ARCTIC SEA ICE RECOVERY —THE EQUIPOISE OF BATTLE—

This is a continuation of a series of posts, the last of which was, https://sunriseswansong.wordpress.com/2014/01/29/arctic-sea-ice-recovery-the-viewless-viewers-views/

The original post was about the view from the North Pole Camera. I learned some years ago that the view from that camera showed things that the press was not reporting, and became intrigued. Partly the view helped me become an educated voter, and partly it is a serene and beautiful view to watch, especially during the summer when the weather is hot.

Now the cameras all have been either retrieved, shut-down, or lost at sea. I am a viewer without a view. Even the visible satellite pictures show a black hole of darkness at the Pole during the winter. However I had become engrossed and, partly because I simply am stubborn, I have continued to observe what I cannot see. I make do with infrared and microwave satellite data.

Two gold mines of information I use are the “Sea Ice Page” on the “Watts Up With That” site, and the thousand or so maps Dr. Ryan Maue makes available at the WeatherBELL. site.

I tend to post the DMI pressure and temperature maps of the Pole twice a day, and any other maps that strike my fancy.  Also I post what I call a “Local View” (which some may wish to skip,) as it is about how the arctic is effecting my little town in New Hampshire, and contains what I call humor and also some purple prose.

If you are a first-time visitor I will simply say this post will get longer and longer, as I add updates to the bottom several times a day. If you revisit the site to check up on the latest update you can enter on my home page, and click the little “comments” balloon to the right of the title, and that will take you to the bottom of the post, where you can scroll up a short ways to see the latest. This avoids the bother of sometimes needing to scroll down a long, long ways to see the latest.

We are now nearing the point where ice is approaching its maximum extent, which is something like the point where a pendulum stops going one way and starts going another. (It is interesting that the word “poise” comes from a word for a weight used back when weighing things was done on an old-fashioned scale. It was a thing rather than a state.) Often “poise” suggests a sort of pause, and a calm.  In truth it is a time of some of our biggest storms, as the higher sun creates warmth at a time when winter is still at its mightiest. It is a case of an irresistible force meeting an immovable object.

The days are swiftly lengthening, and we are starting to see diurnal variation in bone-chilling places like Siberia. True, the temperatures may only rise from minus-forty to minus-twenty at noon,  however still it a hint at a warming sun.

Although the sun is already as high as it was in early November it shines on a completely changed world. In November lakes and bays were unfrozen and still radiated heat remembered from summer sunshine. Now those lakes and bays have become traitors to the heat, and are white wastes that reflect the sun away. As soon as the sun sets at night they become generators of cold, as radiational cooling occurs where, last November, the same lakes and bays wafted updrafts of mildness. The north is still capable of creating cold air masses even as the south creates warmth.

Therefore, rather than less snowy, it can become more snowy. Even as temperatures start to rise from their winter depths, the depth of snow can increase. The extent of arctic sea-ice can increase as well, especially if it is shifted the right way by winds.  (This year a last-minute spike in ice-extent would be most likely to occur if calm and cold conditions occurred in the North Atlantic, where Barents Sea ice is below normal, and also if a surge of ice was flushed south through Fram Strait.)

If snows increase here in New Hampshire I’ll be busy battling it, and updates at this site will become few and far between. However it is actually a sign of the turning of the tide, and of spring.

FEBRUARY 10 —DMI AFTERNOON MAPS—

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

“Rongwe 5” continues across the Pole, now more a part of the Atlantic low pressure than a separate identity. While he is pulling a plume of milder Pacific air in behind, he is going to slam that door shut by swinging a slug of Siberian cold right up into that plume, and then on into Alaska and Canada. The real invasion of mildness is likely to be from the Atlantic, over the top of Greenland, and actually  oppose the circulation of Rongwe 5 for a while.

The isobars diverge north and northwest of Svalbard, pushing some ice down through Fram Strait while pushing ice further north away into the Beaufort Gyre, and keeping it from entering Fram Strait.  It seems only logical that when ice moves in a way that diverges an area of open water should appear. Perhaps this explains the open water northeast of Svalbard, which keeps attempting to freeze over only to reappear.

DMI Feb 10B arcticicennowcast (1) (click to enlarge)

Even odder is the fact that the open water is “below normal,” in terms of sea-surface temperature, while ice-covered areas around it are “above normal,” according to this map:

DMI Feb 10B color_anomaly_NPS_ophi0 (click to enlarge)

The divergent flow can be seen in the map below. Some ice is being sucked down through Fram strait by the winds on the northwest side of the Icelandic Low, but a lot more ice is drifting straight into the Beaufort Gyre.

