This is a continuation of a series of posts, the last of which was, https://sunriseswansong.wordpress.com/2013/12/28/arctic-sea-ice-recovery-the-cold-builds/
(I hope to find time to write an introduction for first-time-visitors later.)
JANUARY 7 —DMI AFTERNOON MAPS—
(Note. I am having trouble loading things from the web. I’m not sure what the problem is. Can’t find any virus, and the traffic on the web isn’t that much at five AM. Cold Wave? Solar Storm?)
(Note: Monday morning: Problem resolved. Don’t ask me how; it just “got better.”)
LOCAL VIEW —
JANUARY 8 —DMI MORNING MAPS—
Canadian side of the high pressure is gone, opening route for new Atlantic to Pacific invasion. See the narrow spoke of milder temperatures streaming up towards the Pole on the temperature map.
Likely this air is rushing in to fill the void left when all the -bleeping- cold stuff headed south the freeze my -bleeping -bleep- off.
I don’t have time to think or dream about maps.
JANUARY 8 —AFTERNOON DMI MAPS—
UK MET MAP
LOCAL VIEW —Too cold to think—
This kind of bitter arctic blast is not conducive to intellectual wit. I did manage to finish my essay, but mostly I simply endured. The worst was Tuesday morning, when temperatures went down through the single numbers as the sun came up. I did try a few outside chores, but the sheer pain in my fingers due to cold decided me upon getting some paperwork done inside. It was down to zero by nine on Tueday night, but then just stayed there, only dropping a hair below zero by Wedensday morning. Then the wind dropped and temperatures rose through the teens. In the afternoon it was mild enough to take the older kids on a two mile hike over the ice of the flood control through channels between cattails to a beaver dam, where they could stand on top of a beaver lodge out on a pond. You could tell the beavers were in, because frost from their breath was venting up up through the sticks at the top of the lodge and making those branches frosty.
(Photo credit to Don Nelson @ . http://www.jon-nelson.com/quetico-wildlife ) (The beaver lodge we looked at was three times as high above the water.)
JANUARY 9 —DMI MORNING MAPS—
Yo-yo and Yo-son are the huge gale that headed up the wrong side of Greenland, and some of what I call morphistication is going on, creating the low north of Greenland which I suppose I’ll call “Yo-morph.” A Svalbard to Alaska cross-polar flow is setting up, injecting a tongue of milder air over the Pole. This is causing the DMI polar temperature graph to spike, but that graph doesn’t include the minus fifty air over Siberia, much of the cold toward the Bearing Strait, and the cold over Canada. Over snow-cover that cold is getting no warmer and in some cases is generating further cold.
The Icelandic low is weaker and has settled southeast.
QUICK GLANCE AT UK MET MAP
Ming is much weaker east of Norway, as Yo-zip crosses England heading for the Baltic. Yo-son is crashing into western Greenland and the mystery of morphistication is occurring; it looks like part of the storm is blobbing north of Greenland while part is blobbing south. In between is a lobe of high pressure Europeans should distrust.
Call it ominous foreshadowing, but it is a hint of what is coming for the second half of Europe’s winter, I think. Notice the cold winds just clipping the very top of Scandinavia, coming east from Siberia. That lobe of high pressure is the Snout of Igor poking east. (Cue the ominous movie music, that you always hear when something is going to jump out and go “Boo!”)
Some are saying winter is over in Europe. On his excellent blog at WeatherBELL, Joe Bastardi was examining the winter of 1993-1994, and produced two maps from that winter, showing Europe’s warm January, followed by a bitter cold February, especially for the north. (Click to enlarge images.)
In the words of Yogi Berra, “It ain’t over ’til it’s over.”
LOCAL VIEW —COLD RELENTING SLOWLY—
6:30 AM: It is 8 degrees (-13 Celsius) but feels milder. It’s hard to explain, and seems to be more than just the wind, but Tuesday morning it was 8 degrees and unbearable, and today the same temperature is not that bad.
Hope to comment more, but need to open the Childcare.
10:00 AM: Up to 18 degrees, and suddenly life’s not such an ordeal. (Which is likely the reason I’m writing. The pity of an ordeal is that, when you are in the middle of one, you can’t write about it, so there are few first-hand-accounts. By the time you can write it is over, and in the past, and memory sees through rosy glasses. The cool thing about an ordeal is the complete lack of roses. It is life at its starkest, and you’re midst a chance to test your philosophy.) (It is easy to believe in God and goodness when the sun is shining.)
I have to run right out again as the warm up and Pacific air moving in to western Canada will push east, and often such a “warm up” means snow. Usually preceding the thaw, but sometimes even during the thaw if temperatures don’t get much above freezing, I have need of a snow-blower, and mine is broken. So I can’t sit about and write, much as I’d like to.
JANUARY 9 —DMI AFTERNOON MAPS—
New and interesting things are happening. Usually the wind has come down the coast of Greenland from the north, but now it has reversed. The ice must be grinding and moaning and creaking, as it all stops heading south and starts back north for a bit.
Largely the Atlantic is still blocked from pouring into the Arctic by the flow of east winds from Norway to Iceland to Greenland, but a slender tendril heads up the Greenland coast and right over the Pole, where “Yo-morph” is seemingly sucking up that moisture and using it to continue as a tight little feature. However this tendril of mildness is on one side of a crescent-shaped ridge of high pressure, and the other side of that high pressure has been dragging cold air west along the arctic coast towards Scandinavia for a week, and now it looks like it is starting to arrive. As inland temperatures don’t show up well on the DMI map, I’ll stick in Dr. Ryan Maue’s WeatherBELL map of the Canadian JEM model’s initial run. (Double click to fully enlarge.)
Note the incredible reservoir of cold building in eastern Siberia.
Also note the mild south winds have also pushed up on the west side of Greenland, likely crushing and jamming that ice north as well.
QUICK GLANCE AT UK MET
“Ming” is but a shadow of the giant Icelandic low it once was, and seems to be getting sucked into the flow of Yo-zip as it moves from the English Channel into the Baltic. Notice the easterly flow over the top of these lows, and the ridge of high pressure nosing down towards Denmark Strait, between Greenland and Iceland.
This is creating a new pattern which may be fleeting, but may be hinting at the future. The flow over the north of Europe is from the east and cold, and further south it from the west and is polar maritime. It is quite different from the southwest flow that spared Europe high heating bills the first half of winter.
Something to keep an eye on, at any rate.
LOCAL VIEW —Major Distraction—
I should be paying attention to the warm up which could make a slushy mess of our arctic landscape. Observe how the Pacific air has conquered the Canadian Rockies, and looks like it might bring Chinook benevolence east, in this map:
If I was entirely sensible, (which I am not,) I would be taking steps to prepare for slush. To some degree I am, but I could do better. However the essay I mentioned a while back I was working on was printed on “What’s Up With That,” which is the (in my opinion) best and most open-minded site there is, concerning the current discussion between Alarmists and Skeptics, concerning the once-upon-a-time “safe” subject: The Weather.
There have already been over seventy-five comments about my essay, (also printed on this obscure blog, with no comments so far.) I cannot express how this tickles me.
