This is a continuation of a series of posts, the last of which was,

These posts began last June, describing the view seen by the “North Pole Camera,” appreciating the beauty of the scene and comparing it with what I had seen through the camera during earlier summers.  While I am no authority on sea ice, I had been enjoying the view for many years, and knew more than many people about how the ice thaws and refreezes, and how the ice in the Arctic Sea moves about.  Most especially I was able to recognize when the newspapers were writing balderdash concerning the “North Pole Melting Away.”

I had become aware over a decade earlier that much of the fret about Global Warming had very weak scientific foundations, largely due to my life-long interest in the Viking colonies of Greenland,  and the absurdly unscientific Alarmist act of attempting to rewrite the history of Viking times in a manner that would “erase the Medieval Warm Period.” This attempt was so unlike science, and so much like a political strategy, that I was alerted before many friends that something odd was going on.

Over the next decade I became very involved as a “Skeptic” in rebutting the “Alarmist” arguments, but by last summer was growing sick of it all. Originally the arguments involved lots of interesting science, and I was learning through debate, however things had degenerated into mere name-calling, and there was no longer much learning involved. I just wanted to get away from it all, and to continue my learning someplace quiet.  One place I knew about was the North Pole Camera’s View.

Of course, the ice at the North Pole is a hot Alarmist topic, due to their idea that the loss of ice will reduce “albedo” and the planet will overheat without the ice reflecting sunlight away.  This idea is debatable, because by the time the ice reaches its minimum the sun is down near the horizon at the Pole, and open water may actually lose more heat than it absorbs. However I’d already been through all the arguments and didn’t want to debate. If you look back to June in these posts I think you’ll notice my writing gets a bit sugary, as I was walking on eggs while bending over backwards to avoid the name-calling debates.  I figured I might even be able to set a good example of civil procedure.

As usual, the temperatures started to nudge above freezing due to the 24-hour-a-day sunshine, and as usual melt-water pools started to form. A lovely one formed right in front of Camera Number Two, and I was commenting on it, stating how such pools usually drained away down through the ice, and we should watch for that, when suddenly the media got involved, stating the melt-water pool was a sign the Pole was overheating and naming the pool “Lake North Pole” and so forth and so on.  My obscure site, which had been getting something like ten views a day, was suddenly getting hundreds.

When the pool drained away like I said it would, and the North Pole did not become ice free, (and in fact was colder than normal with its ice-cover larger than the summer before,) it made the media look stupid and made me look like I knew what I was talking about.  I liked the sensation, but have to be frank and state I wasn’t and am not an authority.  I am merely a witness and an observer.  I state what I see, and, because that is the truth, I may at times appear wiser than the media, which sadly strays from truth to sensationalism and/or propaganda at times.  However that does not mean I am a college professor and exceptionally educated about arctic ice.  Rather it means the media is exceptionally stupid and is failing to observe and properly report what it sees.

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. “Our” berg had drifted hundreds of miles, and even with the camera removed had quite an array of equipment deployed on it, placed by more than a single college or government department, as putting these arrays in place is both dangerous and expensive, and therefore resources are pooled.   Our berg happened to have two GPS’s, which proved handy when our berg apparently split in two.  Our Forkasite, (which was short for “Former Camera Site,”) then became two sites, at times drifting as much as seventy miles apart (and as much as fifty miles a day.)  I dubbed the first site “Forkuoy” (for I assumed it was a buoy,) and the second site “Forkarma,” (for it reported the Army data.)  Unfortunately the Forkouy has started to produce garbled data, and may now be kaput, however the Army Forkarma is still drifting south, giving us an inkling of what we can’t see in the midwinter darkness. We can have no idea whether its berg will crumble, and drop the still-functioning GPS and thermometer 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’ll give the Forkarma reports when they become available, and also 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 sat 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.

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.


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

Too busy to comment. Hope to comment this evening.


Today’s report places us at 74.58 N, 11.75 W, which is 8.21 miles wsw of where we reported from last, yesterday.

The westward motion is good, I think.  It enhances our chances of survival if we move towards the Greenland coast, where the ice is thicker.  Unless we get crushed by a huge ice jam, of course.


DMI Dec 2B pressure mslp_latest.bigDMI Dec 2B temp_latest.big (1)

It is amazing to me how quickly the cross-polar-flow flipped from moving from the Bering Strait to Norway all the way around to moving from Siberia to Canada.  Just compare today’s isobar map with map from 48 hours ago.  (Older map to right.)

DMI Dec 2B pressure mslp_latest.bigDMI Dec 1 pressure mslp_latest.big

This complete ninety degree swing in the flow was accomplished by the passage of a weak low I dubbed “Chet” from east Siberia to the Queen Elizabeth Islands of Canada.  This low was barely more than a trough or an appendage sticking out from the larger low I called “Baffeast” moving east across Barents Sea.

The former flow brought air from the north to Norway, and also repressed the passage of lows across the Atlantic to the south.  As soon as that north flow was cut off, the low “Morfisthird” was able to take a more northern route and bring up a milder warm sector to Norway from the south, as it cut west of Iceland and passed to Iceland’s north.

The fact a little low like Chet can have such a big effect makes me aware we are looking at a relatively small area of our planet.  The circle of the DMI maps is the sixty degrees latitude line, only a third of the way to the equator and only half as long as the equator. The area within represents a small percentage of the total area of the northern hemisphere.  (You do the math for me.) However is a sort of fulcrum, a small thing that can have big effects.

As Norway abruptly gets warmer, I imagine Canada will abruptly get colder.  A sort of whiplash has occurred, for yesterday the air was being drawn out of northern Canada towards Norway, but today the air is being rammed south into Canada.  That air may at first include some relatively mild (for the arctic) air pulled in from the Pacific through Bering Strait by Chet, but the the temperature map’s isotherm shows the “Snout of Igor” on Chet’s heels, as extremely cold air crosses the Pole.

We experience a somewhat similar whiplash in more southern lands with the passage of a low pressure, as the warm sector brings us south winds that are followed by an abrupt shift to north winds with the passage of the trailing cold front. However that whiplash involves a storm moving along a storm track. The polar whiplash we are observing may move the storm track itself.

It will be very interesting to watch what happens over North America over the next few days.  If the jet stream and storm tracks plunge south, and cold air invades due to the cross polar flow, it will be time to sit back and do some serious musing, pondering whether the Pole influenced the jet stream, or whether the Pole was merely influenced by the jet stream.  (Likely a the-chicken-or-the-egg scenario.)


A second Army report came in, placing our berg at 74.48 N, 11.92 W, which is 7.62 miles southwest of where it was earlier today. Temperatures are a little over a degree colder, at -16.74 C.

To the north, at our “companion buoy,” ( Buoy 2013B: ) temperatures have risen nearly three degrees, but still are a very cold -27.68 C.

With our noble Forkuoy so sadly missing-in-action, I’m paying more attention to our companion buoy, who I will henceforth refer to as “CB.” It is located at 77.36 N, 9.16 W, or 205 miles north-north-east of our Forkarma.  I calculate it has moved 2.41 miles in the time our Forkarma has moved 7.62 miles, which makes me wonder if the cold is making the ice up there stiffer and harder to budge, even though it is further east.

A bit more calculating tells me that in the past four Army reports CB has moved 6.12 miles, and during that same period our Forkarma has moved 19.9 miles.  The Forkarma has extended his lead by over 13 miles.  Does that mean a gap of 13 miles of open water has appeared between the two, and how long would it take that water to freeze over with new “baby ice?”  Or does it mean that the wind that has pushed both site west has crammed a lot of ice between the two of them?  What the heck is going on up in that darkness, up there in Fram Strait?

I noticed something unusual, glancing over the ice-extent -maps. One of the three maps actually shows the ice extending from Greenland all the way to Iceland, yesterday. Likely it was only a sea dotted with ice, 25% extent, and likely the winds, that are pushing the ice west, pushed the ice away from Iceland today. However I figured it was worth mentioning, because I have never seen any map show such a thing before, and it seems noteworthy because it isn’t even winter yet.

It is very rare, but it has happened that the ice jams up between Iceland and Greenland, and one could (theoretically) even walk from Iceland to Greenland. If we got a couple more good gales, ripping up ice in the Barents Sea, and hurling it west north of Svalbard, and then flushing it all down through Fram Strait, we might see such a rare event this winter.  It is unlikely, but I figured I’d share the map with you:  (It may take a while to download, and double-clicking gives you an over-large enlargement.)

Extent Dec 2 N_bm_extent_hires


The change in the cross-polar-flow not only seems to be allowing Morfisthird to take a more northern route and bring a warm sector up towards Scandinavia, but also allowing Morfisthird’s cold front to kick the high-pressure stalled west of Ireland across the United Kingdom and on into Europe.  I wish I could fly over to see if the weather is as nice as it looks. But notice that a new high-pressure is sliding up from the southwest to replace the one that was so hard to budge.  Also notice that an occlusion is folded back from Morfisthird to the coast of Greenland.  Some models are showing it sitting there, stewing and brewing and becoming enough of a low to steer a later low, zipping across from North America, south into Southern Norway by Thursday.

Also notice the “Etna Low” sitting down there over Mount Etna.  What gives with that thing?  Will it be there all winter? (Click to enlarge)

UK Met Dec 2 10444059

LOCAL VIEW   —A gray Monday—

No granddaughter yet, so I ‘ve been functioning in a sort of mechanical manner. One of the good things about getting older is that you know it is better to be mechanical.  When I was a young poet I could be paralyzed by things not being quite right.  It was important, back then, to sit about and anguish.  Then I learned that bill collectors don’t care a hoot about my anguish.  They don’t want great poems; they want money.  I attempted to explain to them that they were missing something important, but they didn’t want to listen. So, with a deep sigh of resignation, I became a pragmatic old man, who tends to worldly responsibilities in a mechanical manner, whist writing great poems in the back of his mind.

The map already shows the end to our pause from arctic attacks in the upper left of the map, where a 1056 mb high pressure pokes down from the Yukon.  Already the shift in the cross-polar-flow is showing, but it will take a few days to get down here.  Down here we are amidst a grey torpor, a charcoal lassitude of light drizzle and faint wind. The low pressure systems are feeble and the fronts are flaccid.  The limp storms off shore are just strong enough to extend their cloud shields inland, so that we see occasional brightening from the west and darkening from the east, and the jets descending towards Manchester Airport to our east are below the clouds to our west but vanish into the lowering overcast to our east. Occasionally a cold sprinkle falls, perhaps with a few bits of sleet, but mostly it is just above freezing. (In April the exact same situation would give us a surprise four inches of snow, because the ocean would be a few degrees colder.)

An Alberta Clipper has trundled east to upper NY State like a man half asleep, as a secondary low has brewed from near nothingness off Cape Hatteras.  Ordinarily such a combination of northern branch and southern branch would breed wild excitement, and perhaps a young weather-watcher is eyeing the situation with apt attention, but I have my doubts about any sort of birthing, tonight.

That high pressure up in the Yukon is going to come pressing south, revitalizing the sluggish pattern and creating what is known as a “pressing” pattern.  There will be no circular gales, but rather a flat front attempting to push against a rally of summer to the far southeast.  Florida will be summery, but I doubt the warmth will make it this far north.  Rather the lackadaisical front over us now will get stiffer and stronger, and to the west will push all the way south to the Rio Grande between Texas and Mexico.  Then little ripple after little ripple will come north along this front, which will likely sag to our south, and we’ll be on the north and perhaps snowy side, as ripple after ripple passes by to our south.  I expect our brown landscape to turn white, and stay white until April.

Therefore I am going to enjoy this landscape of brown, for the final few days, though it is dreary. In the same way my daughter should try to enjoy these final dreary days of pregnancy, for they are her final days of daughter-free existence.

Having a kid is akin to a blizzard. Things you didn’t even know were hard to do become major accomplishments and treasured moments.  Southern people have no clue what winter is like until they experience one themselves, and daughters have no idea what fathers go through until they themselves have daughters.

Actually, come to think of it, this could be interesting.  (Click to enlarge)

Another pause 3 satsfc (3)


DMI Dec 3 pressure mslp_latest.bigDMI Dec 3 temp_latest.big (1)\

Between the big high pressure in Alaska and weak Chet in the Queen Elizabeth Islands quite a a lot of Arctic air is being pumped across the pole and south into North America, but it looks like Europe’s break will not last, as the north flow behind Morfistthind will replace the south flow in front of it.

Morfisthird seems to be headed for Barents Sea, which is a sort of parking lot for storms these days.  The north flow behind it will repress the following storms south, and it looks like Scandinavia will be soon be back on the cold side of the storm track.  Plenty of snow for Christmas up there, it appears.


Another pause 4 satsfc (3)

You can see that big snout of high pressure poking down from Alaska and the Yukon, bringing an arctic flow down its east side. At first the air will have a bit of modified Pacific air that leaked north through the Bering Strait mixed in, but that air will continue to be modified by home-grown cooling as it comes south over snows, as well as be mixed with some cold already in place, and it will be followed by colder cold exported from Siberia.  The flabby front draped over the northern states of the USA is already flinching slightly south, but for the most part the USA looks unsuspecting, like a lamb that sees no lion.