DMI Feb 10B arcticicespddrfnowcast (click map to enlarge)

FEBRUARY 11  —DMI MORNING MAPS—

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

The low I dubbed “Rongwe 5” is finishing his journey as a bubble carried along by the old cross-polar-flow, and carrying along a last slug of Siberian air to Canada in his wake. However it looks like the cross-polar-flow is swinging clockwise, and moving from a Siberia-to-Canada flow to an Atlantic-to-Pacific flow.  This may give the USA a break from winter blasts, but not until a week-to-ten-day period of Siberian air that has already been delivered gets used up. Meanwhile Europe continues to get a southerly flow except for the very west, which gets storms.

QUICK GLANCE AT UK MET MAP 

UK Met Feb 11 12210115 (click map to enlarge)

What a messy map!  The pattern continues to be stuck between having a strong and established Icelandic Low, and having a storm track through the Mediterranean. Currently it looks like the GFS model was wrong, and what remains of “Lullerthird” will not redevelop and swing a secondary into Norway tomorrow. Rather the weak low “Ghost,” just appearing in the lower left, will strengthen as it crosses the Atlantic and (Surprise! Surprise! Surprise!) crash into the waterlogged British Isles on Thursday.

The pattern I’ve been watching for all winter has been strong on the American side of the Atlantic, but never has really established itself on the European side.  (Likely this demonstrates a Pacific component was involved.)  I still think it may appear, but it is too late to cause Europe a severe winter;  instead it would be a spoiled spring.

A A Screen shot 2013_05_19 at 10_33_10 PM(1)

LOCAL VIEW  —Rumors of storm—

A battle 89 satsfc (3)A battle 89 rad_nat_640x480

The GFS computer models started to see the storm I’ve been wary about last night. As it is the model most of our local forecasts are based about, forecasts had been for a light snow event on Thursday, as the GFS saw the storm slipping out to sea. Last night there was suddenly more  concern, and people picking up their children at our childcare started demonstating that strange glee people have when doom first appears on the horizon, but still is at a safe distance.

I try not to get too caught up in it. Some were all excited about a giant storm that some model showed for last weekend, and talked of us getting two feet of snow, and then had to suck lemons when we only got an inch.  However this time the threat looks realer.

You can see the rain and snow brewing to the south, in the radar map. Some of this will slip out to sea with a ripple of low pressure I suppose is “Ghostson.”  More moisture will hang back and await the kick from that impulse of energy way up in the Canadian Rockies. That energy will swing down and swoop up the Gulf of Mexico moisture and then curl back up the coast, likely giving us snow Wedensday night and Thursday morning.

I’m the slightest bit smug about that front laying down in the Gulf, as it is a ghost-front which came back to life, which I paid attention to, and it is the reason the storm whose isobars are dimly seen in the upper right of the map got the name “Ghost.”  I figure that, even though a lot of this next storm’s energy is coming from elsewhere, it is a sort of “Ghostthird.”  However it is detached from “Ghost” to such a degree I figure it ought be spelled differently, to recognize its separate identity, so I guess I’ll dub it “Gothurd.” (That has a nice, Nordic ring to it.)

It’s a bit below zero out, in the dark of predawn, and as low as ten-below in a sheltered valley down the road. I’m going to be fairly busy with storm preparations on top of ordinary chores, but will post when I can.

FEBRUARY 11  —DMI AFTERNOON MAPS—

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

Just at first glance, (and only glance, as I’m tired,) It looks like Rongwe 5 is the last of the Pacific “wrong-way” storms, but a new parade of Atlantic wrong-way storms may get going along the north coast of Greenland and Canada.

The Finland to Alaska cross-polar-flow is now glaringly obvious, and seems likely to inject less-cold air into at least half the Arctic.  The big blob of cold crossing on the Bering Strait side looks like it will be the last, but we’ll have to wait and see about that. ( I keep thinking patterns are about to change, and then the old patterns resume.)

FEBRUARY 12   —DMI MORNING MAPS—  My back porch is colder than the Pole

DMI Feb 12 pressure mslp_latest.bigDMI Feb 12 temp_latest.big (1)

An impressive surge of Atlantic air is invading the Arctic Sea, as both Iceland and Svalbard experience thawing. Temperatures at the Pole have risen above minus-ten ( 14 Fahrenheit) and could get above minus-five (23 Fahrenheit).  Meanwhile it is minus-seventeen on my back porch (0 Fahrenheit.)

I wish the darn arctic would stay up where it belongs.