Most writers are familiar with the experience of telling people, “I have written something,” and seeing people flee. You know who your best friends are, because they don’t stampede away and jam the doorways in their haste to escape reading, let alone commenting, however, because they are best friends, and their expressions are so pained, you don’t follow with, “Would you like to read it.”
Saying, “I have written something,” is a bit like saying, “I have two tickets to a movie.” When I was young, and the girl I was speaking to adopted a pained expression when I said, “I have two tickets to a movie,” I would not ask the follow-up question of, “Would you like to go to it with me?”
Over the years I have gotten used to writing stuff no one will read. Writing something and having seventy-five comments is unusual. I find it hard to retain my poise. It is a bit like saying, “I have two tickets to a movie,” and having seventy-five girls say, “Take me!” (Not that I have any idea what that would be like. My guess is it would be distracting.)
In any case, my essay can be seen, along with lots of comments, here:
JANUARY 10 —DMI MORNING MAPS—
LOCAL VIEW —Some are surprised—
Everyone has been talking about the coming warm up, but not possible snow. Well, it is snowing out, and that’s extra work for me. See ya later.
SANUARY 10 —DMI AFTERNOON MAPS—
When pulling the oars of a rowboat I often was fascinated by the whirlpool left behind the blade of the oar, as it stroked through the water. In a sense the arctic high that slammed south into the USA was the blade of the oar, and Yo-yo and yo-son coming north on the wrong side of Greenland was like the whirlpool behind the oar. It has two small sons, one which went north of Greenland, “Yo-morph,” and one squeezed towards Greenland, “Yosonzip.” Altogether they are creating a cross-polar-flow from Iceland past Savalbard and the Pole to Alaska. The temperature map shows not all that much Atlantic air is involved, and only a tentative thread of mildness crosses the Pole, growing cooler as it makes the passage.
This collection of lows has dented the high pressure that was over the Pole into a cresant surounding the Pole, ridging in a curve over the coast of Eurasia. The south side of that ridge is backing Siberian air back towards Europe.
QUICK GLANCE AT UK MET
“Yo-zip” has crossed the Baltic Sea. East winds to the north of it, west winds to the south. This pattern may be fleeting now, but it well become more established by late January.
The low appearing in the lower left has no name, so I’ll dub it “Yo-third.” It will try to reestablish the old pattern and the Icelandic High, but it will be weaker and further south.
LOCAL VIEW —THE PACIFIC CHARGES—
(click maps to enlarge)
The Chinook is meeting little resistance as it comes east as the arctic high pressure moves off shore. The boundary is clearly marked by cloud in the weather map, and by rain in the radar map. It is always surprising to me how swiftly and easily such air comes east some times, whilst other times it can’t dent the arctic air and actually is shoved back west. A greater understanding of upper air “steering currents” helps, but I prefer to be down to earth and superficial and see things as the surface map sees.
(Why? Because, as a writer, I spend far too much time with my head in the clouds as it is. I need to be down to earth more. If I studied upper air maps my impractical side would get totally out of line.)
Actually I have wanted to be impractical all day, but winter is a good cure for that tendency. We had a couple of ghost-fronts pass over as the warm air started moving in, with nearly an inch of snow at sunup, just as children were leaving for school, and a sudden half inch just as schools were letting out. These episodes of swift, heavy snow made the roads briefly treacherous, as the snow was no longer the squeaky powder that supplies decent traction, but the moist snow that packs down into a surface like grease. As the last rain, followed by an arctic blast, created surfaces of ice, and as the dust of new snow on those surfaces makes them amazingly slippery, I got to see adults walking in an absurd manner, as if they had nitroglycerin in their breast pockets, and also got to see asmall and careless children fall down left and right like bowling pins. Also I had to rush out to sweep off places custoners walk, and throw salt about. Then, shortly after the snow ended, all that frenetic work seemed silly, for a thaw was setting in, and pavements that were so tretcherous an hour earlier were suddenly but wet and bare.
My schedule was busy enough without extra work, and I didn’t get to be what I am, which is a writer. Sigh. However I never wanted to be one of those writers who haven’t a clue what ordinary people endure, and days like today is the price I pay.
I didn’t even get the time to study the hundred comments under my article over at WUWT. Sigh.
JANUARY 11 —DMI MORNING MAPS—
LOCAL VIEW —An east coast Chinook—
The cold hung in stubbornly over night and into the morning. Temperatures might have nudged above freezing yesterday afternoon, but slid back enough over night to glaze everything over with freezing drizzle at dawn, and then reluctantly rose into the mid thirties. A cold fog lay over the snow-cover, a sort of snow-eater, (because when fog condenses on snow, (the way humid air condenses on the side of a cool drink on a summer day,) the latent heat in that fog is released, further melting the snow. (Think of it this way: It takes heat to boil water on your stove and turn it into steam. That heat remains in the steam as long as the steam remains gas, but is released when the steam turns back into water. That is why steam burns more than boiling water; the steam has extra heat in it.)
Anyway, while I was thinking about latent heat and fifty other scattered subjects, as my mind is out of focus these days, I heard a roaring in the trees, growing louder and louder, until one big gust came charging through, blowing away all the fog and raising the temperature from 36 to 50 in a matter of minutes.
Of course it is nothing like a Rocky Mountain Chinook, which raises temperatures five times as much, from zero to sixty, at times. However it was spectacular charge, for watered down east-coast weather. It was as if some wizard had cast a spell, and evetrhing changed with a single roar of wind, for after that the wind calmed back down, and the fog came creeping back out from where it had hidden, and the scene was the same, only far warmer.
This ought to nicely resurface the ice, before the next arctic blast.
JANUARY 11 —DMI AFTERNOON MAPS—
(I’ll comment Tomorrow)
UK MET MAP
(I’ll comment tomorrow.)
JANUARY 12 —DMI MORNING MAPS—
The crescent of high pressure persists along the Siberian coast, extending into the Atlantic, with the unusual southerly flow pushing sea ice back up onto Fram Strait, and also bringing some milder Atlantic air up into the arctic the “wrong” way, on the Greenland side rather than up over Scandinavia. Scadinavia is actually getting cold east winds from the southern side of that crescent, as the northern side’s cross-polar-flow curves from Svalbard to Bering Strait. The movement into that strait prevents any Pacific air from invading. (In fact the Pacific air, balked from coming north, has headed straight east across the USA.) Joe Bastardi speaks of a “dam” stopping the Siberian air from crossing into Alaska, and shows upper-air maps of how that dam works, and when it is likely to break and release the floods of arctic air again. (End of January.)
In the mean time the cold is building on the Bering Strait side of the Pole, and is slightly moderated on the Atlantic side, though the real winter threat to Europe is not from the Arctic Sea to the north, but from Igor in Siberia to the east.
Anither interesting feature on this map is the low just north of Canada. That low, a mix of Yo-yo, Yo-son and Yo-morph, basically swirled up there in the wake of at huge, frigid high pressure that rolled south and froze the socks off the USA east of the Rockies. It attempted to bring warmth straight north, up Baffin Bay and either side of Greenland, however that warmth couldn’t tansit the mountains and ice caps, at the surface, judging from the temperature maps. Some of the coldest air in the arctic is right where that warm air invaded. The warm air lokely is aloft, and creating the upper-air flow that is damming the arctic and allowing the cold to rebuild.