The weak low just off the east coast looks like it is slipping out to sea, and we are on the verge of escaping its cloud shield.  I really shouldn’t complain, for I once spent a winter up in northern Scotland and know what truly short days are like, and that we get plenty of daylight compared to Europe, especially northern Europe.  However it is amazing how little cloud-cover it takes to make life seem incredibly gloomy.  The late sunrise is that much later, and the early sunset comes that much faster, and the time in the middle is dank, drizzly and dank, and even though both adults and small children seem to have an instinctive response of attempting to avoid depression and despair by becoming manic with business, psyches seem invaded by creeping shadows.  People purchase bright flowers and set up Christmas Lights in an attempt to chase the gloom away,  but nothing works as well as a simple beam of sunlight.

One low beam of sunlight alters the world. The grey fog becomes silver mist; each twig holds a spark of dew; the old dog that curled by the warming stove now dances a jig by the door; through a white overhead haze blue-eyed sky smiles down like a young mother.  After too many charcoal smeared days (lacking even a shadow) sought to smother our spirits, even a shadow’s a glad thing, stretching cat-like across jewel-frosted grass.

One low beam makes winter birds sing. One Low beam makes the sadness pass, and if that’s all takes to end sorrow’s dream, Oh Lord, can you send us one low beam?


The latest report places our site at 74.37 N, 12.03 W,  which is 7.9 miles southwest from where it last reported from yesterday.  Temperatures had fallen to -20.12 C.

Temperature at CB to north has risen to -25.27 C.

It’s mighty cold on the west side of Fram Strait, that’s for sure.


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

“Morfisthird” looks to be a potent little gale north of Norway now, ripping away at any “baby ice” trying to form north of there.  The high pressure over Canada lookd red and warm, but cold air sinks, and sinking air presses down, and pressing down makes high pressure.  That’s a weight of cold up there.


I’m turning in early to catch up on some sleep, but a quick look at the local map shows that storm off the coast did bomb out a bit, but only after it passed us.  Nova Scotia is getting the attention, and then the next stop is Greenland, I suppose.

To our west all fronts are sagging back as the arctic starts to press. Notice that front on the Pacific coast is actually backed west out to sea.

Another pause 5 satsfc (3)


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

Morfisthird is parking over Barents Sea, sweeping its cold front over Scandinavia, but leaving a zipped-up occulsion in its wake all the way back past Iceland to the coast of Greenland.  This will persist, fueling off the constast between cold air pouring down behind Morfisthird, and form a weak low or two, (Which I’ll dub “Morfistclue,” for Morfist-occlusion, and perhaps “Morfistcluson,” if a second follows the first.) These lows will likely be weak, and their main effect will be to put a crimp in the warmfront of the low coming up from the east coast of the USA through the Maritimes, forming a low on the warm front which, as it has plenty of warm, juicy “gasoline,” will likely zip across the Atlantic as the next gale, crashing through southern Norway and Sweden Friday morning, kept on a more southerly track by the flow still pressing south behind Morefisthird.

The low that gave us gloom, drizzle and not much else as it passed, but has grown stronger after it passed, will be dubbed “Tip” because it tiptoed by,  and the one that forms on Tip’s warmfront and zips across the Atlantic will be “Tipzip.” It is interesting how swiftly these zippers can run along a warmfront. Tipzip is in Sweden on Friday morning, as Tip is still malingering back to the southwest of Greenland’s southern tip, as an occluded Labrador Low.

The flow out of Siberia is now forked, with half pouring into Canada on one side of Greenland, and half down the other, east coast of Greenland (and then back to Europe.) Aparently the Pole has decided it has plenty of cold to go around.


I just thought I’d pop this map in, for the record. It shows Morfiststird atop Norway as a 965 mb gale, with its cold front sweeping across Scandinavia (and perhaps a secondary trying to form over southern Sweden and the Baltic.)  The folded-over occusions stretch back from Morfisthird all the way to Iceland.  The warm fronts from Tip are just appearing in the lower left over Newfoundland, and Tipzip doesn’t even exist yet. (click to enlarge)

UK Met Dec 4 10480268


(click to enlarge)

Another pause 6 satsfc (3)

Tip has grown to a decent little gale just departing Nova Scotia, with just enough of a flow behind it to keep warm air from coming up the east coast over me. It is cold but not terribly cold.  The really cold air has made it down the Canadian Rockies and is pouring into Montana, on its way all the way down to Texas.  Snows are breaking out in the Dakotas ahead of it, and it looks like something is brewing  ahead of it as it pushes, with one system in Colorado and a second in Missouri.  I expect they will head northeast and become some sort of Great Lakes storm to my west, giving me a final day of southwest flow before the fun and games start.

DECEMBER 4 —FORKARMA REPORT— Passing south of 74 degrees latitude

Latest position was 73.99 N, 12.41 W, and the temperature was up nearly two degrees, to  -18.37 C.  Since the last report I quoted, (no time stamps, but roughly 24 hours ago,) we have moved 27.32 miles south-southwest.


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

Morfisthird continues to churn the Barents Sea, which continues to be largely ice free, though ice has grown south to the east coast of Svalbard, and Franz Josef Land, (The group of arctic islands east of Svalbard,)  is now completely surrounded by ice.  The storms have kept the southwest corner of the Kara Sea open, but the rest has frozen up. (the Kara sea is across that noodle-shaped island that extends the Ural Mountains into the Arctic Sea.)

(start geography lesson—That noodle-shaped island is called “Novaya Zemyla,” and the next group of islands are called Severnaya Zemyla, and if there was any sanity in place-names the next group of islands to the east would be called New-Siberianaya Zemyla, and the last island before Bering Strait would be called Wrangleaya Zemyla. The seas are seperated by Zemylas. Barents Sea is before the first, the Kara Sea is between the first and second, the Laptev sea is between the second and third, the East Siberian Sea is between the third and fourth, and the waters down into Bering strait are the Chukchi Sea. Together these five seas form the Northeast Passage.  —end geography lesson )

Siberia bakes in the 24 hour sunshine of summer, and the coastal waters are understandably prone to thawing and being open, considering the land can have temperatures up near ninety. (32 Celsius.)  However the situation reverses during winter, for once Siberia is snow-covered it can have temperatures colder than the icecap of Greenland.  Understandably the coastal waters freeze.  They tend to freeze from east to west, and as they do the storms that like to crawl along the Siberian coast, feeding off the warmth and evaporation from open waters, run into closed waters.  First the East Siberian Sea freezes, and then the Laptev, and now the Kara Sea is nearly frozen over.  It seems to me that, as the arctic lows move from open water to ice-covered waters, they behave in some ways like a hurricane moving over land.  They promptly and predictably weaken. In the same manner, if given a chance by the forces that control their movement, they will hang back from termination.  Just as hurricanes can seem to have minds, and shrink from landfalls, Arctic storms avoid moving over ice, which I suppose should be called an “icefall.”

In any case, Morfisthird is facing an icefall, as he approaches the east side of Barents Sea, and his foreward elements will weaken as his rear elements strengthen.  At this point his rear elements include features in his folded over occlusion extending back towards Iceland, and the first of those features, Mortfistclue, is larger than I expected as it approaches Norway.  A sort of backwards hand-off seems to occur, as if the northern lows were obeying the rules of rugby.

The net result has been to keep ice from forming on Barents Sea.  However when we check another DMI feature to see if the destruction of Barents Sea Ice, and its export west and down into Fram Strait, has slowed the growth of ice, we see ice is ahead of other years with reduced ice. (Click to enlarge)

Extent graph Dec 4 icecover_current_new

Considering Barents Sea is behind schedule, one wonders where the ice is growing so fast.  To some degree it is because the Kara Sea has frozen faster than other slow years.  However most of the increase doesn’t even appear on our DMI maps, because it is occurring with mildly remarkable swiftness way down south in Hudson Bay.

As our interest is further north, perhaps we should focus on the high pressure sprawling across northern Canada, Alaska and the Bering Straits. However, to be honest, I am having trouble digesting this data.  On one hand high pressure is a sign of cold air, which sinks, pressing a vast weight of cold down there.  However such high pressure also alters isobar, which influence the direction of winds, and it looks like the winds are cutting off the imprt of cold air into Canada, especially to the west.  (This is likely a good thing, because such a load of cold has been delivered south into North America already that it could cause serious cold-related problems as far south as Texas.  (For you Europeans, Texas is farther south than the African coast of the Mediterranean.))


(Click to enlarge.)

UK Met Dec 4B 10492849

I include this map mostly to show the genesis of “Tipzip,” which did not even exist on this morning’s map. Tip is way back on the lower left, slowed down and stalling, but as his warm front extended east a ripple appeared on it, aided an abetted by the veritable spiderweb of occlusions that makes up Morfistclue, northeast of Iceland.

On this map Tipzip has a central pressure of, at best, 1010 mb. But check out the forecast 24 hours from now. Tipzip is centered over southern Norway and has a pressure of 968 mb. Yowza!  That storm sure did zip! (If the forecast is correct.) (Click to enlarge)

UK Met Dec 4B T 10495493

Although Tipzip zipped, look how sluggish Tip is dawdling back to the west.  Also notice how, after it took us so long to budge the high pressure parked west of Ireland, another high pressure is taking a stand right in that same spot.

Lastly, it looks like the folk around Mount Etna are getting a lull, which I hope they appreciate. Who knows how long it will last?

LOCAL VIEW  —-I fear this report will be biased—-

(click to enlarge)

Another pause 7 satsfc (3)

This map is quite different from yesterday’s and the day before’s. The lull is ending. There is nothing indistinct or flabby about the fronts and features.  Out of focus stuff is coming into focus.

Tip is stalled up in the right corner, only a 990 mb gale, but made a gale by the high pressure he is embedded in.  His back-side north winds have pushed down over us all day, and kept the storm to our west’s front-side south winds from coming north, and creating a warm front to our south.

The storm to our west is a Great Lakes Low, but rather than calling it Fitz-something I am just going to call it “Press,” because it is in front of pressing arctic air that has below zero (Fahrenheit) temperatures entering the USA, when it is still autumn!

Southwest of that, over Arizona, is a Rocky Mountain low that was over Colorado, but was pushed south by the pressing cold.  I dub it “Zing,” (for the second syllable pf “Pressing.”)

What is most interesting to me is the cold front that extends southwest from Zing into the Pacific west of the central Baja, Mexico.  Although they stopped drawing that cold front offshore, the clouds show it curves back north towards Alaska.  The mottled cloud cover in the air-mass within that front suggests stratocumulus, and a cold air-mass.  In fact a polar air-mass has shoved Pacific air back towards Hawaii, and the front off the Pacific coast of Canada separates cold polar air from colder Arctic air.  In other words, benign and kindly Chinook winds are thousands of miles away from interrupting the arctic attack.

A news-worthy cold wave is charging south into the USA, and ordinarily I’d be interested.  However, to be honest, I don’t care a flying flip.

My daughter had her baby.  Her labor was amazingly swift, considering her mother labored long and hard to deliver her.  We are talking two hours compared to twenty.  However the result was the same: A beautiful, tiny girl.

The forecast was that my daughter was genetically disposed to suffer twenty hours, but the forecast was wrong.  Things are not always as bad as they appear. Therefore, even though a major arctic attack is on the verge of clobbering the USA, I am not inclined to care a flying flip about how things appear.  Instead I will simply sit back and be glad things have turned out the way things are.


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

Barents Sea continuing to be trashed, as Morfisthird exits stage right and Morfistclue enters stage left. Moefistclue has gotten much stronger than I expected. Tipzip is barely apparent at very bottom. Cross-polar-flow moving from Siberia right down into Fram Strait and over our Forkarma. I wonder if the ice will increase in the strait.

A copycat of Chet is crossing the Pole on the Bering Strait side, looking weak and insignificant, but likely to switch the flow back into Canada as Chet did. (I didn’t notice it last night, but now it is obvious.) Call it “Chettwo.” In its wake a “Snout of Igor” will stick right across the Pole.

LOCAL VIEW  —mild weather hanging on in the east—

Another pause 8 satsfc (3)

The warm front extending southeast from Press has made no progress north towards us over night, but the southeast wind ahead of it brings ocean-warmed air inland, and we have drizzle with temperatures just above freezing.  (I am ignoring that little low the fellow who drew the map drew in at the end of the warm front, for now.)

To the west of Press cold air is driving right down to Zing.  Temperatures in Denver were thirteen below last night,  ( -25, Celsius,) before midnight, breaking yesterday’s low temperature record by eight degrees. Fortunately that air will be moderated before it comes east to us. An upper air ridge is developing in the southeast, and that brings up warm air to resist the progress of cold from the west.  In 48 hours the 500 mb level map looks like this: (click to enlarge.) (Dr. Ryan Maue’s map from WeatherBELL.)

Another Pause gfs_z500_sig_noram_9

The cold air is so strong it will sink under the warm flow and bleed east, and a battleground will set up right over us.  Likely rain will win at first, but then snow will win out in the end.

This morning the world was still brown, in the dark December daylight. As I drove a couple boys to kindergarten the mist was thick enough to make the roads shiny and reflect white headlights and orange turn-signals in the gloom, but thin enough to reveal the hills rolling away, dimmer and dimmer into the distance, with the valleys lighter than the peaks, like a Japanese watercolor.

FORKARMA DATA  —Can we avoid Iceland?—

Latest report puts us at 73.59 N, 12.75 W, with an air temperature of -14.79 C. We have moved 28.51 miles south-southwest since yesterday’s report.