I wonder if the clash between mild air and cold air will brew up an arctic gale.  I’m going to name that low north of Greenland “Atwong,” (for “Atlantic-wrong-way-low.”)

The north-of-eighty-degrees-latitude-graph DMI temperature graph will spike way above normal, as all the truly cold air is over towards Bering Strait, or in Siberia, or raising my heating bill, and most is south of eighty degrees.

With low pressure moving west on the Canadian side I wonder if high pressure will move west on the Eurasian side, bringing a “Snout of Igor” (Siberian Cold) back to Europe. I wouldn’t put away my winter clothes, if I lived over there, though looks like it will stay mild until next week.

QUICK GLANCE AT UK MET MAP

UK Met Feb 12 12236347 (CLICK TO ENLARGE)

“Lullerthird” remains strong between Iceland and Scotland, as “Ghost” continues on its way across the Atlantic to crash into waterlogged England. Though the Mediterranean storm track is still apparent the Icelandic High is making a comeback. In western Europe the southerly flow has a maritime-polar source, and isn’t all that warm. In eastern Europe they are getting a break from Siberian air, but the “Snout of Igor” should come surging back in a week or so. Don’t put away your mittens.

LOCAL VIEW  —Insomnia report—  

A battle 90 satsfc (3)A battle 90 rad_nat_640x480

A battle 91 satsfc (3)A battle 91 rad_nat_640x480

The above maps show the warmth people were talking about coming across the USA just got crushed between the preceding arctic high and the following arctic high, and now is an occlusion extending up to Hudson Bay. The real action is to the south, where “Ghostson” slipped harmlessly out to sea (unless you live in the Carolinas,) and now “Gothurd” is gathering strength and looks far less harmless.

The GFS computer model keeps hinting Gothurd might slip out to sea like Ghostson did, but the Weather Service issued a “watch” yesterday and a “warning” about ten minutes ago, so maybe they don’t trust their own computer, or maybe it updated its read-out.

I’m in no mood for a storm. Three separate ailments have been moving through town, (a cold, a 24-hour-stomach-bug, [Norovirus] and the flu). Children and parents at our day care are coming down with things left and right, but my wife and I can’t. Our staff can have sick days, but we have to be immune. Strangely, we (so far) haven’t gotten sick, however I think we simply are exposed so such an onslaught of germs that our immune systems are in high gear, so that when we get things we don’t get completely clobbered.  We just feel less than 100%, but are still able to do stuff that has to be done, such as snow-blow the driveways. However I sure don’t feel like snow-blowing when I am not at 100%.

O well, whatever will be will be.

SIBERIAN SNEAK ATTACK ON WESTERN EUROPE

The following maps are produced by Dr. Ryan Maue at the WeatherBELL site. They show very cold air sneaking back over arctic waters during the next ten days to come down on western Europe from the northeast.  They are from the ECMWF model, and represent whether temperatures are above normal or below normal roughly 5000 feet up from sea level, in the atmosphere. Notice how Scandinavia starts out red (above normal) but winds up blue (below normal.)

Models are often wrong, but this particular model shows a solution which shows something I’ve been thinking about, and is why I think people in london shouldn’t put away their mittens.

(By the way, the map also shows coastal Siberia has exported so much cold to Canada it is now above normal. But don’t be fooled by the red color. “Above normal” is still well below zero.) (Double-click these maps to fully enlarge.)

PRESENT   Sib1 eps_t850a_asia_1

IN 3 DAYS     Sib2 eps_t850a_asia_13

IN 5 DAYS      Sib3 eps_t850a_asia_21

 7 1/2 DAYS    Sib4 eps_t850a_asia_31

IN 10 DAYS    Sib5 eps_t850a_asia_41

FEBRUARY 12  —DMI AFTERNOON MAPS—  Thaw at Pole?

DMI Feb 12B mslp_latest.bigDMI Feb 12B temp_latest.big (1)

The Finland to Alaska cross-polar-flow persists, and has now dragged the minus-five isotherm right next to the Pole, with the freezing-isotherm now poking north of Svalbard.  Considering how tightly the isobars are packed together, it seems remotely possible for above freezing temperatures to cross the Pole, despite ice-cover and 24-hour-a-day darkness. If it happens, I imagine it will generate a counter-attack-headline, to cover the fact that places in the American Midwest are threatening to break all-time records concerning snow-cover and cold.

It’s darn hard to sell Global Warming in the American Midwest right now, just as it was hard in Europe last winter.  Therefore there will be, I imagine, an attempt to change the subject and divert attention elsewhere, by the salesmen.  They have money involved, and it is impossible to be objective and see the big picture when constrained by concerns for the the wallet.

