sneak is the closest thing you’ll see to a summery Azores high, in November.  It is getting dark in England, but the UK Met map makes it look like it will be a relatively warm dark, for a while.  I wonder if it will get as far north as Sweden, or even the Arctic sea.

UK Met Nov 15 FSXX00T_00

LOCAL VIEW   —A MILD WEST WIND’S SUNSET—

With the pattern seemingly in transition, I figure it may be time to end this post, which is getting unwieldy, and start another.  It seems good to end on a high note, with a warm west wind. (Click to enlarge.)

A sunset satsfc (3)

This map only hints at the repressed cold penned up north of Hudson Bay, as the high which once was so cold, arctic and bitter rolls off our east coast and shows a kinder side.

Last night there was a spectacular sunset which, due to a toothache, I wasn’t really seeing.  It was one of those sunsets that flares up after the sun dips below the horizon, where it seems to get brighter even as you expect it to get darker.  One member of our staff annoyed me slightly by taking all the kids the wrong direction just moments before a group of parents usually show up.  She apparently sensed the sunset was going to be a good one, and felt the kids shouldn’t miss it, even if it meant the parents had to wait a bit.  I had gobbled some aspirin, but it hadn’t kicked in yet, so I felt like spitting snakes at the back of my employee, as she vanished through the distant trees, for I was the one left behind and I was the one who was going to have to deal with the parents.

The parents actually didn’t mind walking out with me to get the kids, who we could hear shouting and laughing in the distance.  We walked through a mild evening, through the black silhouettes of a grove of pines towards a blazing crimson sky, to where the woods ended and a field opened out towards the flood control reservoir dam, and the sky was open, huge and spectacular.  The aspirin must have kicked in, for I forgot my toothache, and watched the daily mother-and-child-reunion occur in scenery more beautiful than even Hollywood could dream up. To the west the pumpkin cirrus spread out like two giant wings of an angel, and in the middle was a crimson face with a headdress of ruby and purple feathers, topped by a streaming halo of stretching sunbeams of gold.  Watching the children play, or join up with their parents, who seemed in no hurry to go home, simply made me grin, and I decided I wasn’t so mad at my employee after  all. Then I felt the mild wind, and thought about the angel I was looking at, seeming to remember seeing the same thing many years ago, when a boy.

Not as big as God, but huge and standing spreading scarlet wings of warmth o’er the west, an old friend of childhood’s understanding smiled east at me, making sunset blessed.

Angels never age as I’ve slowly aged. A warm west wind simply never gets old. A prisoner to time, I have lived caged, longing through bars at landscapes that aren’t cold, aren’t cruel, aren’t never-ending discipline, but instead are how life’s suppose to be, where the gift’s given: Not something we win, caught by our clutching, clinging cruelty.

The angel shines with God’s will: The snapped fetter. (A life without night sure would be better.)

There.  I figured I’d end with one of my cryptic hidden-sonnets, just to keep onlookers mystified.

These observations on arctic sea ice will continue at https://sunriseswansong.wordpress.com/2013/11/16/arctic-sea-ice-recovery-the-darkest-sixth/