QUICK LOOK AT UK MET MAP
Yo-third is trying to form a new Icelandic low, but at this point is smaller and further south, and the east-side south-winds are not the huge, dominating power that earlier Icelandic Lows demonstrated. Ireland has south winds, but the rest of Europe is split between east winds to the north and west winds to the south, which I think is a hint of what is in store for February. (Hope to write more later, but I need to go to choir practice.)
JANUARY 11 —AFTERNOON DMI MAPS—
The Svalbard to Bering Strait cross-polar-flow continues, between the Snout of Igor over east Siberia and “Yo-morph” over Canada. This flow is starting to draw some modified Atlantic air over the pole and on towards Bering Strait. This divides the really frigid air into two sectors, Asian and American. This time of year, with the sun still at its lowest and those lands snow-covered, those lands are quite capable of losing heat and “generating” cold without any help from the Pole. To only look at Polar temperatures gives a false impression of what Old Man Winter has up his sleeve.
It is likely helpful to go to the WeatherBELL site and grab one of Dr. Ryan Maue’s maps, as they better show the lands adjacent to the Arctic Sea. (I’ll grab the Canadian Jem map which has the Pole like the DMI map.) (Double click to fully enlarge.)
(Maue has the really vicious cold be the hue of sky-blue and sky-blue-pink, with the pink the wonderful temperature of minus-forty, where all is harmony and Fahrenheit and Celsius agree.) This map makes it fairly clear it isn’t the Pole generating the really cold air. It is the Tundra and Taiga. Not even the icecap of Greenland, up ten thousand feet, is as cold. (Partly this is because the cold Greenland generates flows downhill, being cold and heavy, and therefore it can never just sit and grow colder, but rather drains off the icecap.)
The real monster on this map is Igor, over Siberia. Air can just sit and get colder over Siberia, untroubled by a (reletively) warm sea under a skim of ice, and therefore it is not the North Pole that holds the records for the coldest temperatures. The North Pole seldom gets down to minus-forty. However when Igor pounds his chest temperatures can sink as low as minus-seventy.
Canada and Alaska cannot match Igor, for the Arctic Sea is staggered over to their side of the Pole. You can see the fierce cold they are generating is thinner in area than Igor. However it is important to remember they are not dependent on Igor, or the Pole. They are doing it all by themselves. Do not discount their power, when the cross-polar-flow segregated America from Igor.
However Igor rules. Igor is a huge monster of winter, in January. I am all for segregation, when it segregates me from Igor. His weight of cold presses down and must spread outwards, and if it doesn’t spread this way then it must spread another. If he spreads south China and Korea and Japan know their worst winter cold. If he spreads west then look out, Europe. (Only a hint of his worst is leaking west across Scandinavia now, but the DMI map shows the coldest air temperatures off Norway’s west coast we’ve seen.)
Even when ice-covered, the Arctic Ocean can warm Igor’s winds if the cross-polar-flow heads for America. The air may start out at minus-seventy, but it will arrive in Alaska or Canada warmed twenty or thirty degrees, as the water under the ice is a full hundred degrees warmer than the air, and we have witnessed how mobile and flexable the arctic sea is, and how it often cracks and exposes open water called “leads.” (Actual clouds of steam called “sea smoke” rise from frigid water, when the water is a hundred degrees warmer than the air.)
The worst case scenario happens for Canada and the USA when the cross-polar-flow takes its shortest trajectory across the Arctic Sea, skipping the Pole and instead cutting across the now-frozen-over Bering Straits. This was what made the January of the winter of 1976-1977 so bitter and extreme, and just such a cross-polar-flow is appearing in some computer model’s for the end of January. Hopefully the models are wrong, as they often are this far ahead, for such a flow, tapping into the Cold Igor has stored up, could make our last cold wave look wimpy.
QUICK GLANCE AT UK MET
(CLICK MAP TO ENLARGE)
My hunch is that this map shows a hint of the next pattern, but the prior pattern is about to reassert itself. We can see the Snout of Igor poking down over Scandinavia, with the Icelandic low starting to fight back. That warm front poking into the map from the lower left represents a slug of mild air that gave us heavy rains here yesterday, and this juice will attempt to refuel and refire the Icelandic Low, and bring southwest winds to Scandinavia. The argument is whether this represents an all-winter pattern reasserting itself, or represents the last hurrah of a pattern weakening and dwindling away. I think we are seeing the latter.
Last July I wrote a simple post about the view from the “North Pole Camera,” and that was the center of that post, and a few updates. However one thing led to another. In the old days a farmer might wonder about where a cloud he dreamed at went, as it drifted away over the horizon, but he could not consult the internet to find out. I can. Therefore my curiosity has led from one thing to another, however I have tried to keep these posts orbiting around a single sun, and that sun was the view out the lens of the North Pole Camera.
The camera was rescued by a ship last September, but other instruments were left behind, and that gave me an excuse to continue reporting the location and temperature of the site, which I called the “Forkasite,” which was short for “Former Camera Site.”
The site did what sea ice does, which was to drift. I noted a few times it didn’t behave in the usual fashion, which is to get sucked south through Fram Strait to where ice ordinarily enters the Atlantic and melts. After considerable delay, our Forkasite finally did take this ordinary route south, where it was hammered by North Atlantic gales and winds up and over forty mph, which is rough on sea ice. Sea ice seldom is as thick as the towering icebergs calved off Greenland glaciers, which can sink a Titanic, and for the most part are flat and three-to-nine foot thick pancakes. They are more fragile than bigger bergs, and were never designed to withstand storms, so they crack and crumble. Our Forkasite broke into two parts, which I called Forkouy and Forkarma, and each held some of the instraments deployed at the North Pole Camera site, including two GPS devises, which showed us that the ice, orginany connected, drifted more than 100 miles apart. However, alas, the pounding se eventually silenced both our reporters, and also the “companion buoy” which had been traveling south to the northeast,
Therefore I am asking myself whether I should take a hint, and cease updating a North Pole Camera which has ceased to be. I could revive this site in April, when hopefully the funding will be found to put this year’s North Pole Camera back in place up by the pole. I could take a vacation, which is always a tempting prospect.
I’ll think about it. In the meantime I might as well report on the buoys that remain.
Many are still floating about up there, however are shut down for the winter, likely because they depend on solar power. Many of my favorite “Obuoy” cameras have gone dark. Only the “Army Site,” at http://imb.crrel.usace.army.mil/newdata.htm , still reports the location and temperature of some of its sites, but it is now reporting only seven buoys, down from its high of twelve.
Most interesting is Buoy 2012J: as it passes through Fram Strait, entering the same area that killed both our buoys, and our “companion buoy.” I have missed reports from that area, which is a fascinating ice-ecology all its own, and it is good to still have a surviving reporter. It has recently encountered headwinds, and its eventual demise is delayed:
Another favorite of mine is Buoy 2013C: , which is also exiting the arctic, but via an unusual route. It has often remained mobile, despite being in an area of 100% sea-ice with temperatures touching minus-forty. It clearly demonstrates sea ice isn’t “fixed,” even in the dead of winter. Not that sea ice cannot become “fixed” to land, but this buoy has had several opportunities, and has kept right on moving. It seems to show that the conditions where sea ice becomes “fixed” require extraordinary calm and cold. Without such conditions the movement of sea ice is out of the world, or at least off the edge of the map:
(Click these maps, and then click again, to fully expand.)
