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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4 thoughts on “ARCTIC SEA-ICE RECOVERY; THANKSGIVING AND STORMS

  1. Thank you Caleb for your ongoing work. Excellent Blog by the way, I am living in Hawaii and I have company in town from Northern California. I keep telling him how bad the early winter weather has been in all kinds of places as we sit on a picnic table nearby the beach. He keep reminding me that it doesn’t affect me. And while it the mainland weather doesn’t affect me too much, I do have family and friends who are very affected by the early cold outbreak. Now technically when there is a wide outbreak of colder than normal temperatures in the Arctic along with a good deal of the Northern Hemisphere, from what I read you would have a balancing effect in the tropics of hotter than normal temperatures, However if that is going on I have not felt it, I think winter (the slight temperature changes that we do get over here) has come a little early to Hawaii as well. We had our coats and long pants on tonight at sea level largely due to wind chill but it was only about 75 degrees under clear skies, not that warm for the 24th of November.

    • It’s always nice to hear from Hawaii! Just thinking about seventy degrees warms me.

      When your buddy says cold weather doesn’t effect Hawaii, you could always remind him Hawaii needs food imports. But at least you have enough pineapple to get by. Here in New Hampshire we only have pines. The inner bark of pines is a famine food, but I wouldn’t want to have to subsist on it. That’s why I go on about keeping our little farms going, even though they aren’t all that profitable. Cut New Hampshire off from food imports and we’d be in big trouble very quickly. I imagine the same is true for Hawaii.

      You are correct that when it is cold in one part of the hemisphere it is usually balanced by warmth elsewhere. Often it is a few degrees warmer up by the North Pole on winters that are especially cold further south. All the cold is exported. That is why a “zonal” jet stream, that just circles the pole, often makes it warmer down here in New Hampshire. All the cold stays locked up at the Pole. However things are very different when there is a “meridianal” flow, with the jet looping far to the south and then looping back up. It is small consolation that it is a few degrees warmer at the Pole when it is zero in New York City, and food gets frosted in Florida.

      Thanks for commenting, and comment again. I like imagining palm trees.

  2. Caleb: My guess is the Greenland disappearing low mystery is a variation of what occurs in winter storm development along the U.S. east coast. The weather service refers to them as MillerType A and B. Type B describes what occurs as a surface low moves east or northeast through the Tennessee/Ohio Valleys with cold air dammed along the east coast. It’s been way too long since I learned the actual dynamics, however the energy associated with the low transports over the elevated Appalachians as the initial low slows down, and it initiates a new low off the eastern seaboard where the thermal contrast is at a maximum. The low does not seem to traverse the Appalachians but is “beamed” Star Trek style from the western side to the eastern side. The new low is generally responsible for the heavy snows along the east coast as it continues developing and moving northeastward. Although Greenland is a much higher barrier to storm movement, perhaps the same dynamics occurs, but this is just a guess on my part.

    • Thanks! That is a wonderful explanation, especially the “beamed” as in Star Trek part. However I think the sheer height of Greenland causes other oddities I don’t claim to understand in the slightest. For example, the current low seems to being chewed up and spat out on the east coast of Greenland as bits and pieces. (Sounds like a particularly gory episode of Star Trek.)

      So I just watch and wonder. There is a power in just observing, observing, observing.

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