In my humble opinion the big picture is that something is out of balance, and therefore the jet stream has gone loopy.  The atmosphere is always striving to achieve an impossible mediocrity, and the zonal pattern is as close as it gets.  The loopy [or ‘meridianal’] pattern is, I imagine, a sign something needs to be brought back into balance. Perhaps it is caused by the PDO switching to “cold” mode when the Atlantic is still in “warm” mode.  Or perhaps it is caused by the variations of the sunspot cycle.  Or some other cause.  However we are witnessing an atmosphere which is doing some drastic things, flinging cold air far to the south and sucking warm air clear to the Pole, to regain its balance.

Pretty neat, if you ask me. But no reason to raise taxes.

The surge towards the Pole will interrupt the flow of Siberian cold to Canada, I imagine, and it also seems likely to create a new place for that Siberian air to go. Every action begets a reaction, so I imagine the current from Finland to Alaska will create a counter-current the other way, along the Siberian coast from east to west, creating the sneak-attack portrayed in the update before this one.

Lastly, in terms of sea-ice, this flow is not flushing much ice down through Fram Strait, and is cramming a lot of ice into Beaufort Gyre. Though ice extents may drop, the ice that exists in the arctic is not the thin skin it was a couple years ago.  It is compressed, and thicker.

A QUICK GLANCE AT THE UK MET

UK Met Feb 12B 12250227 (click to enlarge)

The pattern seems to be wobbling back towards the domination of the Icelandic Low, as “Lullerthird” has retained its strength despite being occluded, and remains a strong 954 mb gale south of Iceland. Meanwhile “Ghost” is nearly as strong, a 955 mb storm smashing poor Ireland yet again. In a sense this reduces the power of the Icelandic Low, and gives credence to my assertion that this winter we have a “Britannic Low”.

I should also point out that “Ghost” got its name because it was a feature I noted on American maps that didn’t get the notoriety of being noted by the map-makers.  It was a mere dimple in the isobars, without the recognition of a little “L” on the map to show it was there, and its fronts un-delineated, and mere “ghost fronts.”

There are features on this map equally unnoticed.  I will give the map-maker credit for noticing Ghostson, just appearing as a meek thing in the lower left corner, as that will likely be the next gale crashing into Ireland and rebuilding the Britannic Low.

However the persistance of the Britannic Low is creating a divided Europe, for it does not create a kindly southern flow from the Azores, (though occational dollops of that nice air can come north.) Instead it drives maritime polar air into the southern flow. This air may be greatly modified by its Atlantic passage, but it remembers its arctic origins.  While the lowlands of England may be squelching and soggy, the highlands of Scotland are drowning in snow.  Therefore there should be a demarcation in the southerly flow, currently owning Europe. To the east, where it usually is colder, the southerly flow is bringing air up from deserts and warn seas, but to the west, where it usually is milder, the flow has a definite chill, as its origins are Iceland and Greenland.

This chill from the west will be matched by a chill from the east, but that is especially unapparent in this map. All that remains of the “Snout of Igor” is vague high pressure in the upper right, and it seems the antithesis of Siberian cold, because it is the west side of a high pressure and denotes winds from the balmy south.  However as this high pressure lifts to the north the winds will shift to the southeast and then east, and the balmy nature of the wind will change.

Or so I surmise. We shall see what we shall see. All I am saying is that there are features on this map that are not apparent, unless you listen to the whispers of ghosts in the wind.

LOCAL VIEW  —Will the storm stall?—

A battle 92 satsfc (3)A battle 92 rad_nat_640x480

When I was young, this map would be a dream come true, especially with 18 inches of snow in our forecast. It would have meant no school tomorrow, and likely Friday as well, and then all of Saturday and Sunday free as well, before I finally faced my undone homework, late on Sunday night.

Now it only makes extra work for me, and it is amazing how that alters your view of a storm. Rather than a friend it is my enemy. How the tables have turned!

The good news is that the storm has slowed down. The snow was originally suppose to start at midnight, but now it is delayed until after the sun is up. So I don’t have to crawl from bed before dawn, leaving my warm wife for the embrace of bitter winds, and for miserable time spent trudging in darkness behind a snow-blower, so customers can drive comfortably into our Daycare’s lot. Instead I can sleep a little later, and likely won’t have to snow-blow until noon.

My hope is that the storm slows down to a grinding halt.  I’ve seen such things happen in the past.  If you look at the map, the high pressure to the north does present an obstacle. Originally the GFS had that high pressure shunting the storm out to sea, but it has now decided the high will prevent the storm from taking that route, blocking that escape, and causing it to head inland to such a degree Boston will see the snow turn to rain, (even as we get all snow, 60 miles inland and north).  And if the GFS can slow the storm that much, why not go farther?