Now here is something interesting to contemplate.  Consider the longitude we are at, and the longitude Iceland is at.  We are at 12.75 W, and if you trace that south you see it passes to the east of Iceland. Iceland’s east edge is at 13.5 W, and it extends west past 24 N.  If our Forkarma is to pass through the Denmark Strait, (and if the companion buoy to our north is to follow suit,) it seems obvious they must squeeze to the west. However there is only so much space between Greenland and Iceland.  Will we fit?

Until we get down to 70 N the coast of Greenland doesn’t curve west much, so the westward motion tends to pack the ice and make it thicker along the coast.  Once south of 70 N the coast falls away to the southwest, leaving a space of 180 miles between Iceland and Greenland.  Our Forkasite is roughly 60 miles from the coast, with ice extending roughly 40 miles to its east, so it seems the ice would have 80 miles to spare.  However it must navigate a sharp turn west, and must not spread out and have the waters freeze between the bergs.

The ice actually does this every year without much fanfare, but every hundred years or so there is a sort of ice-jam in Denmark Strait.  I’m keeping my eyes peeled on the off-hand chance this might be one of those years.  The first map below shows the current extent, with an odd bulge towards Iceland. (click to enlarge)

Extent Dec 5 arcticicennowcast (1)

The next map is more difficult to read, because the white area shows not merely ice, but also sea-water right at the freezing point. One interesting thing about salt water is that, unlike fresh water, it does not stay at the surface and freeze, but often it promptly sinks and is replaced by slightly warmer water rising up from below. Often you can see an area turn white and then purple again in a day, and in the case of a sea that freezes over, like the Laptev Sea, this can happen many times before the sea finally freezes.

However I like the map because it gives me a hint of what the water is like past the edge of the ice.  This current map shows that the water north of Denmark Strait and south of Fram Strait is quite cold, and is likely more conducive to expanding ice than shrinking ice.

Extent Dec 5 water temp satsst.arc.d-00

This doesn’t answer the question, “Can we avoid Iceland?” However it makes watching more interesting.  Stay tuned!


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

It is difficult to see the real news on this map, which is Tipzip crashing into Southern Norway.  (Down in “comments” Stewart Pid mentions they named the gale “Xaver” over in Europe.  Rediculous. “Tipzip” is far more sensible.) It’s pressure, which was only down to 1010 mb yesterday, was 967 mb over southern Norway, and may have been lower over the North Sea before landfall.

What will be interesting to watch is the effect its southern route has on Morfisthird  (entering the Kara Sea,) and Morfistclue, (atop Norway.)  A northern version of the Fujiwhara Effect seems to get there northern storms wheeling around each other a South American Gauchos’ three-stoned boleadoras.  I can never figure out which storm will weaken and which will strengthen, when they do these dances.

The cross-polar-flow continues to pour cold over our Forkarma east of Greenland, however a forked flow is starting to develop as Chettwo crosses towards Canada, with a second fork pronging Canada.

I imagine the interruption and then resumption of a flow into Canada will have a reflection further south, as an interruption and resumption of the arctic attack further south.

It would also be interesting to know if sucking all this cold air north from Siberia gives China milder weather, or whether Siberia can produce enough cold to attack in two directions at once.  I myself have no idea.


UK Met Dec 5 10517356


A second report for today places our Forkarma at 73.31 N, 12.77 W, with temperatures slightly warmer at -14.42 C. Since earlier today we have moved 19.42 miles only slightly west of due south.  Winds must be strong from the north.

The CB (Companion Buoy) is located at 76.77 N, 10.24 W, which is 244.16 miles to our north.  Temperatures are at -20.80 C.

Since yesterday CB has moved  27.93 miles south while our Forkarma has moved 47.68 miles south. In theory nearly twenty miles of open water has appeared between the two, as the Forkarma increases its lead.  The question then becomes, does the open water stay open?  With the water close to the freezing point, and with temperatures so low and winds likely strong, it seems likely the water is skimming over with some form of sea-slush or baby-ice.

Also the ice likely shifts west to fill in the gaps, which would tend to make the ice narrower in its extent away from Greenland.  If you look back up to the extent map you see a sort of narrowing down towards Iceland, except for the bulge right in Denmark Strait. However the problem with this idea is that our Forkarma had hardly any westward movement in the last observation.


LOCAL VIEW  —Warm Front Passes—

The 0000z map, (dated December 6 though it is still December 5 here,) shows the warm front still south of us, as it was throughout the daylight, which was fairly purple in the pea-soup fog.  The cold air hung in at the surface stubbornly, as temperatures slowly rose from the low thirties to high thirties.  The fire I built out in the pasture of the Childcare was a welcome place, especially for my staff, but the kids raced about in the early darkness with small flashlights I handed out, and seemed a lot warmer than I was.  The wind shifted about, but became a drift from the southwest after dark, but the fog hung in and the temperatures stayed low.  Then, around seven o’clock, just as I was driving to a Bible study of grizzled old grouches and their better halves, the fog vanished.  Abruptly the air was not raw, and became downright kindly, as temperatures jumped up to fifty. (10 Celsius)  (It never ceases to amaze me how a northern body can adjust in a week, and fifty can seem warm.)

Another pause 9 satsfc (3)

The map shows “Press” has become big over James Bay, (if not deep at 982 mb,) and his occlusion has become a secondary cold front swinging down behind. Intense cold is filling in behind as high pressure, in a way a “Snout of Igor” reaching all the way south to north Texas. The weight of this pressing cold is crushing “Zing” south, to a redevelopment on the primary cold front, now touching the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico.  This primary cold front is slowing down, as a building Bermuda High pumps warm air north to fight it.  This primary front will likely stall and be a battleground for a while, and Zing will likely be the first of several ripples moving up that front.

The cold will get here eventually, but tonight I’ll enjoy the pleasurable guilt of being at fifty degrees as Texans experience fifteen.  In terms of Celsius, it is the difference between ten above and ten below.

To Europeans it makes perfect sense that it is fifty in the stark, glacier-scoured, granite landscape of New Hampshire, for at latitude 42.75 I’m at the latitude of sunny Spain.  However for Texas to be at fifteen is nuts, to the European psyche, because the top of Texas is at the latitude of the Strait of Gibraltar. The bottom of Texas is at 26 degrees north,  as far south as African Morocco’s southern border with Western Sahara.

On this side of the Atlantic we are fools, when it comes to comprehending the power of the North Atlantic Gales which Europeans deem ordinary.  However, (south of Siberia and Scandinavia,) Europeans are fools, when it comes to comprehending how far south the arctic wolves can howl, over here.

What Texas is being hit by was called by the old-time cowboys a “Blue Norther,” and it was very dangerous work to herd cattle in the winter, when a Blue Northern could come down and funnel into the Rio Grande valley and bring sub-zero cold even to the delta at the Gulf of Mexico at Brownsville. ( “Sub-zero” is -17.77 Celsius.)  (Try to imagine that kind of cold hitting the south border of Morocco.)

However the gales of the North Atlantic are equally hard to imagine.

Once, when young, I worked for an old fellow named Amoray up in Maine who struck me as nicely educated and intellectual, but perhaps a bit effete, until he mentioned, in passing, that during World War Two he crewed on a “Liberty Ship” in the North Atlantic.

I asked him, even though I knew that they had to sail those rolling tubs during winter gales, “In the winter?”

He nodded.

I asked, “Was the rolling bad?”

He seemed to appreciate that a young fool like me actually knew that Liberty Ships were cranked out in quantity without all that much attention to quality, and his eyes grew sharper, as he regarded me keenly, and nodded again.

I figured he’d never talk, but made a final attempt, asking, “Was it bad?”

Persistence paid, because I got an amazing story.

He said he had to go on deck because he had to go fifteen yards from one part of the ship to another, and the builders hadn’t included an interior doorway. He tried to time his dash to a lull in the screaming wind, but as he staggered down the deck the ship rolled over so far a huge white wave came out of the darkness, clobbered him, and though he clung to a rail with all his might and main, it tore him from the ship and dragged him out into the bitter cold blackness.

As the ship rolled the other way he got a final view of dim light up above, with his life over. There was no way to stop to retrieve a man overboard in such a gale, (even in a calm they couldn’t stop because German submarines would torpedo them if they did,) and he thought of the girl he’d never see again nor marry.  The railing was a silhouette high above, and he was far below, but then the boat came rolling back down, and the sea picked him up higher and higher until he was looking down down at the deck from above. Then, with a smash, he was hurled aboard right by a doorway, which he ripped open and scrambled through and slammed shut.

My last question was, “Were you hurt?”

“Just a broken arm.”

And the moral of my story is that it is likely unwise to call any man effete, no matter which side of the Atlantic he is from, until you learn what he has been through.


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

Forked cross-polar flow continues.  The source region in Siberia has some minus thirty-five air.  “Tipzip” is 962 mb gale in Baltic.


Our site is at 73.06 N, 12.81 W, with temperatures at -13.37 C.  We’ve moved 17.35 miles since yesterday, pretty much due south.  Westward motion could be increased in 48 hours, when strong east winds are forecast.


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

Too busy to comment. Draw your own conclusions.


Radar Dec 6 rad_ne_640x480 (1)

Not much low pressure on the map, but that blue on the radar is snow.  That’s why I’m busy, though it is still raining here.


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

“Tipzip” has gone crashing into Russia, just off our map at around five o’clock. The remains of Morfistthird and Morfistclue continue to loiter around the periphery of Barents Sea in a weakened state, likely allowing the waters to calm a bit and some baby ice to form.

Tip stalled out around Labrador, and I’m going to call the low kicked east of Cape Farewell (southern tip of Greenland) “Tipson,” though I haven’t had time to pay close attention, and it could be argued it is actually Tip.

Cold air is streaming north from Siberia and and continuing to fork at the Pole. Some nasty cold is entering Canada now, with the other fork pushing the below freezing isotherm well south of Iceland and east to the top of Scotland. A blob of above freezing isotherms has progressed up the coast of Norway and may be the gasoline for the next Barents sea Gale.

Despite the “Snout of Igor” feeding so much cold onto the Arctic Sea,  the cold is not hearded up there, and is so promptly exported that temperatures up around the Pole are actually above normal, as is often the case when it is very cold further south.  You want a zonal flow colding the cold in a tight circle around the Pole to get the coldest temperatures up there, but so far this autumn the pattern has been “meridianal,” with blocks and a loopy jet stream, and arctic outbreaks.

FORKARMA DATA  —South of 73 north latitude—

Today’s report puts our site at 72.95 N, 12.92 W, with air temperatures moderating to  -12.45 C. (In contrast, our Companion buoy 240 miles north has temperatures down to  -27.19 C.)  We have slowed down a bit, which is likely the calm before the storm, as I expect Tipson to bring strong east winds and crush the ice against the coast of Greenland.  We moved 7.95 miles south-southwest.


I’m going to start out with yesterday’s map which shows the front just passing over us in the morning. It was up around fifty in the predawn, but gradually fell through the forties as the day passed, with sprinkles of rain at times, but other times showing bits of blue between a high flat overcast of alto cumulus.  It was actually quite lovely, as the sun is so low in December there are shades of sunset colors even at noon.

However the little low Zing was running up Press’s cold front. You can see the bulge in the clouds behind the front.  By evening it was dark and starting to rain more heavily, with temperatures dropping down into the thirties.  (This makes people nervous around here, for a similar rain turned into a severe ice-storm five years ago, leaving us without power for ten days, which is an experience I don’t want to go through again.)  Around seven-thirty the rain abruptly turned to heavy, sticky snow, and it snowed heavily for around a half hour, making the Christmas lights my wife put up around the front doorway look festive, and then the snow became lighter. (click map to enlarge.)

A start 1 satsfc (3)

The second map is this morning’s, which shows the ripple has passed out to sea, with a second ripple following it further south.  The world outside is whitened and wintery with only an inch or two of snow.  Even that small amount will lower temperatures between five and ten degrees.  Life abruptly becomes more of an ordeal.

A start 2 satsfc (3)

The map should actually have a second cold front from lake Superior south to Oklahoma, as a second shot of even colder air is contained in the arctic high sliding southeast behind the departing Press. The air entering is around minus forty, and the only good thing I have to say about such cold is that it is the same temperature in Fahrenheit as it is in Celsius.  That cold will moderate some as it comes east towards us, but with increasing snow cover it will not moderate as much.  We could see below zero Fahrenheit at the end of next week.

Here is a screen shot from Joseph D’Aleo’s blog at WeatherBELL, in case you have ever thought of moving to Montana. Brrr! (Click to enlarge.)

Montana Screen shot 2013_12_07 at 8_32_57 AM

One last thing: At the very top of today’s local map you can see snippets of a warm and cold front. That is actually “Chet2,” tansiting the Pole from Siberia, and bringing the Snout of Igor across and down. So, though we get a bit of a break after the current cold wave, It should be swiftly followed by another.  The danger is that rather than aiming down at Montana it will aim further east.  So I’d best get to work.


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

The big Snout-of-Igor high pressure crossing the arctic is loaded with nasty cold for North America.  I think it is colder than it looks from the isotherm map, as the buoys off the Canadian coast are reporting temperatures below minus thirty, which the map doesn’t show.  for example Buoy 2013F: is reporting  -30.20 C and Buoy 2013G: is reporting -30.07 C.