I confess this has little to do with what this series of posts began discussing, namely the North Pole Camera. However it does have to do with what the North Pole Camera witnessed, which was sea ice. There is a weak connection between where we are and where we started.
LOCAL VIEW —The calm after the storm—
(Text snipped and placed in “rewrite” bin)
Rainstorm that passed yesterday, and poured rain on the New England Patriots football game, has been replaced by polar air, with the truly arctic air remaining far to the north. I guess I’ll dub that storm “Bleeze,” (as it’s moisture came north with my middle son from Belize.) To the west another low is passing far to our north, riding the west to east stream of Pacific air that is fueling our January Thaw. I guess I’ll call that one “Nook,” as it is riding a Chinook.
I don’t trust mild weather in January. Some of our biggest snowstorms have involved temperatures well above normal, because normal is well below freezing in January. Also I’ve seen snow fall and accumulate with temperatures a little above freezing at ground level. Last but least, Canada has the power to create home-grown cold, especially when the northern lakes are frozen, Hudson Bay is frozen, and the landscape is all snow-covered. While I enjoy the thaw I won’t drop my guard.
JANUARY 13 —DMI MORNING MAPS—
JANUARY 13 —DMI AFTERNOON MAPS—
JANUARY 14 —DMI MORNING MAPS—
I apologize for the lack of commentary. Life got busy.
The Pole continues divided into two sectors of very cold air, Siberian and Canadian, with a cross-polar-flow of milder air from Svalbard to the Bering Strait seperating them. The milder air fueled the creation of a small Polar low I’ll dub “Wrongway,” because it is messing up the Trans Polar Flow and reversing the Beaufort Gyre. On the Siberian side the cross polar flow is enhanced between Wrongway and Igor, while on the Canadian and Greenland side some cold air is being dragged from the land out towards the land. off the east coast of Greenland a weak high is continuing to block the flow of ice down through Fran Strait towards the Atlantic, though the winds have stopped blowing up from the south (which reversed the flow) and now appear to be light, and from the west, until you get down south of Denmark Strait, where strong easterly onshore winds north of the Icelandic Low are likely crunching the ice up against the Greenland coast.
FORKOUY REPORTS IN!!! —Beached like a whale—
A hat-tip to the blogger Dirk-Lütjen Blaas, who alerted me to the fact “Forkouy” is again transmitting garbled data, after a hiatus. While this buoy is no longer listed on the webpage, its data can be found here: http://psc.apl.washington.edu/northpole/PAWS819920_atmos_recent.html
As best I can tell from Google Maps, Forkouy wasn’t quite able to make it east fast enough to avoid the northeastern-most peninsula of Iceland, and has run up onto the jumble of ice on an east-facing beach. It hasn’t moved since January 1. Likely it is a little off shore, as the ice tends to pile up against the shore. It is at 66.367°N 22.278°W.
What a journey this piece of equipment has been on! I guess we can’t really call it the “North Pole Camera” any more, as it is 1639.3 miles from the North Pole.
I don’t suppose anyone will be in a hurry to get up there and retrieve that equipment. It looks like a desolate and uninhabited stretch of coast.
JANUARY 14 —DMI AFTERNOON MAPS—
Same pattern, but the cross-polar-flow is shifting over to the Siberian coast. I wonder if The extreme cold over Siberia (Igor) is getting nudged south and China is shivering. (I’d check, but for some reason my Maue maps aren’t working.)
LOCAL VIEW —JANUARY THAW—
A second rainstorm passes over, reducing the snow and ice greatly. I’m keeping an eye on that innocent looking snow over the Great Lakes, “Inno.” Something could whirl up on its trailing cold front and clip us coming up the coast tomorrow night.
BUOY NEWS —“Companion buoy” relocated—
Stumbled upon a buoy I thought was lost: http://psc.apl.washington.edu/northpole/PAWS975420_atmos_recent.html
I don’t know why they stropped listing these on the main page. At any case is is making good time southwest into Denmark Strait, at 67.714°N 25.933°W .
UK MET MAP
What a mess! The old pattern is trying to reestablish a new Icelandic Low, but the flow over Europe lacks the old southwest flow.
I’ll be watching to see the effect of all the moisture rushing over me, here in the northeast USA, when it heads up towards Newfoundland and appears on this map.
JANUARY 15 —DMI MORNING MAPS—
A quick glance at the morning maps shows the cross-polar flow continues to slide over to the Siberian side, allowing the cold to recharge on the Canadian side and over the Pole itself.
There continues to be a weak wrong-way flow up through Fram Strait, even as Icelandic Low pushes a strong flow down through Denmark Strait. In the middle sea-ice must be growing less, as some departs north and some departs south. If and when the ice again comes down through Fram Strait it seems likely to be a big blob, bulging away from the east coast of Greenland.
“SHIP OF FOOLS” INCIDENT TEACHES VALUABLE LESSONS ABOUT SEA-ICE
People who follow this site are aware how mobile sea-ice is, however I have a strong feeling most ordinary people have better things to do than watch ice drift around the North Pole. Therefore they can be excused if they entertain the false idea ice is frozen, stable, and motionless. How are they to know the ice by the north Pole in April may float ashore 1600 miles away in Iceland nine months later?
The media seems to fuel the ignorance, likely because few reporters bother to research the arctic as we do. Most articles discuss the North Pole as if it were a fixed mass of ice, shrinking due to Global Warming. Only in the past few years has the concept of “multiyear-ice” appeared in print, and I’ve never seen it mentioned in the media that multiyear ice only collects north of the Canadian Arctic Islands and Greenland, having drifted from far parts of the Pole. The impression the media gives is of a stagnant sea, rather than a highly mobile ocean.
Perhaps this explains the mistakes made by the people in charge of the Akademik Shokalskiy, who had their “ship of fools” trapped by highly mobile sea ice. An excellent (20-20 hindsight) look at the fiasco can be seen here, (and teaches a lot about sea-ice, and our capacity to look at it with modern satellites, as well:)
It is so worth reading I think I’ll give this update “post of its own” status.
JANUARY 15 —DMI AFTERNOON MAPS—
The isobars show the cross-polar-flow retreating to east Siberia to Bering Strait. A new flo, Svalbard to Bering Strait, is so weak it hardly counts, at this point. The main change shows on the isotherm map, which shows the cold building. This also is very apparent in the DMI temperature-north-of-eighty-degrees graph, which shows the recent rapid rise has been followed by a rapid plunge:
When the cold builds at the Pole, and there isn’t a zonal flow, only one thing can be said: “LOOK OUT BELOW!”
LOCAL VIEW —IN AWE OF THE THAW—
(Click maps to enlarge)
The maps and radar show innocent “Inno” is developing some sort of low on the coast. Ordinarily I’d be all up in arms and prepping for unexpected snow. However after our thaw I’m more in the mood to be laid back, and say, “Big deal. If it happens it happens.”