Europe is getting some nasty east and northeast winds around the backside of Tipzip (AKA “Xaver.”) It doesn’t really show on the DMI Arctic map, which mostly shows the fork in the flow and the wind coming down via east Greenland and across the North Atlantic.  As cold as that wind can be, it is greatly moderated by its Atlantic passage and nothing like the cruel east winds from Siberia.  However Tipson is appearing south of Iceland, likely the forerunner of some dramatic changes for West Europe, and a time when the west will clash with the east.

It is interesting to watch the retreat of the zero isotherm back north.  It is hard to keep air that cold over ten degree water. (Thirty-two Fahrenheit air over fifty degree water.)

That low to the southwest of Greenland is the first appearance of “Press.”


The current UK Met map shows some cold winds in the wake of Tipzip (AKA Xaver.) However a warm front has reclaimed Ireland and Great Britain.  (Click to enlarge)

UK Met Dec 7 10564956

As Tipzip moves further into Russia it is likely to bring the sort of cold down in its wake that defeated Napoleon and Hitler, over Russia and Poland, and perhaps briefly extending east into Scandinavia.  However a feature I would not have expected, looking at this map, appears off Morrocco and travels up west of Spain and eventually Ireland,  and in 72 hours the GPS model produces this map of isobars and winds. (Thanks to Ryan Maue and WeatherBELL for turning unintelligible GFS data into great maps.) (Click to enlarge and click again to enlarge further.)

WB Dec 7 gfs_mslp_uv10m_natl_25

What is most interesting is that orange stripe of 30-40 knot winds from off the coast of Morocco right up to southern Norway.  I can’t imagine that is a cold flow.  It looks downright balmy. I wonder if they have a name for out-of-African-Atlantic storms.  It never gets that big, but its flow is a major feature for days.

This map predicts neither Press nor Tipson will develop anything major right away.  Tipson looks occluded into a string of lows, with the one up in the upper right having the potential to stir up a ruckus in Barents Sea, while Press also looks seriously stalled and occluded, with the secondary down over Newfoundland looking like it might brew up into a Newfoundland gale.

However the real news will likely be the southerly flow up into Western Europe, and how it interacts with the cold over Russia.  Stay tuned!


Some who have been following my musings for a while may recall the saga of Buoy 2013C: , which broke loose from a reletavely stable ice shelf and took off down Nare Strait, between Greenland and Canada.  After a while it turned sharply west, as if it intended to traverse a northern branch of the Northwest Passage during winter, however it found that route rough sledding, and headed back out towards Baffin Bay.  Baffin Bay has become choked with ice, and for a time it seemed this buoy had been frozen fast, however a couple of decent storms shooting up into Baffin Bay seems to have budged it.  Between December first and seventh it moved from 72.82 N, 75.57 W  to 72.68 N, 74.39 W, a total of 26.15 miles to the east-southeast.

While it may now take this buoy a week to travel a distance our Forkarma can cover in a day, its motion is a reminder how mobile the ice is up there.  It is a common misconception to think the arctic is frozen solid during the winter, silent and still.  The truth is there are tides and there are storms, and stillness is a rarity.

Anyway, check out the travels of this berg on the map below. (Double click to enlarge fully, so you can see all the loops.)

BUOY 2013C_DEC 7 track

LOCAL VIEW  —I’d rather look at maps—

Click maps to to enlarge

a SRART 3 satsfc (3)A start 3 gfs_z500_sig_noram_1

The upper air map to the right shows the high in Alaska driving the record-setting cold south and digging the trough, however the high to the southeast will put up a fight.

The little ripple over Georgia, “Zingson,” can’t duck out to sea, with that ridge in the way, especially as the low-pressure along the cold front, that his predecessor Zing travelled along, is undergoing a “trough-split,” which is just another way of saying the isobars of the cold arctic high are merging with the warm Bermuda high.  So Zingson is fated to move slowly, gathering what forces he can from a south that is basically swept clear of moisture. You can see a little plume of Pacific air shooting through Mexico and already making a little bulge over Texas, but that is not much to go on.  The Gulf of Mexico is still quite warm and may generate some moisture through evaporation with surprising speed, but time is short. The Atlantic can generate moisture as well.  Lastly, the northern stream is bringing down a weak impulse, (that orange, dashed line at the top of the map slanting down to the left,) (“Chet,”)  but the only moisture there would have to evaporate from the Great Lakes.  All in all, there are not the ingredients for a big storm, but there are the ingredients.  Zingson won’t go away, and next week will begin with just enough slop to annoy.

I’m going to call that Rocky Mountain low over Nevada “Rocky,” because I am not feeling all that original tonight.  That low will just sit there, because the huge arctic high dominating the country will make eastward progress a joke, for a while.

What impresses me about recent maps is how far out to sea the Pacific air has been driven. They even bothered to put in a snippet of warm front on the above, local, surface map, (about a third of the way to Hawaii,) to accent the contrast. You can see the clouds from there up to Alaska, marking the boundary.  Usually the Pacific storms come east as lovely, swirling features and crash into Vancouver and Seattle and Portland on the west coast, but we’ll have to wait for this pattern to change to see that.  For now the arctic is pouring south, and it means business.

Fortunately I’m several thousand miles east of its brunt.  This is especially true as we’ve been dealing with a “stomach ‘flu” among the children at our Childcare. It actually is a virus and has a name, but to me it is just “a twenty-four hour stomach bug.”  This is what we called it fifty years ago, and, as it is a virus, antibiotics are useless, and having an official scientific name is also useless, (until science comes up with a vaccine.)

In any case, we can’t afford to get sick, until the weekend. Then we have to get over it by Monday.  This is all well and good for me, as I don’t at all mind having an excuse to lie around and occasionally shuffle to my computer to see what is new on the web. However my wife has things to do and places to go and people to meet on the weekend, and consequently she never gets sick, but this morning was an exception to the rule.  She was much sicker than I, which is unheard of.

I actually pity any virus which is foolish enough to invade my body. My flesh is so loaded with horrible toxins from a misspent youth I figure the tiny creatures must have a terrible time of it, and feel even worse than I do.  I usually feel rotten, but can function.

Today we had plans to go visit our brand new granddaughter, but of course you can’t do that when infectious. There was also a local Christmas concert my wife adores she could not attend. Her mood was not good. I brought her ginger ale on ice and some pretzels, and cared for her chickens and rabbit, but didn’t really expect a parade for being good.  People who are sick are not good at “walking on the sunny side, the sunny side, the sunny side. Walking on the sunny side of life.”

Having my better side at her worst made the world look bleak, (though the outdoors was actually quite beautiful, as the snow fell so wet it was glued to the maple branches, pine boughs and deep-green hemlocks, and the increasingly cold breeze couldn’t dislodge it.) I rather listlessly shoveled the inch or so of snow from steps and walks,  thinking about getting old and mortality and other pleasant subjects, all the while feeling queasy but never truly sick enough to avoid annoying chores like taking the trash to the recycling center. I had no ambition to take on major jobs, such as building a warmer coop for the rooster, whose comb looks frostbit. (Not to mention the fact the fresh snow showed the prints of a fox who walked around and around the rooster’s coop, even digging fiercely at the frozen earth at the rear side.)  I just got by, doing the minimum, troubled by the sense that, while just-getting-by might be fine for summery days, it is downright dangerous as a northern winter bears down on you.

I really should be doing more. Modern youths have it much rougher than I did when I was their age, and with a new granddaughter I should be writing a million-seller to help out with finances, rather than pecking away at this weather-blog.  I should be writing the lyrics for hit songs, and composing fabulous sonnets. But how can you write a sonnet when, rather than artistic ecstasy, you basically feel queasy?  (I know many modern poets basically describe being queasy, but I don’t find such poetry all that poetic, and certainly not inspiring. And they sure don’t sell much of their poetry, that’s for sure.)

In any case, I trudged about the sunny, snow-brilliant landscape feeling pretty sorry for myself. At age sixty you sometimes wonder if you have what it takes any more.  You wonder as badly as an insecure adolescent.  Am I too this?  Am I too that? Am I too jaded? Am I too worn out? When you shiver in the wind, you wonder if you simply lack the testosterone to be hot blooded. The sun is shining, but is my eyesight too faded to see it? Am I too this? Am I too that?

Too old and too cold to go out and fight the battle that will never end? The war you can never win, for who can stop night from falling or winter from coming?

For what do we endure? For some it is to glean and hoard heaps of food and fine firewood so they can dodder and munch toothless, mean and miserly a midst youth’s poverty. Could I do that?

For others it is mostly a fear of freezing and dying that fuels hustle, which is to say they don’t advance, but steer away in cowed retreat.

Have I no muscle left? No will to stride? No itch to strive? Oh, yes I do, for I’m still alive.

(And as proof, I just wrote a hidden-sonnet despite being queasy.) (The rhyming words are fight, war, night, for, glean, wood, mean, could, fear, hustle, steer, muscle, strive and alive.)


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

It is fairly quiet up in the arctic, with the weakened remains of Morfisthird still milling around in the Barents Sea. Press and Tipson are stalled either side of Cape Farewell on the southern tip of Greenland, but Tipson is managing to kick a zipper east along its folded-over occlusion.  What a difference a few days makes! When Tip kicked Tipzip east, it exploded into a Baltic gale, (and still spins in Russia, as a weakening 994 mb low.) However when Tipson tries the same stunt, its zipper (which I suppose should be called “Tipsonzip”) doesn’t get all that big.

The main feature is the “Snout of Igor” pouring cold across into Canada.



UK Met Dec 8 10575034

You can see what I was talking about above: Press and Tipson either side of Cape Farewell, kicking a weak Tipsonzip under Iceland and north of Scotland, but Tipsonzip unable to emulate Tipzip, which remains as the weak low over Russia. Instead that weak low at the very bottom of the map, (“Mork,” which is short for Morocco,) is going to come straight north all the way to Iceland, attaching itself to Tipson’s cold front, and bringing a vast warm sector north from off Africa. It should be interesting to watch that warmth flood Europe.  Eventually I imagine some will effect the Barents Sea, but that’s a ways off.

LOCAL VIEW   —Zingson graying the day—

A start 4 satsfc (3)A start 4 rad_ec_640x480

It is interesting how they drew the map, with the front stalled way down in Florida and the cloud shield and snow way up in Ohio.  In any case, Zingson is headed up our way, to make Monday a mess. Basically the high pressure will retreat north and we will get the east winds on its underside, bringing in Atlantic moisture.

It was down to sixteen here last night, (minus ten Celsius,) but rose a degree by dawn, which was lovely, with the sun able to peek beneath the advancing cloud shield of thin cirrostratus, a milky haze made lemony by the sun, with just a hint of orange. Then the sun got above the clouds and swiftly everything became grey, with the sun a smear through the thin clouds, cirrostratus merging to altostratus.  A wintery look, perfect for singing Christmas carols in.


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

Morfisthird continues to mill around weakly in Barents Sea. Press and Tipson are still stalled, but Tipson has become a pretty impressive 964 mb gale, and is likely cramming the ice in Davis Strait against Greenland, away from Iceland, and making a rare “ice jam” unlikely until the next surge of ice comes south in several weeks.

The Snout of Igor continues to cross the Pole. I assume that small low off the north coast of Alaska is merely a ripple in that flow, a bit like Chet and Chet2. I’ll warch it it, but assume it will be swept south.

An interesting side-effect of this Snout of Igor pattern is that the Bering Strait has been slow to freeze up.

No sign of Mork coming up towards Iceland in this northern view.

FORKARMA DATA  —Milder south winds push us back north of 73 degrees north—

We have moved to  73.19 N, 12.93 W, with temperatures up to a milder -3.69 C.  Since yesterday we have moved 16.64 miles nearly straight north.  That’s got to make a mess of the ice further north that is coming south.

Let me check something. Hmm. Our companion buoy is now 234 miles north, having come nearly due south 7 miles as Forkarma headed roughly 17 miles nearly due north. Yes, I think I can hear the distant sound of crunching and grinding. Also it is much colder at the CB, with temperatures at -21.33 C.

Likely this crash-up is a brief oddity before Tipson’s east winds hit.


Perhaps the mild conditions effecting Forkarma has had some sort of beneficial effect on Forkuoy, because for the first time in seven days it reported its position.  It was only three reports, between 1800z yesterday and midnight today, but during those six hours it moved from 72.381°N,  9.087°W to 72.387°N,  9.128°W. That would be a movement west-northwest, and place it roughly 96 miles east-southeast of Forkarma.  No other information available.

LOCAL VIEW   —I hope the snow is staying south—

A start 5 satsfc (3)A start 5 rad_ec_640x480

I have to turn in, as snow would mean an early start to work tomorrow, but if you compare these maps with this morning’s, it looks like the cloud shield and snow has been pushed a little south of east, and may have trouble making it this far north.

As I go to sleep I’ll think about that warm front poking south from the Yukon. A cross-polar feature?


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

Morfisthird weakly persists in Barents Sea. Tipson remains strong west of Iceland, with Press to its west weaker and being consumed into its rotation, and an apendage forming to its east over Iceland.  (The weak Tipsonzip moved east and entered the Baltic Sea, remaining weak and not emulating Tipzip.)