There is something confusing about a January Thaw, akin to lowering your shoulder to barge through a locked door, and having someone open the door just as you shoulder it. Resistance isn’t where you expect it to be, and you fall flat on your face. You haven’t been decked by a blow to your chin, but rather by the lack of a blow to your chin.
Besides the thaw, the same phenomenon was occurring with my kids, who are grown and able to fend for themselves, though I often don’t give them credit for that. I stand ready to leap into the breach, and then find such preparedness was unnecessary. Over the past few days I had a daughter in a bad living situation move to a better one, a son start a new job and do fine, and another son lose his wallet in Miami while flying back from Belize and have his expected ride at the Boston airport fail to materialize, but manage to get home just fine. All the worst-case-scenarios I was getting ready for failed to happen.
Does this make me happy? Sort of, in a peevish sort of way. I’m irritated, for rather than “Don’t Worry; Be Happy,” I worried like heck and was miserable. Worry is like that. You waste a lot of psychic energy you could have used elsewhere.
Where else? Well, I just had an article published on “What’s Up With That,” and one of my favorite things to do is to respond to the flurry of comments as they come in, on such a site. The comments only come in for thirty-six hours, before your article vanishes below the bottom of the page, but during that brief window of opportunity illuminating debate and delightful banter occurs. I completely missed it this time, as it seemed somehow wrong to enjoy myself as a daughter was in danger, a son alone in a merciless world, and a second son stranded at an airport. And the skies were dark and the rain streamed down.
Today was a rare day in January, with temperatures above freezing and a benevolent sun smiling down, and I was reassessing how much time I waste with worry. While it is true a second arctic blast is gathering to the north, “The Sun Also Rises.”
JANUARY 16 —DMI MORNING MAPS—
LOCAL VIEW —THAW ENDING—
(Working on a new essay. I may be absorbed for a few days.)
This sort of stuff lurking along the east coast always makes me nervous. I loaded up the porch with wood, to play it safe.
JANUARY 16 —DMI AFTERNOON MAPS—
I’m perfectly happy to see the weak storm slop out to sea without blowing up into any excitement. I’ve got plenty to do without shoveling.
It’s hard to keep the kids entertained at the daycare diring a thaw. The snow is gone except for sheer ice on the sledding slope, which they want to go screaming down, but dare-deviling isn’t allowed, for there would surely be blood. Not that the kids mind the prospect. It’s the fact of all the wailing involved I avoid. I also avoid the pond, for even though the ice is thick the top is slushy and kids would get drenched. Therefore we gathered wood for a bright fire. Brightest blazes are the dead branches of a white pine, which is why I was up a tree, snapping them off. Up a tree at age sixty. I wonder if I’ll ever grow up and act my age.
JANUARY 17 —DMI MORNING MAPS—
Some mild air leaking into the Atlantic side, but the Pacific side is very cold. Bering Strait likely is getting very frozen up. Cross-polar-flow continues weakly from Svalbard to Bering Strait, keeping arctic outbreaks from pouring down into Canada. This makes it mild er in the USA, but the north is building up a real slug of cold. The high pressure north of Scandivavia is allowing east winds on its southern side to bring some Siberian cold towards northern Europe over land.
UK MET MAP
As the old pattern tries to reassert itself, the Icelandic Low can’t get the southwest flow as far north over Europe. East winds keep creeping into Scandinavia, and the warm front to the south can’t push north. You can see the cold on top of Europe in Dr. Ryan Maue’s WeatherBELL map of 2m temperatures. (Initial of GFS 0600z run) (Click twice to enlarge fully.)
The sea ice continues to be pushed south through Denmark Srait, even while it is prevented from coming south through Fram Strait. This thins the ice halfway down Greenland’s east coat, but builds a big blob to the north.
Earlier, when a blob of bergs came down Greenland’s coast, the ice extended right out to Iceland.
LOCAL VIEW —The balm before we’re torn—(Calm before storm)
Temperatures were a couple degrees below freezing last night, with a glaze of frozen rain on the windshield of my truck, from that front with weal lows on it you can now see moving out to sea. Already we are in the weak southwest flow of an Alberta Clipper, leading a weak counter-attack of the arctic. The snout of Igor is quite small on the above map, and you can see the Chinook front is well east of the Canadian Rockies, battling into the prairie. You can see how slender the sub-zero snout is on Ryan Maue’s WeatherBELL map of 2m temperatures over North America.
(Double click to fully enlarge)
Bookmark this map, as it will be interesting to compare it with the situation ten days from now. The computer models are stating that the “dam” holding the cold up at the Pole (notice the minus-thirty temperatures up there in the above map,) will break, and two arctic outbreaks will occur, the second being the sort of outbreak that sets records.
I’m enjoying the nice weather, in an attempt to keep my resolution not to spoil things with worry. Not that I’m not preparing. I’m cutting up dead pine trees and building piles of firewood, so we can have big fires when the weather gets cold. However rather than working with my brow rumpled with worry, I’m attempting to look around at how beautiful the woods are.
A QUICK LOOK AT IGOR
Here is the 2 m temperatures of Asia, as seen by the initial run of the 1200z GFS model, as interpreted by Dr. Ryan Maue at WearherBELL. (Double click to enlarge fully)
Igor is definitely alive and well. All the sky blue is between minus thirty and forty, and as the blue turns pink you are passing through the minus fifties, and the shocking pink is below minus sixty. Also, remember how vast Asia is. That area of unbelievable cold is wider than the USA.
A couple of weak lows are pushing across the western Steppes, with relatively mild (but still sub freezing west winds to the south, and cold east winds to the north. Igor is a beast, multi-snouted, and one snout is creeping west across the north towards northern Europe. Another pours cold breath into the Pacific, freezing the water on Russia’s Pacific coast. (See ice extent map above.) However the one I dread is the cross-polar snout, which may be all that the American newspapers are talking about, in ten days.
JANUARY 17 —DMI AFTERNOON MAPS—
Looking at the temperature map, could you ever guess we were midst a Cold Pacific cycle and a warm Atlantic cycle? Yes.
The Icelandic Low is flabby and weak, to be blunt. It needs to join a health spa. We are doing our best to supply a shot of mildness and moisture, from down here in the USA, but unfortunately a lot goes up the wrong side of Greenland. (Our aim is well-meaning but lousy.)
The mildness moving north of Scandinavia is matched by the other side of the coin (or I should say high pressure,) which is bringing cold air west from Siberia into Scandinavia. Earlier in in the season of darkness, the mild air rushed up the coast of Norway to a degree the plus-five isotherm reached up the coast. Now the same coast is much colder, sue to Siberian air crossing from the east and moving just off shore.
The advance of Atlantic air to close to the Pole is causing the DMI temperatures-north-of-latitude-80 graph to blip up again. However it is important that that big pool of minus-thirty-five air over the Arctic Sea north of Canada lies south of 80 degrees, and isn’t included.
The DMI has talked about the weakness of the “north-of-80-degrees” parameter, however I hope they don’t mess with it. All parameters have their weaknesses, and, as long as you recognize the limitations, I think the DMI data is some of the best. Don’t mess with success.