Snout of Igor continues to cross Arctic to Canada.  Interesting contrast in very cold isotherms in the core of the cold and warmer isotherms towards Bering Strait.  I can envision it as a sort of front, with small impulses like Chet, Chet2, and the little low I noticed yesterday (Chet3) running along the flow from Siberia to Canada.  I’ve noticed each storm has hit the Canadian coast further west, and the last one was more in Alaska than Canada.  The same devision between very cold and moderately cold air can be seen coming down the Canadian Rockies in North America now. (Ryan Maue map from WeatherBELL) (Click twice to enlarge to full extent)

Temp Dec 9 gfs_t2m_noram_1

This is a truly meridianal flow, following lines of longitude rather than cycling around the globe along lines of latitude.

LOCAL VIEW  —The primer coat—

A start 6 satsfc (3)A Start 6 rad_ne_640x480 (1)

What is interesting to me about this map (due to my focus on the arctic) is that warm front extending down the Canadian Rockies right to the part of Montana that was minus forty two days ago.  Considering the Pacific air has been driven back more than half way to Hawaii, where did this warm front come from?  I think it actually traveled north all the way to the Bering Sea, around the top of that high in the Pacific, and down through western Alaska.  (This flow explains why the growth of sea ice in the Bering Strait is behind schedule.) It is Pacific air that has gone through a lot of cooling, as can be seen if you look at the North American temperature map just above this update.  The various pinks and pinkish-reds in that map represent air from freezing down to the mid teens.(zero to -9 Celsius.)  It is only a “warm” front because it is bumping up against air well below zero. (-15 Fahrenheit seems common; (-26 Celsius.) )

These two air masses are flowing in the same direction, and represent the arctic just pouring down into North America.  Running along the border between the cold air and the wicked cold air are little impulses which came across from Siberia and I called Chet, Chet2 and Chet3.  I figure Chet is that impulse sinking down over the Great lakes, Chet2 is up over Hudson Bay, and Chet3, which hit the Alaska coast further west, is further west in Canada, at the top of the warm front in the Canadian Rockies.  We are sort of getting bombarded by Chets from the north. (Usually our northern stream comes in from the Pacific, but right now it is straight south from the Arctic.)

I should state at this time that when I name these storms I largely do it for fun, with my tongue planted firmly in my cheek. I can imagine a scientist of the stricter and more humorless sort would be driven right up the wall by my complete lack of rules, regulations, restraint and discipline, when it comes to naming. However this is my blog and I’m the boss here.  Anyway, there are times a lack of restraint allows you the freedom to follow faint connections the rule-bound are forbidden to follow, and while such trailing of blind squirrels winds you out on a limb more often than it finds you the nut, sometimes it does find you the nut because the nut was growing out on a limb. (OK Enough metaphor-mixing for today.)

In any case, Chet began as an upper-air bowling ball over Mount Etna as the volcano erupted, creating beautiful pictures of fire falling with snow. Where a purist might have said the name died there as that occlusion filled and faded, I noticed it kick some junk east, as a slight ripple in the isobars that drifted away into the frozen steppes, sometimes strengthening a little and sometimes weakening, but mostly dry and likely fairly cloudless, as there was no source of moisture.  It crossed thousands of miles, unnoticed until it approached the Pacific, where it tapped into moisture and blew up into a tight little gale south of Korea.  Rather than heading east and becoming a typical Aleutian Low it got blocked, and stalled up the coast off Russia, and again stagnated into an occlusion that filled and faded, and again a purist would have stated the name died there. However again I noticed it was throwing off junk, (sort of like my old snow-blower throws off chunks of rubber as the fan-belt dissolves,)  and these globs of low pressure were coming north and crossing the Pole, and now are coming down to visit me personally. I am quite flattered, so of course I am not going to allow the name “Chet” to vanish.  Even if it was a 1015 mb dimple in the isobars swallowed up by a monster 940 mb gale, that gale would abruptly be named “Chet.”  (And don’t tell me that isn’t scientific.  Little things take over big things all the time. For example, how big are you, and how big is a virus?)

The weak low moving over us now, Zingson, will escape being named Chet by drifting away northeast, however a following low on the front will not be named either Zingthird or Rocky, as it forms and gives us more snow tomorrow.  (Rocky is too good a name to waste, so I’m just going to say he hangs back, as usually some low pressure does hang back.)

The original cold front that belonged to Press, and that Zing and Zingson formed on, can still be seen off the coast, but you will notice they drew in a new cold front down from Chet in the Great Lakes.  (That is cheating, but it is their map and they’re the boss there, just like I’m the boss here.) That front ends in the Gulf of Mexico at a low that some might call Rocky, and some might call Zingthird, and some might even dub Chetson, but I think the impulse that was Chet has such momentum he slid down the front and splashed into the gulf.  The low left behind up in the lakes will be Chetson.  Got that straight?

Back over north Texas and Oklahoma you can see a developing cloud shield at the end of a wispy Pacific jet. That’s coming east to be Chet’s hat.  However if you look further west along the Pacific jet you can see a bit of a storm off southern California.  Though the storm itself may occlude and hang around out there, it makes me nervous.  Those things can kick Pacific moisture east in the southern stream, and a small amount of that moisture can have a surprisingly large result, especially when it meets up with a very cold arctic blast, which I think may be coming from the very top of our map behind Chet3.  Not that it has a big likelihood of happening, but it they are a couple of features a bit like a teen-aged daughter and an unscrupulous charmer:  You wouldn’t want to see them get together over Cape Cod next weekend, (unless you are the charmer.)

Time to get back to work. We only got around two inches.  It is like a primer coat of paint.  It doesn’t fully cover everything, but it lays the foundation for a winter I suspect people will get very tired of.  At the moment, however, it makes everyone merry and Christmas-spirited.


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

Tipson remains strong east of Greenland and west of Iceland, but seems to be trying a second zipper along occlusion which is now swung around north of Iceland. If it grows we’ll dub it “Tipsonzip2.”) That front swings around and is now a warm front, being pushed west, by the surge of warmth coming north beside Mork, which is still off the map.

Morfisthird is fading in the Kara Sea, part of low pressure extending down to fading Tipzip and then fading Tipsonzip. Together they create a fridged east wind resisting Mork’s south wind.

The other interesting feature is yet another “Chet” crossing from Siberia to Canada.  This one is even further west, and I suppose it might get into the pacific south of Alaska.  What then? A gale center?  Too tired to think about this stuff.


UK Met Dec 9 10612325

I guess Mork is that little low where Tipson’s curved front turns from a warm front back to a cold front, south of Iceland.  Not much of a low, but what a warm flow to Mork’s eastall the way up to the coast of Norway, where it meets the Siberian air coming down behind Tipzip and Tipsonzip.  I can’t see how you can mix those two air masses together without getting a big storm somewhere.

LOCAL VIEW   —A map to remember—

A start 7 satsfc (3)

I’m too tired from shoveling snow to study this map, but it does seem to raining Chets from the north.  I’m just saving this map because this is an odd pattern worth remembering. I’d say ominous stuff, and get you all excited, but I’m so sleepy I’m not sure I’m seeing what I think I’m seeing.


DMI Dec 10 pressure mslp_latest.bigtDMI Dec 10 mp_latest.big (1)

(Will comment later)

LOCAL VIEW   —A groggy and grey—

A start 8 satsfc (3)A start 8 rad_ec_640x480

(Hope to find time to comment later) (Water heater broken, and son coming home from college this afternoon. I don’t think he can withstand cold showers. I’m hoping I can just replace the thermocoupling.)


UK Met Dec 10 10623402

(Hope to comment later)


And life is good.  It sure saves money when you fix things yourself.  (Unless, of course, the house explodes this evening.) Now I have all of fifteen minutes before an afternoon shift, and then there’s choir practice for the Christmas cantata, but after that I’ll catch up on the maps.


Our site has drifted to  73.09 N, 14.01 W,  22.24 miles west-southwest of where we were two days ago.  Our CB (Companion Buoy) has drifted from 76.531°N,  10.457°W to 76.313°N, 11.127°W in the past two days, moving southwest.  (Though their vectors still collide, the collision is no longer headlong.)  The ice must be crunching up against the shores of Greenland, with all the westward movement.

The Forkarma is colder, down to  -10.57°C .  The CB saw quite a warm-up yesterday, with temperatures all the way up to -2.8°C, but are colder now at -8.7°C.


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

I’m pretty tired, and can only briefly comment that this pattern looks very off balance.  Likely it will fall down, and start over.  The question is, what form will the “fall down” take?  Right now it looks like a large amount of the Pole will be unloaded down into North America, (which may explain the surge up into the Pole that looks like it is happening over Europe.)

I’d say it is a time for surprises.  When things stray this far from the norm you don’t really have many examples from the past to look at.

LOCAL VIEW   —The cold finally makes it east—

We got around an inch and a half in a burst this afternoon, and since then it has been much colder, dropping from 35 around two to 17 at eight.  Now I need to turn in, but I’ll save a map to look at later, hopefully tomorrow.

A start 9 satsfc (3)

DECEMBER 11  —DMI MORNING MAPS—  Rare blue-eyed-Igor-seen over Pole

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

That is a mighty strong high pressure system north of Alaska, and while its Asian (west) side is pulling some milder, Pacific air in along the east Siberian coast, its other side is sucking air directly off Canada and down into Canada. The next Chet-like blob of low pressure, (remains of Tipzip?) now appearing on the Siberian coast south of the New Siberian Islands, cannot move towards Alaska like the last one, with that enormous high in the way, and will be instead swung right over the  Pole.  It will briefly interupt the cross-polar flow, however, as it is in some ways is a cork bobbing along in the flow, it will not end the flow, and once it reaches Canada its back-side winds will likely increase the flow further.

I am going to call the low off the northeast tip of Norway “Mork” although the genesis of the lows up the frontal boundary between Greenland air and African air rushing up towards Europe has been wonderfully complex.  I see all that air as gasoline heading for Barents Sea, and expect Mork to explode up there.

(By the way, I am always plugging the WeatherBELL site due to Ryan Maue’s supurb maps, and the wonderful analysis you get from Joe Bastardi and Joseph D’Aleo. Today Joe Bastardi has a video that explains some of the reasons why storms vanish from one part of a map and reform at other parts. In a sense it shows why my way of “tracking” features is loaded with flaws.  Often it is not the features that move the isobars, but rather the isobars that move the features.  It is likely wiser to study what goes into pressure-rises and pressure-falls, and to pay less attention to the features themselves.  However I am able to be unwise, for I am more of an observer than a forecaster, and also I think you do learn by simply watching the features. (And also I get a chuckle or two out of naming everything in sight.) )

It is currently quiet off the east coast of Greenland as Tipson weakens along with the absorbed remnants of Press, and his last-gasp zipper Tipsonzip2 is absorbed by Mork. However this will likely change swiftly as the energy from  the various ways coming up Press’s front, (Zing, Zingson and Chet,) combine into the typical monster low.

For the moment I am more interested in what happens to Mork, up in Barents Sea.


(Click map to enlarge)

UK Met Dec 11 10650360

I notice the European forecasters are more focused on the high pressure than Mork, which makes sense as Mork has been a mere ripple on a front that was originally Tipson’s cold front.  However the warm flow has been the interesting feature, which is neither the low nor the high.  (The new low moving north off Spain will be “Morkson.”) (The low developing off Newfoundland will be “Chet.”)

The above freezing temperatures have made it all the way up into Finland, but to the east lurks Siberian cold.  (In England they must be wondering if they’ll have a green Christmas.) The contrast is clear in the temperature map.  (GFS Data; Ryan Maue map.)

UK Met Dec 11 gfs_t2m_eur_1

The upper air ridge over Europe is impressive:  (GFS Data; Ryan Maue map.)

UK Met Dec 11 gfs_z500_sig_eur_1

LOCAL VIEW  — In Igor’s gun-sights —

What goes up must come down, and with the rush of warmer air north in Europe the colder air comes down over Canada.  We’ve been lucky the last week, as a lot of that cold slammed clear down to Arizona, and I don’t much mind arctic air that visits us via Arizona.  However, with the northern Canadian lakes frozen over and Hudson Bay frozen except for James Bay, we are less protected from the blasts coming straight towards us.  The current map looks like it is taking aim on New Hampshire. You can follow the 1020 mb isobar northfrom my back pasture  clear up to the arctic, and off the map it goes right to the North Pole.

A start 10 satsfc (3).

Even with fresh snow it didn’t get too terribly cold last night, for us. It was down to 14, (-11 Celsius.)  Likely it was due to clouds and and a further half-inch dusting we got as I snored.  Today is bright and sunny, with temperatures bouncing back nicely, to the mid-twenties. However I glance at the map and see that bit of a cold front to our northwest, and know it will just get colder. (click to enlarge.)

A start 10 gfs_t2m_noram_1

As I looked around this morning I suddenly realized I was in winter mode.  We haven’t had that much snow, but our world’s gone white.


I’ll stick in Ryan Maue’s WeatherBELL maps of the initial data of the Canadian Global Model’s 1200z run: (Clock twice to fully expand.)

DMI Dec 11B cmc_mslp_uv10m_arctic_1DMI Dec 11B cmc_t2m_arctic_1

Mork has blown up into a powerful 963 mb gale north of Norway, and is likely tearing up all the baby ice in Barents Sea and crushing it towards Fram Strait.  I’m expecting a dip in ice extent in Barents sea and another bulge to come south along the east coast of Greenland.