JANUARY 18 —DMI MORNING MAPS—
The news is the Aleutian Low crashing into Alaska. That ought to stir things up a bit on the Aleutian side of the Pole. Meanwhile the Icelandic low looks flabby, but the slow oozing of Atlantic air continues. The cold air towards Canada is basically “home grown,” without much help from Cross-polar-flow, yet will surprise people to the south with its strength. Lows moving up into Hudson Bay and the wrong side of Greenland will start budging that air south. The ice in Fran Strait is staying stalled.
QUICK GLANCE AT UK MET
The Icelandic Low hasn’t been helped by the mild air we sent up that way. It continues flabby and in need of trainer. Models show the weak low over me right now getting up that way by Monday, but differ on how strong it gets. The European model seems to think it stays weak, while the GFS midel says it gets strong.
Meanwhile the easterly flow over the Baltic continues to surprise me by persisting. A front looks like it will seperate the cold from less cold, running roughly from Denmark to the Black Sea. It doesn’t look like it is coming north in the next few days, but also it doesn’t seem the easterly cold-flow will be able to get across the North Sea to Scotland, though it is trying. Britain remains in a maritime southwest flow.
LOCAL VIEW —Dust of snow—
I apologize, but I am so engrossed in writing an essay that I am unable to comment, beyond stating big, fat snowflakes are drifting down, and we’ve gotten some two inches of snow.
JANUARY 18 —DMI AFTERNOON MAPS—
JANUARY 19 —DMI MORNING MAPS—
JANUARY 20 —DMI MORNING MAPS—
Thaw in southern Norway, Iceland and perhaps even Svalbard, as mild air seeps north up central Atlantic. Milder air creeping along Alaskan coast. Major Cold remains bottled up over Pole.
LOCAL VIEW —GONE WRITING—
It is always a battle to find time to write in my life, but I’ve managed it, though I did have to clean up between 3 and 4 inches of snow yesterday. I’m over 6000 words into something which I think some will find amusing. It is basically The-year-in-review, regarding sea ice, with some background information about some time I spent on the coast of Maine back in the 1970’s, getting firsthand experience of sea-ice because Casco Bay froze out to Halfway Rock, (though I never walked out that far.)
It will likely take a day or two longer to finish it and paste in some charts and pictures. Be patient.
JANUARY 21 —DMI MORNING MAPS—
Disorginized polar flow, with weak Atlantic intrusion towards the Pole, yet Igor has two snouts, one aimed at Europe and one weakly towards Canada. Plenty of home-grown arctic air in Canada already, to cause misery down my way without any cross-polar flow.
QUICK GLANCE AT UK MET
The arctic Snout of Igor is bulging cold high pressure into Scandinavia, resisting attempts of the weak Icelandic low to swing storms up that way, so the storms are taking the southern route through the Mediterranean. So far Igot has been unable to cross the North Sea to Scotland. It is a battle between the east wind and the southwest flow.
LOCAL VIEW —Oh heck and bother—here comes a stupid blizzard—
Whenever I become deeply engrossed in writing a thousand little devils arrive to distract me from my intense concentration. Partly this occurs because I neglect my responsibilities, and they don’t take kindly to being neglected. (No one seems to feel my writing is a gift, and that it would be irresponsible if I didn’t use my gift.) But partly it seems sheer spite on the part of creation. I mean, who needs a blizzard?
Hopefully the brunt will be southeast of here, as the snow doesn’t sound like it will be the sticky snow that can almost feel warm, if you work had in it. Rather it is likely to be white, sub-zero dust in a strong breeze. (By subzero I mean below minus 18 Celsius.) That stuff can kill you, if you are not careful. But tomorrow morning we could have a foot of that powder, and I’m the guy who has to clear it all up.
Bah Humbug. I want to finish up what I’m writing.
LOCAL VIEW —HIP HIP HOORAY—BLIZZARD SLIDES SOUTH OUT TO SEA—
Awoke this morning and listened for the rumble of passing plows, ramming their huge plows over the tar. There was nothing but a blessed silence.
When I was a boy I would have been absolutely miserable. Now I am completely the opposite. I breathed a long sigh of relief and felt a sense of peace descend.
The snow has to be fair to the people of Cape Cod. Everyone will get their turn this winter.
Long range maps are showing days of brutal cold. What I fear is the “warm-up” after the cold. “Warm,” even five degrees above normal, is still below freezing, and I can recall Februaries with more than one monster storm. 1969. 1978.
Well, I have to keep my resolution not to worry. Instead just enjoy the fact I don’t have to get out at five AM and shovel out the childcare. (Instead I can just sweep the walkways with a broom.)
The radar shows what a close call it was. As the storm missed I guess I’ll call it “Missy.”
The map shows the arctic high bulging down from Canada. It is not really a “Snout of Igor,” as it is a home-grown Canadian product, so I guess it ought be called a different name. “Snout of Pierre?” “Hockey-puck High?”
I’d best save my creative juices for finishing up the thing I’ve been working on. (I did finish it, but the ending is very poor writing, as I did it when exhausted and trying to hurry before the weekend was over. Thank the Lord for the “delete” key.)
DMI MAPS UNAVAILABLE—MAUE MAPS (CANADIAN “JEM” MODEL)
Cross polar flow developing north of low in Bering Strait and south of high towards Siberia.
Hope to comment moresoon, but worn out from finishing my essay, tonight.
LOCAL VIEW —BRRRR!!! THE COLD IS CLAMPING DOWN—
JANUARY 21 —DMI MORNING MAPS— (Not ready until afternoon)
A short and sweet cross-polar-flow, from east Siberia right across the Bering Strait, is setting up. (I guess I shouldn’t call it cross-polar, as it is skipping the pole, spending a minimum of time over the very slight warming or the Arctic Sea.) If this sets up and delivers, it will bring the worst of the worst sort of cold. (Wrong. My mistake. That flow is Alaska to Siberia. The cross-polar-flow setting up does cross the Pole.)
Cold seeks to infiltrate Europe under the snout of Igor snuffling Scandinavia. To the north of that some Atlantic warmth is invading the Pole, but people in Central Europe aren’t going to care a hoot how mild it might be at the Pole,
JANUARY 23 —DMI AFTERNOON MAPS—
Igor continues to have two snouts, one into northern Europe and one across into Canada. Between the two snouts, mild Atlantic air is leeching north to the Pole, causing a backwards flow, or at least a calm, in Fram Strait. Sea Ice is jamming up there, creating a bulge and an above-age area of ice-extent, even as the extent is below-average further down the Greenland coast, and below average in the tongue of open water north of Svalbard. Might be interesting to watch all that ice come south.
QUICK GLANCE AT UK MET
The “Snout of Igor” is hanging touch over Finland, with cold east winds resisting the weak and disorganized Icelandic low, and shunting storms south theough the Mediterranean to the Black Sea.
“Missy is departing my map and entering this map in the lower left, bringing along three warm fronts. This will reinvigorate the Icelandic low, but not enough to dislodge Igor and let the old pattern resume. Most likely an Icelandic Low offshoot, (call it “Missyson,”) will get shunted south over England. Rather than the old pattern reasserting, and mild southwest winds for Europe, a new pattern is fighting to appear. It remains to be seen whether the Negative AO and NAO pattern I spoke of a few weeks ago can dominate, or some hybrid pattern will appear.
here’s a Dr. Ryan Maue WeatherBELL map of the Cold air pressing east into northern Europe; IE: “The Snout of Igor.” (Click twice to enlarge fully. Temperatures are Fahrenheit.)
LOCAL VIEW —The clench of cold—
Yesterday morning it was down to 2, and this morning it was zero, (-7 and -18 Celsius,) but yesterday felt worse, with the wind a bit of drifting snow. Even the slightest bit of powdered snow in your face makes it all the colder, for as it melts and evaporates it robs you of heat.
It is interesting to think a little about the milder feel of today. If you compare the above map to yesterday’s you can see a very weak low coming along in the northwest wind, but it briefly strengthens over the grat lakes in yesterday’s map, down to 1013 mb, before weakening in today’s to 1020 mb. That shows the influence of the Great Lakes, adding uolift and moisture to a bone dry storm, even creating just enough rotation that the storm has a slight southwest flow ahead of it. I could feel it tonight, with just the slightest southeast wind, and the starry night less bitter. It is a mercy we may soon lose, with the lakes freezing up under the relentless arctic blasts.
(I lifted this map from Joseph D’Aleo’s excellent WeatherBELL blog. Click to enlarge.)
Even with so much of the Lakes already frozen, you can see the warming effect continues in this Maue Map of current North American temperatures. Notice the warmer temperatures in the lee of the lakes. (Click twice to fully enlarge.)
This is from the Canadian “JEM” model. Sometimes the models are programmed to see the lakes as they “normally” are, and the models can have a hard time of it when a body of water such as the Great Lakes or Hudson Bay freezes over more or earlier than “normal.” Earlier this winter Joseph D’Aleo pointed out the GFS model was showing all sorts of warming occurring to an air mass over Hudson Bay, although it was already ice covered. We may see the same mistakes made with the Great Lakes, if they freeze.
I think the above modeled map of current temperatures may not recognize Lake Eire (the shallowest Great Lake,) is pretty much frozen over, and is still attempting to estimate temperatures as if the water was unfrozen. It seems to know Hudson Bay is normally frozen over at this point. You can see it expects some warming will occur through the ice, but not as much as open water would warm. Some of the coldest air in North America is air that has moved over that bay.
An intrusion of Pacific air has moved over the top of the very cold air mass bearing down on me here, but right behind it you can see the following blast of bone-chilling brutality bulging south from the arctic. The current blast was home grown, but the next one will have Siberian origins, which often makes them record-breakers.
After that passes the lakes may be totally frozen, which rarely happens. That may make the models all out of whack.
Yesterday, over at the Childcare, we only let the smaller children out briefly, and only three of the older, after-school boys wanted to go out. I ordinarily make all the older kids go out, as we emphasise fresh air, and also they are full of pent-up steam after staying in a school all day. However the girls wanted to stay in and chatter, (which they can’t do much of at school, either,) and I allowed it due to the cold. They were just barely able to retrain themselves from bouncing off the walls, though one girl did resemble a squirrel at one point, not merely bounding up onto the couch, but to the top of the couch’s back.
We are entering the part of the winter where people go a little mad. “Cabin Fever” is a very real and crazy state of mind. The more time you spend outside the better.
The boys went sledding yesterday. I kept checking on them, and called them in after a little more than an hour. One boy, with Swedish roots, showed no redness on his cheeks at all, but the two other boys had bright red cheeks with the centers starting to go a little purple. That is getting close to the point where, quite abruptly, startlingly white patches appear. That isn’t the end of the world, but it is superficial frost bite, and cause for concern, and a sign your skin will burn and itch when it thaws. In any case, I called the boys in, though they griped.
Today I built a huge fire out on the sledding hill, and the temperature was just enough milder, and the winds just enough kinder, to allow everyone to stay out and play, after school. No cabin fever for us.
However I am suffering from writer-fever, though perhaps I’m in recovery mode. My essay is done, and the manic side is giving way to a more depressed state, where you see all the flaws and do a lot of correcting. I’m not sure any other site will want it, but one good thing about having your own blog is that you are always sure of a publisher. It ought be ready tomorrow.
JANUARY 22 —DMI MORNING MAPS—
“Missy” is moving up from the lower left to restrengthen the Icelandic low, as “Bear” moves into the west side of Hudson’s Bay, having traveled across from the south side of the Bering Strait, bringing some Pacific air in a mountain-modified warm sector, but now draining cold arctic air air south behind it.
Mild air continues to waft the wrong way up through Fram Strait, bringing a tendril of milder air towards the Pole, and also creating an above normal bulge in the ice extent in Fran Strait.
NOTE; January 25 — I’ve neglected this post in order to finish my most recent post, https://sunriseswansong.wordpress.com/2014/01/25/a-retrospective-fun-with-sea-ice/
Now I feel the need to relax a bit, perhaps by going out to see a movie with my wife and friends. We’ll see how soon I get back to blogging.
JANUARY 25 —DMI AFTERNOON MAPS—
Just a quick peek, and it sure looks interesting. There is sort of a two-way-traffic cross polar low, with an Alaska to Eastern Siberia flow on one side and a western Siberia to Canada flow on the other.
I have a sense that Atlantic air getting sucked over the Pole may brew up a storm of some sort as it clashes with the very cold air north of Canada, and throw a wrench in the works of the flow. Meanwhile an interesting tendril of Pacific air is running west along the Siberian coast. Between the two is Igor’s cross-polar snout. His second snout is off the map, nosing towards western Europe.
Missy is moving up towards Iceland. Missy versus Igor. Who will win?
Lots to watch, if you have the time.
QUICK GLANCE AT UK MET
You tell me: Who is winning? Missy or Igor?
Missy is pretty strong, but occluding and likely to do one of those north Atlantic loop-de-loops. Igor is refusing to budge from the Baltic, and is forcing everything south into the Mediterranean. I suppose we should watch that next little low appearing at the lower left, to see if it heads north towards Iceland, or scoots across the Atlantic towards Spain.
The European computer model says it splits the difference, heading straight for England, crashing there, and then fading down towards Spain.
LOCAL VIEW —A brief southwest wind—
This yo-yo winter always has warm surges between the arctic blasts, with the warmth brief and the cold more lasting. This surge isn’t all that warm. We might just touch freezing before the cold comes blasting back.
NOTE— JANUARY 27— Five minutes of fame over—Back to business—
My writing was printed at Watts Up With That, http://wattsupwiththat.com/2014/01/25/a-retrospective-fun-with-sea-ice/ , and was also noted and reblogged on Tallbloke’s Talkshop, http://tallbloke.wordpress.com/2014/01/25/a-retrospective-fun-with-sea-ice/
I took some time off just to quietly gloat over all the attention I was getting. There were over eighty comments, mostly flattering and often fun, over at Watts Up With That. I had some fun responding, over there.
So that’s where I’ve been. Now I’m back.