The next cross-polar “Chet” low, ( which I have decided is what remains of Tipzip, and therefore to call Topzip.) (Some of Morfisthird may have bled into it, but a tiny low over the Kara sea, north of Tipsonzip inland to its south, holds the rest of Morfisthird.) Tipzip might be slightly strengthened by some Pacific air working west along the arctic coast from Bering Strait, before crossing to Canada.

(Joe Bastardi noticed this same cross-polar feature and and wrote about the cold air it might deliver to North America, on his blog today. Currently long-range models suggest the arctic blast (still a week away)  will again plunge to Texas, and spare me here in the east, but Joe suggests it may spread out more and effect the east.)

The temperature map shows the cross-polar-flow and the very cold air in Siberia quite clearly.

LOCAL VIEW   —Cold with dusting of snow—

I had to go take a class the State of New Hampshire requires “Childcare Providers” to take tonight, so I can’t comment much.  Even though the cold night was starry with a bright moon, a dust of snow was falling, I think blown from the Great Lakes ahead of a reinforcing shot of arctic air shown by the cold front on the map.  Fifteen degrees on my back porch, at ten o’clock.  (You can see the Pacific moisture streaming in over Mexico to Texas, which is the beginnings of our next storm, which might as well be called “Rocky” as it is scooping up the left-behind low pressure. It may hit us on the weekend.)

A start 12 satsfc (3)


DMI Dec 12 pressure cmc_mslp_uv10m_arctic_1DMI Dec 12 cmc_t2m_arctic_1

Mork is blowing up to a 957 mb gale north of Norway, as Chet blows up into a 956 mb gale south of Greenland.  Despite these powers the warm high remains stubborn over western Europe, lifting Morkson west of Ireland. Nothing wants to move west to east. This is about as far from a zonal pattern as I can recall seeing.  Bookmark it as an example of what Dr. Tim Ball calls a “meridianal” pattern, and I call “loopy.”

Tipzip is just starting his cross-polar jaunt north of central Siberia.

Polar temperatures remain above average because any cold imported from Siberia is promptly exported into Canada.

Both the Barents and Bering Sea have below normal ice, which will allow both Pacific and Atlantic water entering the pole a greater surface area and greater cooling, before the entrance currents duck under the shelter of ice. My guess is that this argues for cooler water up at the Pole next summer.

The only thing that may make the arctic water warmer is that the ice is thicker, and less likely to be busted up by midwinter gales. Last February a big gale busted up the ice in the Beaufort Gyre at the very time the air was down below normal, at minus forty, and even though the exposed waters froze over swiftly it seems likely the exposure greatly added to the cooling of the waters beneath the ice.

LOCAL VIEW  —Goldilocks snows—

We got a half-inch of powder last night, which is just enough to give me some extra work before I open the Childcare.  It’s not enough to use the snow-blower, so I have to resort to brooms and shovels, in a pre-sunrise chill of seven degrees.  Also I have to spread sand on the drive where cars enter, which is a climbing curve, and I have learned sleepy parents dealing with sleepy kids need all the help they can get negotiating curves.

I was feeling pretty sorry for myself, until I looked around and realized how pretty every thing looked. Then it occurred to me I had it good.  In England they have no snow for Christmas, while west of here it is dangerously cold and in some places the lake-effect snows are mounting up and measured in feet rather than inches.

Suddenly seven degrees didn’t seem that cold. I noticed it isn’t quite cold enough to freeze the hairs inside my nostrils.  So maybe I should quit feeling so sorry for myself.  It isn’t too cold, and isn’t too warm. It is just right, Goldilocks snows.

A rocky 1 satsfc (3)

Rocky is just moving into the pan handle of northern Texas, with some Pacific air steaming up into him. He is suppose to get here late on Saturday.  It doesn’t look like he has much moisture to feed off, but as he nears the Atlantic he’ll feed off that, and may bomb out a bit right off shore from me, kicking back six inches of snow or so.

The weak low up in the Gulf of Alaska may be part of Chet 4, which crossed the Pole to the west. The rest of the impulse is moving down the arctic front like a wave shaken into a schoolgirl’s slack jump-rope,  adding a northern branch energy to Rocky.

Now is when the true weathermen step foreward, because it makes a huge difference how the northern and southern branch mesh together.  Sometimes the branches fight each other and sometimes they “phase.”  I’m not going to try to figure out Rocky.  Or…well, sometimes it is fun to guess, however once the features are in place I sometimes like to shut up and listen to the real experts. (And I’m not talking about the guys who only look at the read-outs from various computer models. Even I can do that. I’m talking about the guys who can look at the maps and make a highly educated guess even if all the computers crashed.)

I notice the Pacific air has finally made it back to the Pacific coast, south of that Gulf of Alaska low.  Maybe things are shifting to the east a little?


UK Met Dec 12 10673616

I just wanted to see how strong the high is over Europe, and whether Mork bombing out in the north was sweeping cold air south.  So far the only polar push-back is way up in the northern half of Scandinavia.  The upper-air ridge is only going to budge to the east in a very slow way.


DMI Dec 12B cmc_mslp_uv10m_arctic_1DMI Dec 12B cmc_t2m_arctic_1

Denmark better had shape up its site, for I’m getting fond of Dr. Maue’s maps at WeatherBELL. I like the Danish maps because they simplify.  Give me too much detail and I get lost in interesting sidetracks.  Ryan Maue’s great maps can make me late to steak dinners. However I notice some data smudge is now occurring on the Canadian model temperature map. (I don’t want to switch to GFS as their maps are wrong side up, with Greenland on the top.)  I guess it just goes to show you the dark days effect all people in northern lands, even computer programmers.

Chet has become a huge 946 mb storm south of Greenland. Any ice south of Denmark Strait is being piled up on Greenland’s east coast.

Mork has churned right across Barents Sea as a 958 gale.  In front very cold Siberian air is being sucked off the mainland towards the Pole, but behind not much air is coming south to Scandinavia yet. Morkson messes up the flow, as a weaker 985 mb low east of southern Norway. Mork will pivot Morkson east through Scandinavia, bringing them colder air, but maritime polar air and not the brutal Siberian stuff.  To the South the big high over Europe is hanging tough.

Tipzip is venturing across the Pole, and the break in the cross-polar-flow can be seen in the isotherms, yet the temporary nature of this break can be seen in the isobars on the Bering Strait side of Tipzip.  Despite a crimp they have already healed the break and pretty much are resuming the flow from Siberia to Canada.

So I am expecting a break in our cold here, in five or so days, but for that break to be short.


UK Met Dec 12B 10686247

Mork just off map top center. Morkson off Norway. Chet south of Greenland.  Tough High Pressure standing strong over Alps. Personally I’m watching for a low over Ireland, where it looks like a Morkthird is trying to grow, and also a Chetzip is trying to cross.  Also beneath Chet a strong flow from the west looks like it is trying to replace the strong flow from the south. Will it cross the Atlantic, or will the south flow halt it?  Stay tuned!

LOCAL VIEW  —Below zero tonight?—

A cold day made bearable by dropping winds and brilliant sunshine. I noticed my goats didn’t head out to browze on twigs much, prefering to stick with munching boring hay in a sunny place between the barn and shed, out of the wind.  It didn’t make it up to twenty up in our hills, though I noticed in the Merrimack River Valley cities like Concord, Manchester and Nashua did get just over twenty.  I forgot to reset our ancient, high-low thermometer so I know yesterday’s high was 26, but can only guess today’s was around 17.  (-8 Celsius.)  Now, at ten o’clock at night, it is down to 4.  (-16 Celsius.) That’s got my attention. I’ll leave the kitchen fausett dripping tonight, so the old pipes don’t freeze.

Went out to see my oldest grandchild in a performance of “Charlie Brown’s Christmas” tonight.  My wife had to twist my arm a little, as watching a bunch of twelve-year-old’s forget their lines isn’t my idea of high art.  However it was worth it, as the kids were not all that mortified about blowing their lines.  I suppose that is one good thing about modern kids having no shame.

I was struck by how dated Charlie Brown and the characters in “Peanuts” seem, in terms of Political Correctness. (Lucy is a bully and likely would be medicated.) And when Linus stood up and quoted the passage from Luke the auditorium became very quiet. I wondered if people were made awkward by the in-your-face, reason-for-the-season Christianity, and then was surprised by a crash of applause when the boy was finished.  Sometimes I think I don’t get out enough, and don’t really understand what young parents are thinking these days.

The snow was squeaky underfoot, and that’s a sure sign of true cold.  I was late letting the goats in, and they only one gave me the slightest bit of trouble about coming in.  I think that one just likes bright moonlight on snow.

A rocky 2 satsfc (3)

The map-maker’s messing with the fronts again.  To get a true picture of the arctic invasion the cold front across Florida to northern Yucatan needs to be extended as a stationary front across the Bay of Campeche (southernmost Gulf of Mexico,) and then curve north as a warm front inland in Mexico up to where Rocky is developing in west Texas, and from there north to where Chet4 is coming southeast in Montana.  That would neatly outline the huge high pressure sitting over the USA, imported from Siberia.

However perhaps they felt they needed to outline the boundary between the current high pressure and the next one, already bulging down from Canada.  That has some truely nasty cold at its core, down near minus forty and not likely to warm much coming south across snow, (though notice the northern lakes can still warm air right through their thin ice-cover.)  (Double click map to fully enlarge)

A rocky 2 gfs_t2m_noram_1

This the map Ryan Maue creates out of the GFS computer data.  (The 0000z run is midnight in England, and six PM here.) The GFS does all right with the initial run. After all, that predicts current weather. But it doesn’t seem to handle low-level cold air very well.  At the WeatherBELL site you can see a map of the 2 meter temperatures at six hour intervals, map after map after map, all the way out to 384 hours.  I decided to look  six hours ahead, which would be midnight my time.  It shows temperatures in the low teens here. Considering it is already down to 4 degrees, I think the forecast will be a bust.  In the same way, it is likely to underestimate the severity of the coming cold.

An interesting detail in the map above the above temperature map is the weak low pressure shown in southern Canada norwest of me.  It even has a stub of a warm front, though, as I am south of that front and it is only 4 degrees here, you know that warm front is only reletively warm.  However the interesting thing about that little storm is that I think it is largely created by the air rising from the warm waters of the Great Lakes. (The water is chilling swiftly, but still is above 40 in many places.) When air lifts it creates suction beneath, which drops the barometer, which alters the isobars, which alters the winds. There are times, before the lakes freeze (if they freeze at all; some winters they don’t,) that a weak front can get stronger, or a weak low get vigorous, simply due to these lakes and without any outside influence.

In any case, this is one heck of a cold-looking map. Our snow-loving friends in Europe must be green with envy, but I’m blue with cold, just thinking about tomorrow morning.  I’ve got to re-load the porch with firewood for when Rocky gets here on Saturday, and clean out the wood stoves both here and at the farm, and ready our coal stove for possible sub-zero blasts after Rocky, and put up heat-lamps for the goats and also the plumbing of the old farm-house.  To be frank, for a while I’m not the one in control of my life; the weather is.

DECEMBER 13  —Still no DMI—  —More Maue maps—

DMI Dec 13 pressure cmc_mslp_uv10m_arctic_1DMI Dec 13 cmc_t2m_arctic_1

Too busy. Will comment later.

UK Met map

UK Met Dec 13 10698716

Snow off map in middle east, as warmth starts to surge east into the Steppes.  They will get a break from winter, which they deserve, after last year. Second half of winter may be harsher.

Things are roughly the same, though shifted east. Scandinavia cooler with Morkson across and into Baltic.

LOCAL VIEW  —The before storm rush—

It never got any colder last night than the 4 degrees I noted at ten o’clock. Clouds came over from the Great lakes, and by sunrise we were actually getting “lake effect” snow, 500 miles from Lake Ontario. It was only the lightest dust, and the sky looked the palest blue, and the sun a bright smudge.  It warmed from 6 degrees at dawn-dusk to 15 at 8:30,  so perhaps that warm front on last night’s map deserved more respect than I gave it. However it is only 19, now at 10:30.

We are suppose to get a foot of snow from Rocky tomorrow night, so everyone is in a hurry today.  Rocky’s cloud shield is obvious on the map, but they haven’t drawn in any fronts yet.

A rocky 3 satsfc (3)


An interesting article caught my eye over at WUWT regarding the number of arctic storms. Considering we’ve been giving them ridiculous names for some time now, followers of this site are amateur experts on such storms, and likely are as fascinated as I am by the effect they have on the extent of sea-ice, the water temperature, the AMO and PDO, and weather further south.  During my free time (HA!) my free time I’ve been working on a hunch I have; I suppose you could call it a theory but mostly it is observations rather than the sort of science that involves difficult stuff like addition.

The comments I made at WUWT give a preview of the theory.  (The WUWT article is at


  1. Caleb says:

    “When a cyclone goes over water, it mixes the water up. In the tropical latitudes, surface water is warm, and hurricanes churn cold water from the deep up to the surface. In the Arctic, it’s the exact opposite: there’s warmer water below, and the cyclone churns that warm water up to the surface, so the ice melts.”

    It is much more subtle and complex than this statement suggests. There is not an unlimited amount of warm water to churn up. Once it is mixed up, a totally new sort of fluid-dynamics comes into play.

    Think to yourself, “How the heck can warm water be under cold water? Doesn’t the warm water rise and the cold water sink?” The answer is “Yes, but water also layers itself in terms of salinity, so salty water sinks and fresh water rises.”

    Only when the water is still and untroubled, (as it is when protected by ice,) can you get these delicate balances between salinity and temperature that allow warm water to build up below cold water, and boundaries such as the thermocline and pycnocline to be stable. The water slides in layers like shuffled cards. Once the ice is gone, it is like someone played 52-pick-up with the cards, and flung them in the air. “Churned up” barely describes the complete derangement that occurs to the system.

    And the result? The warm AMO switches over to the cold AMO, and a period of low-ice-extent gives way to a period of high-ice-extent. It seemingly takes roughly thirty years to swing from one extreme to the other, and thirty years to swing back again.

    I think the study of these arctic systems is quite valuable, in terms of being able to plan on (or make educated guesses at) the future warmth available for northern lands. (IE: Are we heading for a MWP or a LIA?) Unfortunately this study got all mixed up with the Global Warming balderdash. When the backlash against Global Warming rises, I fear the baby will get thrown out with the bathwater, and these arctic studies will get the ax.


    1.  Jake2 says:
    2. If we get these regularly, the arctic ice is going to be in poor shape.

       Caleb says:
    3. RE: Jake2 says:
      December 13, 2013 at 1:58 am

      The study suggests that in fact we do get such storms regularly. In fact we got at least two such polar gales last summer, but the ice didn’t melt nearly as much. Why not? I assume it is because the water beneath the ice was not nearly as warm in August 2013 as it was in August 2012. (This would also explain why the air temperatures north of eighty degrees were cooler as well.)

      What people fail to factor in is that once the water is “churned up,” there no longer is any warm water left below to churn up. Melting all that ice used up the heat, and the entire column of water is cooled. Further storms churn up cooler water, and the ice cannot melt to the same degree. Storms can smash up the ice, but this tends to pile the ice up more thickly in some areas while leaving patches of cooler open water between, which loses more heat and also forms new ice more quickly, once the sun sets in September.

      In terms of “volume,” the big storm of August, 2012 likely reduced volume, but the storms of 2013 likely saw volume remain roughly the same (or reduce only a little,) even though “extent” dipped.

      Last summer’s storms, and the failures of the smashed up bergs to melt, were real eye-openers to Alarmists and Skeptics alike, due to the fact the ice seemingly began the summer “in poor shape.” Not only was there a lot of “baby ice” due to the low extent of the prior summer, but that ice got smashed up by a gale in February, and wide leads were covered by ice even thinner than baby-ice, as it was formed after the February gale, in the brief tail-end of winter. Alarmists were licking their chops in anticipation of all this thin ice melting more swiftly than ice of more normal thickness, but it simply refused to do so. I confess I was amazed by how stubborn the ice proved to be. The only explanation that makes much sense to me is that the water under the ice was colder, due to being “churned up.”

      I think most of the melting at the Pole comes from beneath, and is due to the mysteries surrounding dramatic shifts in the northern tendrils of the Gulf Stream, which somehow relates to the warm and cold phases of the AMO. Please send me money in a brown paper bag so I can study this fascinating mystery further. (I have a rough idea of what is happening, but the devil is in the details.)


      DMI Dec 14 pressure cmc_mslp_uv10m_arctic_1DMI Dec 14 temp cmc_t2m_arctic_1


      I’ve been busy, and now when I play catch-up I look at the maps and am somewhat amazed how swiftly things change. It looks like Mork and Morkson have combined, moving inland off the Arctic Sea, but still raking Barents Sea with strong northeast winds.  Beneath them westerly winds are poring milder air over the Steppes, and western Siberia is milder than usual, however is doing what Siberia does, which is to take air and steadily, day by day, make it colder and colder.  The colder air in eastern Siberia is pouring out over the Pole, steered across to Canada by Tipzip, now straddling the Pole. The coldest air in the north is now on the Canadian side.(I notice a -59 F over eastern Northwest Territories.)

      In the Atlantic it is hard to say what is what. I assume Chet hung back and occluded south of Greenland. Morkthird/Chetzip moved up to Iceland. A new low in the west flow beneath Chet , “Chetson,”  is just outside the circle approaching Ireland and Great Britain.

      South of Alaska the low Chet 4 is just milling about, but pushing some Pacific air inland in North America, where it has been absent for a while.


      The sensationalist media is seemingly trying to make a four inch snowfall into a major blizzard. “If it bleeds it leads.”  I saw a headline, “110 million effected by hazardous travel!”  Well, as a 110 millionth I am not worried all that much.  It is winter. It snows. (click maps to enlarge)

      A rocky 5 satsfc (3)A rocky 5 rad_ec_640x480

      The old arctic front is still a ghost front across Florida (though they don’t draw it in.) They do draw in a little bit of a warm front and cold front in east Texas, where Rockson is lurking in the lee of Rocky, waiting to come east and up the coast tonight.

      More professional forecasters describe Rocky as an upper air low moving into the new arctic boundary,  and speak of energy swinging around the back-side (Chet 4’s other piece?)  That energy will cause the development of the secondary off the coast tonight.  While the development isn’t forecast to be as explosive as some storms, (so called “bombo-genesis,:) the coastal low on the GFS model drops from 1008 to 996 mb by Sunday morning, when we are likely to be getting heavy snow.


      Camel in snow Picture-22-2923462

      (By the way, don’t be fooled (as I was) by this photo-shopped fake picture of the pyramids in snow.  Well done, but who needs fakery when reality is so wonderfully odd?)

      Pyramid in snow faked me52ac506f

      I suppose this is what happens when really cold Siberian air tries to back west into Scandinavia, and is thwarted by the vigorous southwest flow of of a huge high pressure system. It has to go somewhere, so some heads north into the Arctic Sea, and some is simply rotated around the same high that made England balmy, and makes Bethlehem look like a Christmas card. But I’m praying for the poor refugees in camps in Syria; this is no time to be in a tent.

      QUICK GLANCE AT UK MET —The big high pressure starts to fade—

      UK Met Dec 14 10734290

      Although the upper air ridge is still putting up a fight, centered roughly from Greece up to Sweden, the onslaught of west winds from the Atlantic has eroded the western side, dimpling the 500 mb isobars with each cold front’s presence.  The west side of the ridge seems to be flattening out and becoming less dramatic, however the east side of the ridge is still pretty darn impressive in how far it digs and even cuts backwards a bit as a trough over the middle east.

      Chet is falling apart as it does one of those odd “morphistication” trips, over the southern icecap of Greenland.  Chetzip/Morkthird has moved north of Iceland to the east coast of Greenland, and looks ready to take up Chet’s energy that survives the ice-cap transit. (If a new now bombs out there I’m just going to call it Chet, and the heck with the complexity of all the other ingredients.)

      A pretty strong flow of westerlies is developing across the Atlantic, which has been rare this autumn, with the pattern so loopy.  We’ll see how long it lasts. Chetson is racing across and now involves that nest of fronts approaching Scotland, while Chetthird is racing across in its wake, though further south.

      Everything is relative. The “warm” air flooding east across the Steppes and southwestern Siberia is colder than the “cold” air shocking the Middle East.


      DMI Dec 14B pressure cmc_mslp_uv10m_arctic_1DMI Dec 14B temp cmc_t2m_arctic_1

      (These cool maps are Dr. Ryan Maue’s creation from data out of the Canadian model You can get a free week’s trial over at WeatherBELL, but I warn you that it is like a free week’s trial of heroin. There are thousands of maps in all. If you like maps more than numbers you will be like a kid in a candy shop.)

      It looks like a lot of the arctic air has been exported from Eurasia into Canada, and Alaska.  I notice some new and nasty cold on the Alaska north coast, with a -56 reported.  Tipzip is steering a lot of this across on the Bering Strait side, even as Tipzip seems to be getting sucked away from the Pole (the polar vortex is actually over the Pole for a change) into that mess of mophistication over and around Greenland.  I count fifteen lows in all, around Greenland, and if you think I am going to name them all, you’ve got another thing coming.  For crying out aloud!  It’s the weekend!  I’m suppose to be resting!

      It is interesting how the flow is strongly west to east south of Greenland and Iceland, does a sharp left turn at the British Isles, and is strongly north to south west of Scandinavia.  East of Scandinavia the flow plunges back south all the way down to the Middle East, but if you go further east to the other side of the elongated Mork/Morkson system (remember when it was west of Morroco?) you can see the mild flood up into the Steppes. (Mild being only “slightly” below freezing.)

      There is something peculiar about this flood, which may be in some way related to a “stratospheric warming event” which is developing far overhead, extending down to the east coast of China.  Such events are often indicative of arctic outbreaks, but, considering the arctic is already breaking, and also considering it isn’t even winter yet, who knows what this one is indicating, if it fully develops?

      Below is Ryan Maue’s map of the 500 mb level of the arctic, from GFS data, with above-normal pressures in red and below-normal in blue. Unfortunately GFS insists on having everything upside down, (Greenland and Scandinavia are at the top, Bering Straits at the bottom.)  In any case, you can see the ridge that has been effecting Europe and the Middle East at the top, and the odd Siberian upper-air flow in the lower left.  Don’t ask me what to make of it; I’m just observing. (Click Maue Maps twice to fully enlarge)

      DMI Dec 14 gfs_z500_sig_arctic_1

      A LOCAL VIEW   —First big snow is swirling outside—

      (Click maps to enlarge.)

      A rocky 7 satsfc (3)A rocky 7 rad_ne_640x480 (1)

      We almost made it through a daylight without snow today, as the the sun shone dimly through a sky of bad milk, gone grayish. The cold was fierce, as it never made it up to twenty.  (My back porch thermometer recorded a low last night of 5 and a high today of 15; (-15 to -9.4 Celsius.) I was done rushing, having done that yesterday (when we snow all day, from the Great Lakes, amounting to only a tenth of an inch.)  I just did my ordinary Saturday chores, fitting in a few relaxed activities such as a morning men’s breakfast at a church down in Massachusetts, and also picking up two Christmas Trees for thirty dollars apiece.  (Trees cost a hundred down in Boston, but they don’t dare charge that up here, where people can still walk into the woods and cut one.) I set up one tree at home, and on at the Childcare.  Now both places are made delectable with the aroma of Balsam Fir.

      Again it was easy getting the goats in to their stalls, for they sensed it was no night to stay out, for by then a bitter cold snow had started drifting down as the sun disappeared into deepening greyness, swiftly turning to charcoal darkness before four, as we are at the earliest sunsets of the year. (One mystery I have never understood is why the earliest sunsets occur so long before the latest sunrises.)

      My old bones are now telling me pressures are starting to fall, as the arctic push is followed, as had been the case all autumn in the east of the USA, by a counter attack from the south.  Ar noon that ghost front, ignored across Florida on morning maps, reappeared as a warm front pushing north from southern Alabama through central Georgia and then up the Carolina coasts and out to sea at Cape Hatteras. The above evening map shows it all the way up to Maryland, and latest data shows temperatures up to 54 in Cape May, New Jersy, however north of there is a brick wall of cold.  Temperatures in both Montreal and Halifax are only 3 degrees, and my back porch themometer shows no northward rush of warm air, for temperatures have fallen to 11 degrees.  Even down in Hamden, just north of NewHaven on Long Island Sound, temperatures are at 17, but just across the Sound on Long Island temperatures are in the 40’s.   And just sixty miles from my back porch temperatures in Boston are twenty degrees warmer, at 31.

      The map shows Rocky undergoing the process I call “morphistication,” when it happens up in Greenland. He is shrinking in Ohio even as he reappears over Maryland. (“Beam me up, Scottie.”)

      This is one time it seems unwise to think of storms as entities, as balls rolling through the atmosphere, for the isobars are changing in a way too fast and fluid for such comparisons.  However I think computer models may be betraying a bias towards the rolling-ball mentality, for they show the new Rocky moving north as if the wall of arctic air didn’t exit straight ahead.

      What might happen instead is Rocky will continue to “redevelop” along the boundary between stubborn, entrenched arctic air. Just as he shrunk over Ohio he can shrink over Maryland, and just as he reappeared over Maryland he can reappear east of Boston. (Current models show him going west of Boston and over me.)

      Long-time observers of New England weather have seen many forecasts made to look foolish by the abrupt appearance of a so-called “coastal front.”

      Rather than swinging to the south winds just inland from the coast remain stubbornly from the north, and do so to a degree where it creates a sort of notch in the isobars, and the nor’easter is swerved by the notched isobars.

      On the radar map you can see a “snow hole” southwest of me down in Connecticut.  When snow ceases it often is indicative of air that is not rising and building clouds and snow, but rather sinking and creating a local zone of higher pressure.  Higher pressure situated there would shunt the storm east, and force forecasters to scurry about adjusting forecasts.

      I sure am glad I don’t forecast, and merely observe.

      LOCAL VIEW  — The advent is over—

       “And so it begins…”

      To go look at my back porch thermometer I had to shovel a path through ten inches of dry but dence snow.  It only made it up to 16 degrees.  So much for the warm air pushing this far north. It looks like Rocky got shunted over to the coastline.

      A rocky 8 satsfc (3)A rocky 8 rad_ne_640x480 (1)

      Before I close down this post and start the next, I should point out what is coming down the arctic front in the lee of the Canadian Rockies.  That clipper seems to have a fair amount of Pacific moisture inserted, swirled east under the Chet 4 remnant that has been stalled in the Gulf of Alaska.  I think it may also have gained some subtle push from Tipzip colliding with the Arctic coast after its cross-polar jaunt.  Therefore I am going to name this new clipper, “Tipzipclip.”  (If you don’t like it, please feel free to suggest a better name in the comments.)