JANUARY 27 —DMI MORNING MAPS—
LOCAL VIEW —Whiplash weather—
We had an actual thaw on Saturday, with a wind briefly nudging just above freezing, and then an inch of lovely snow as we stepped out to the movies Saturday night, and the cold air came slamming back in. By Sunday morning the wind made you wince, but by Sunday afternoon the brilliant sunshine had faded and the sky was going grey, and by Monday morning it was again milder, with a few raindrops pattering down mixed with sleet, which turned into another half inch of snow as the cold came slamming back in. By evening the wind again made you wince and turn away.
It is much worse to the west, where the core of the winter cold has been aiming. We’ve actually been on the eastern fringe.
JANUARY 28 —DMI MORNING MAPS—
It is really pretty warm, over the Pole, compared to normal. This is because so much cold air has been exported south. The warm air rising at the Pole is creating the low pressure there and over towards Bering Strait, however there isn’t much storminess to be seen.
The immediate thought is, “Does this mild Pole mean the ice will melt more this summer?” To some degree the freezing will be less, however you should also note the wrong-way isobars have persisted in Fram Atrait for well over a week, and this likely slows or even prevents the exit of ice from the Arctic Sea. For the time being the ice is being crunched into the Beaufort Gyre, which tends to mean the ice there will be thicker and more plentiful, at least at the start of the season. This in turn would tend to make the ice more lasting towards Bering Strait, where it was all open water last summer.
Another thought is that having all this mild air brought north into six month darkness loses more heat into space, and all the arctic outbreaks further south is freezing more lakes and spreading more snow, deflecting heat down where the sun actually is shining. In other words, just because it is milder at the Pole doesn’t automatically indicate warming overall.
JANUARY 28 —DMI EVENING MAPS— New threat?
The Pole remains mild, in a way split in two by Pacific and AStlantic intrusions. However a new Snout of Igor is appearing in central Siberia, which may be bad news for USA and good news in terms of Europe, in terms of heating bills, as there are signs Igor is going to export a lot of his cold northwards, across the Bering Strait side of the Pole towards Alaska, rather than westward towards Europe.
QUICK LOOK AT UK MET
The arctic air and high pressure over Scandinavia is standing its ground, bumping the occluded low over England south towards France and the Mediterranean. The question is whether it will back away from the next onslaught from the Atlantic, coming over the weekend. The models suggest it will, and we will see the Icelandic low attempt to reestablish the pattern from earlier in the winter. Will the old pattern come back ? Or is this just the wobbling as patterns change? Stay tuned!
LOCAL REPORT —RECOVERING—
The low over Hudson Bay is continuing to drain arctic air down over the middle of the USA, and the air has pushed so far south it is pushing the coastal storm out to sea south of us. There is even some snow on the Gulf of Mexico coast, which is rare, though it happened last week as well.
I don’t mind a bit, as I’m still recovering from all the energy I put into my five minutes of fame over the weekend, and the energy I put into writing that post last week. The last thing I need is a snowstorm. I’m already busy enough, catching up on the responsibilities I neglected while focused on writing. For example, the woodpile on the porch is down to around seven logs.
It is somewhat amazing how messy things get, when I get creative.
JANUARY 29 —DMI MORNING MAPS—
Two eyes gaze out from the maps, cold high pressure over Canada and cold high pressure bulging up from Siberia. A maw of cold high pressure chomps down on eastern Europe, biting the fingers of those outdoors. A Labrador low explodes southwest of Greenland, as a displaced Icelandic low dwindles away at six o’clock, off the map over England.
I’m trying to stay pragmatic and down to earth, but temptation is too great, so I have to peek at things high above my head, and sneak off to the weatherBELL site to look at one of Dr. Ryan Maue’s maps of what is going on higher up in the atmosphere over the Pole. (This shows the 500 mb isobars and “relative vorticity.” [My spell check says there is no such word as “vorticity.”] Double click to fully enlarge.)
I always wonder, when I look at such maps, how much is based on real data and how much is the figment of a model’s imagination. After all, how much data is collected in the twenty-four-hour-a-day darkness atop the pole? Have they got some poor dude up there launching weather balloons? Do commercial airliners collect data? Is it interpreted from satellites? However in the end I just accept the darn map, because what’s the alternative?
I tended to look at the 500mb maps in a layman’s fashion, to see if I can get a hint of “steering currents.” The above map doesn’t show much of a polar vortex, centered over the Pole and steering storms around the Pole in a clockwise manner. Instead it looks like a “col” between a Canadian high and a European high. The Canadian high is steering cold air from Siberia towards Canada, while the European high is steering a mix of Siberian and Atlantic air down into eastern Europe. My sheer guess is that the European high will get weaker, due to mixing in the Atlantic air, while the Canadian high will remain strong, due to less of such mixing, though it could suck in some Pacific air.
However mostly I’m going to just shut up and watch.
LOCAL VIEW —Recovered—
You can see how close the storm coming up the coast came to hitting us here, but it missed, so I think I’ll use a baseball term (from when you miss when swinging a bat at the ball,) and dub this storm “Whiff.” People down on Cape Cod are seeing their routine ruined, as they have to stop everything and clean up snow, but I get to stroll about without such trouble. I really should be down on my knees thanking God, because I needed extra work like I need a hole in my head, however instead of properly grateful I’m feeling a little bit smug. In a sense I got away with murder, by spending all sorts of extra time on my five minutes of fame, rather than being hum-drum and responsible.
There’s an old song with the words, “You’ve had your way; now you must pay,” and it is true of creative effort. You get the pleasure of inspiration, but it is followed by a hang-over of mental fatigue. I was definitely at the low end of my spectrum of mental ability, as the week started. The simplest questions seemed unanswerable. “Where did I leave my car keys?”
If you happen to run a Childcare then you know the average child is capable of asking 2,437 questions a day, and when you multiply that by 20 kids and divide it by 12 hours then you arrive at the sorry state my brains were in. I was wondering if my psyche was permanently damaged. After all, I am getting old, and some old people do get put away in homes. I seemed to want to do nothing but sleep, and actually did get far more sleep than I usually get. Then, this morning, I had the sense I was coming back to my wits, which is a lovely sensation.
The first thing I noticed was that it seemed far warmer, as I strolled about the dark farm opening the Childcare. Then I checked the thermometer, and saw it was only 7 degrees. (-14 Celsius) That made me feel my winter metabolism was kicking back into high gear, after a time in a sort of clammy torpor.
Then, as the day started to lighten around me, I cheerfully looked around and saw it was actually a very ugly day. With the glamour of a storm slipping away out to sea we still had the residue of a leaden overcast, that looked a bit filthy.
The day dawned without roses, a drab gray unredeemed by purples or somber blues; slate skies unenlivened by snowflake’s play; clawing trees unquenched by what wind brews.
Gray was the smoke that hung from gray chimneys. Gray was the news on newspaper racks. Even the snow lay gray beneath the trees as across a gray field a gray cat came back with a gray mouse.
Likewise my muse, which lay in gray sleep, came back with a mouse of its own; came to its senses, with all gone gray, and saw sanity in a world without wits: “Gray dawns can hint of a thaw without thawing, for color is hid in a charcoal drawing.”
That being said, I feel recovered from my last creative endeavor, and ready to embark on my next one. Therefore I’ll close this post, and start up anew.
To be continued at: https://sunriseswansong.wordpress.com/2014/01/29/arctic-sea-ice-recovery-the-viewless-viewers-views/