      Sunset today is at 4:12 PM in Boston, which is as early as it gets.  By Tuesday it will be setting at  4:13, (although the shortest day is still a week away, and the latest sunrise is not until around Jan 4.) So in a manner of speaking you could say light is returning, and advent is over.  (Also the wait for my granddaughter to be born is over as well.)

      Also the wait for Hudson Bay to freeze over is nearly over.  Though that big bay will continue to warm through the thin ice, its ability to warm air, generate moisture, and steer storms is greatly reduced, and we are increasingly open to the most frigid “Montreal Express” north winds.  Although the advent is over, the battle has just begun.

      Extent Dec 15 arcticicennowcast (1)

      Notice how both entrance regions to the Arctic Sea, the Bering Strait and Barents Sea, remain open, which prevents stratification of the water and promotes deeper mixing.  My guess is that the water in the Arctic Sea is made colder by this process, and we’ll see the effects of this during the melt next summer.  However there sure is no melting occurring now, and the area of ice has doubled in size since September.

      Also notice the ice has been pushed away from Iceland west into the coast of Greenland. Likely that ice is condenced and thick. And that reminds me: I have neglected to report on the doings of the iceberg which once held our North Pole Camera. I’ll have to do that, before I close down this post and begin the next one.


      Our poor, battered Forkuoy still occasionally admits its location, admist its garbled data. At midnight on Dec 8 it was at 72.387°N,  9.128°W, and at midnight on the 13th it was at 72.412°N, 10.606°W. (During that week it stopped and briefly moved back north, just as Forkarma did.)  Total movement was 31.06 miles to the southwest, which is surprising, as earlier we were moving that distance in a single day.

      Early on the 13th our Forkarma was at 72.60 N, 14.48 W  (no time stamp available) which places it 82 miles from the Forkuoy it once sat 300 yards away from.  They are at roughly the same latitude, but the Forkarma has been crushed much farther west.  Temperatures were at -11.42 C at the Forkarma on the 13th, and then nearly broke the freezing mark  on the 14th, with temperatures up to -0.91 C.

      Today our Forkarma is at 72.64 N, 15.06 W, with temperatures back down to -6.49 C.  A slight drift back to the east has ended, and we are now across 15 degrees longitude. Movement in the past few days has been 12.34 miles to the south-southwest.

      Although the ice has “thinned” down in Denmark Strait, where we are headed, it likely is in fact thicker and just packed more closely to shore.  I’m wondering if the crunch against the shore might be slowing our movement. Time will tell.

      I think I’ll end this post with a picture from Istamble Turkey of a snow-covered mosque.  It is such a lovely sight one could even believe peace on earth was a possibility, and religions could actually co-exist.

      But lets see if my hopeful attitude holds, as I go spend the rest of my day shoveling and snow-blowing.  I wonder if I’ll still be calling the snow “lovely.”

      This post will be continued at

      Turkey snow BbNoTQjIYAAQKRt_jpg_large


25 thoughts on “ARCTIC SEA-ICE RECOVERY; ADVENT (December 2-15, 2013)

  1. Could i just say that i was very happy to hear your good news , hope all is well for your clever girls !! Best Wishes Anthony

  2. I found this on Bloomberg and thought it interesting that others are now naming their storms like you 😉
    “The low pressure system, dubbed Xaver, may reach hurricane force with wind speeds of more than 140 kilometers (87 miles) an hour, according to the German Weather Service. Xaver traversed southern parts of the North Sea before reaching land on the northern German and Danish coast earlier this afternoon”.

  3. Congratulations! Good to hear your daughter and grandbaby are doing fine. I thought of sending a tongue-in-cheek warning about grandchildren and their effect on aging grandparents, but then realized you stay fit with interactions at your childcare. My daughter decided to have children when my wife and I were in the early/mid 60s and I’m sure she is tired of hearing our good natured complaint that having them 10 years earlier would have been easier on aging bodies. They are now 6 and 3 and seem to move a lot faster with more energy then I recall when ours were that age:-). They are a joy.

    Re the front range chill, the Air Force Academy where my daughter is located, had a max today of 5deg after a min of -10deg with periods of light snow, and a good breeze to make it even more brisk. And re Xaver, Ryan Maue was showing it “bombing out” at 955mb in the North Sea before heading east.

    • Thanks for the congratulations, though I did nothing but pace about and wring my hands for the past week.

      Actually my oldest son got started early, have his first of three children when he was only nineteen, so I did get to horse around with grandchildren when it “was easier on my aging body.” However for some reason I didn’t worry about my daughter-in-law like I did with my daughter. Maybe it was because my daughter-in-law is a no-nonsense sort of woman, and also a physical therapist with a lot of the training that goes into being a nurse. My eldest daughter looks a lot like my wife, so I expected labor to be long and difficult, like it was with my wife. (Children are a joy, but labor is not.) However, as quite often is the case with worry, I was making a mountain out of a molehill. Things were (comparatively) easy for my daughter.

      That is a pretty amazing blast of cold coming down to Texas, for this early. It isn’t winter yet, after all. I hope your daughter has some warm arctic gear. (In my old age I find clothing makes a huge difference, and bother with bundling up much more than I did when young and hot-blooded.)

      The UK Met map shows “Tipzip AKA Xaver” as a 967 mb low over southern Norway, blasting Denmark. What is really amazing is how quickly it blew up out of nothing. It didn’t even exist on yesterday morning’s map, and on the evening map was only a 1010 mb low across the Atlantic. That old expression, “What a difference a day makes” really seems to apply to the North Atlantic. The guys who dare be out on that sea this time of year have to have a crazy streak.

      Thanks for commenting. It is always good to hear from you.

  4. Its all relative … I laughed when I read your comment about being cold at 17F which I think is about -9C … we’ve been in the deep freeze at -30 to -25C for a week and are over joyed at it warming to -10C.
    Same with the shovelling a couple of inches … Sunday was a couple of inches every 2 to 3 hours … 4 times although the last was likely only an inch. Luckily we get dry fluffy light snow at these cold temperatures.
    Take it easy and have you got one of the new super light plastic shovels. Way better than the steel or aluminium back breakers of my youth.
    Be good Caleb.

    • Hi Stewart. Where are you hailing from? Somehow I got the idea you were up in Calgary, but now it sounds like you are describing lake-effect snows.

      Thinking about the conditions you experience, and the mild conditions Anthony described over in England, inspired this morning’s post about how I ought not complain, because in New Hampshire we actually are getting “Goldilocks Snows.”

      I have a feeling this winter will not have many thaws. Joe Bastardi was talking about some sort of Pacific controlling-factor giving way to an Atlantic controlling-factor, and this year it just so happens that both factors bring cold to North America east of the Rockies.

      We’ll see what we see. The good thing about a bad winter is it allows you to brag for decades afterwards.

      • Caleb … home is indeed Calgary but I’m fortunate enough that I also have a condo on the ski hill at Fernie BC and so that is where I am now but all the shovelling was indeed Calgary before I hit the road on Tuesday to return to my “gravity research” station. I really enjoy some of your posts as we are almost the same age and our lives have been lived through identical life experiences at the same age (I’m april 1954 b’day) but quite different paths. Am I making any sense with that statement. It is interesting and somewhat strange that we share a similar interest in weather / climate. I had taken a climatology course well studying to be a geologist and liked it enough to have the thought that I would’ve changed fields but I had invested too much effort towards the geology career path. However the weather interest provides lots of amusement in my quiet times since the computer / internet allows easy access to so much good stuff.
        You have convinced me to give myself the weatherbell subscription for xmas since you seem to enjoy / use it so much 😉

  5. Went for a Christmas dinner at the pub today , didnt even have to put my coat on !! saw a bee flying around yesterday and there are just a few cherry blossoms on my tree outside . Still waiting to see a decent frosting on the grass . So annoying to see snow falling in countries many hundreds of miles south from here , so it looks like another green Christmas coming up – just what do we have to do in England to get some snow ( other than wait until Spring of course ) ?

    • Hi Anthony. Sounds like your cherry tree is confused!

      You may be getting a winter like we got last year: Snowless first half; clobbered second half, (though we did get a dusting for Christmas, which was nice.) I was still driving around in my pasture in my pick-up truck getting firewood in mid-January, last year, but this year I’m already trudging about pulling a sled. By mid February you couldn’t see the tops of chairs due to the deep snow.

      Joe Bastardi and Joseph D’Aleo are both suggesting that the current cold pattern could switch to a different cold pattern, so that we get both halves of the winter wintry this year, on this side of the Pond. As I recall they suggested you get colder and snowier weather on your side of the pond, once the second pattern kicks in.

      Hopefully it won’t wait until cherry blossoms are suppose to come out, before it kicks in.

      And hopefully the current pattern shifts east or flattens out, or does whatever it takes to give you a nice snow on Christmas. And best wishes for the holidays!

  6. Best wishes for you and yours too Caleb , i promise that as soon as it does snow here in the English midlands i will let you know , in the meantime i have to look at my Christmas cards to see snow . You spoke of chairs being buried in snow , well great exitement here during the ‘great storm’ last week , both chairs on the grass outside blew over – imagine that !! How we cope I really dont know ………

  7. Hi Caleb. I’m glad to see that it looks like things are working out around here… without any of my help, lol. Wow, great detail I see in your Arctic coverage, though I haven’t had time to read it, though I did skim a tiny bit, and I imagine in some sense you have hit pay dirt as all your Arctic weather has rolled down over the United States. Good stuff, so I got to remember to give you call out in wuwt or Real Science or wherever. Speaking of Real Science, Steven did a post about the warmist Serreze saying that there’s no evidence that 2013 marks the start of continued Arctic recovery, my comment:

    Well, isn’t it fairly well established now that the Arctic ice has varied with the Atlantic Multidecadal & the Pacific Decadal Oscillation (AMO PDO) cycles. Like, Arctic ice was just reaching a new maximum around 1979 after the cycle switched, and now the cycle has switched again so we should see the Arctic ice gain from here on. So, cry Chicken Little cry.

    Now the Arctic andAntarctic are gaining ice mass. But in theory soon the Antarctic sea ice extent will start to decline (talk to Joe Bastardi about this), and the Arctic will gain real massive ice extents, and the befuddled fear mongering ecogeeks will scratch their heads and… and then, and then: “LOOK!!! Look at Antarctica, losing sea ice, like our models say. Forget about the measly Arctic.. Antarctica is much more important and its being melted away by CO2!” Um, minor problems, people aren’t going to be so stupid then, and the temperatures world wide are going to be going down down down. Oh, “LOOK, it’s climate change, it’s NOT global warming, never was. Look at Antarctica, not the Arctic, not your freezing back yard. Buy a Prius!”

    • Hi Eric! When I abruptly got 40 hits from Steve Goddard’s site I wondered if you might be behind it, so I back tracked and found out you mentioned my site. However I was puzzled to see no comment on my site from you, so I checked my Span bin, and lo and behold, there your comment resided.

      I have absolutely no idea why you are regarded as spam by my site. I find it a bit annoying, for I don’t know if I missed any messages in the past. (My spam bin automatically dumps every now and then; I should check it more often.)

      I am inclined to agree that the ice grows and shrinks in a cycle, and the last switch was around 1979. I think it is sheer foolishness to ignore the ample evidence of prior warm cycles, as well as cold cycles. Likely it is based on politics, and I don’t want to go there right now. (Maybe later in the evening, after a few beers, I can get raving, however I’d like to avoid it for a week or too, and merely dote on a new granddaughter. I’ll leave the battlefield to you for a bit. I haven’t gone AWOL, as I have my leave papers here somewhere….(sound of many papers moving about on desk.)

      What really fascinates me is the subject of what makes up the switch, and what flips the switch, from more-ice to less-ice and back. I actually think the mechanics are fairly basic, however I don’t know a bleeping thing about fluid dynamics, and have a ton to learn.

      However I also think it is happening right before our eyes. It is really cool that we have so many gadgets observing the Pole, as we are seeing things our grandfathers could only dream of seeing.

      Anyway, great to hear from you, and enjoy the wild winter!

  8. Linked here from WUWT. Very fine writing; I find myself tracking thru early December, and being enlightened and fascinated — though it’s tough dredging up the scraps of meteorology needed to understand a lot of it.

    For the first and last time, I will inflict a lamerick{sic} on you:

    A meteorologist in balmy New Hampshire
    Writes of Arctic highs in something like rapture;
    When they smash down from the north
    He runs back and forth,
    Saying, “That was a good’un, fer damshure!”

    • Thanks! One so seldom reads any truly inspiring poetry, these days.

      My wife wondered what I was chuckling about, and when she read your “lamrick” a big smile spread across her face like an April dawn. That is not an easy thing to do, on a Monday morning, and is proof your poetry is profound.

      Write another one.

      • When the expiration (inverse inspiration) strikes. It’s hard getting the staggered scansion just wrong, so it almost and irritatingly seems right! (That’s the defining glory of a good lamerick).

      • Oops. Not a lamerick, but a disreputable relative:

        When an Arctic low
        Sags down below
        It piles up snow,
        Doncha know,
        Such fun!
        To shovel, or blow.

  9. Check out for ” near real-time currents of Earth’s wind using data from the U.S. National Weather Service”. Drag and zoom (scroll button).

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