Once these storm slow they occlude, as a fast-cold-front speeds around the low to a slow-warm-front stretching east. Then the storm follows the occlusion due east, sometimes creating remarkably different weather and snow-totals in a sixty-mile range.

In February 1978 a blizzard, thaw, and blizzard completely shut down Boston, but in the suburbs of Portland, Maine it was just a couple of ordinary storms, and life went on as usual. The only sign things were amiss was that the shelves started to look empty in grocery stores, because no trucks could come north. However enterprising truck drivers drove all the way around and came south from Quebec, and the shelves were restocked in Maine even before Boston had its streets clean.

The entire day of the Perfect Storm in 1991 we, where I now live in New Hampshire, had grey skies and strong winds blowing dry leaves about like scurrying herds of knee-high color, with blue sky at the northern horizon. I drove up to that horizon because I wanted to help out at a friend’s “Habitat For Humanity” project, and actually got a sunburn in October, as fishermen drowned in a crazed Atlantic not too far to my east.

So it has happened before, and can happen again. The GFS computer lives in a dream world, and only comes around to reality as it happens. Slowly it is getting around to seeing the storm doesn’t zip out to sea, and consequently the forecast now has the storm plodding slowly up the coast. Why shouldn’t it just as slowly get around to seeing the storm stop, occlude, and follow its occlusion out to sea?

This is what is known as “wish-casting.” I don’t want to huff around a parking lot behind a snow-blower, so I create a forecast that makes my wish come true, just the same way I would, when a half-century younger, wish for storms to cancel school.

It makes me shake my head at myself. What has happened to me? I used to relish the challenge of a storm.  Now I’d rather stay in bed. In the winter of my life I’m going soft.

I’m weary of winter. It’s sunny days make me flinch. Like a small child’s futile griping, “It isn’t June this January,” dismays grip my will. The gray gauze now striping southern skies promises me but more snow, more slush, more wind that bites with cold.

It doesn’t help that I’m old and know my seasons. I’m fed up, and growing bold I stamp a foot and raise a fist at the sky and howl like Job, “Enough of this winter!”

Then, immediately abashed, I sigh, “Aurgh, don’t listen to me,” but dead leaves stir on a beech branch, and far whispering states, “The final Spring is everlasting.”

Aurgh, don’t use that word, “Everlasting.” It’s too much like I’m past my prime, put out to pasture, and promised food while fasting. Spring will be fine when its green comes about in the usual way. These things that I say are just how a heart howls when it’s winter.

I curse my sweater, under skies hard and gray, preferring bare skin, but when winds splinter the nerves of my face, I won’t discard wool my wife’s knitted for me.

I’d be a poor excuse for a man if I discarded armor in the face of an evil man’s sick war, (and poor if my wife saw me not charm her.)  Therefore I’ll hate cold, yet hug my sweater. (A man can know worse, yet also know better.) I’ll leave comfort to snow-blow and make comfort. It’s a contradiction, and part and parcel of going shack-wacky in the north-lands, this time of year.

Even the sunset was a contradiction this evening. When a sunset is gray it foretells of storm, and when it’s beautiful it foretells of fair weather, but this sunset was remarkably divided right down the middle. They southern west was grey, purpling darker to the south, while to the north the entire sky lit up to a rosy peach, not merely in the west, but right along the northern horizon to the east.

It made me wonder if it was an omen that we would be right on the edge tomorrow, when the storm comes north.

I also couldn’t fail to notice it was still (just barely) light, as the final parent drove off with their child, and I fed the goats and closed down the Childcare. Not many days ago it would have been pitch dark. Days are getting longer, and winter won’t last forever.

LOCAL VIEW —February 13—Snow starts at 5:45 AM—  

A battle 93 satsfc (3)A battle 93 rad_ec_640x480

Snow is light and the barometer is still high at 30.25. School cancelled, but parents still need to work unless they are school teachers, so it will be a mixed up day at the Childcare.

LOCAL VIEW  —Mid-morning report—

A battle 94 satsfc (3)A battle 94 rad_ec_640x480

The snow is still light, but the heavy stuff is moving up through Connecticut into Massachusetts. The storm is coming north with little sign of it occluding or stalling, so I guess we’re in for it. It’s above freezing in Boston but having trouble getting out of the teens here. Pressures have started to fall: 30.15 at 10:00 and 30.09 at 11:00.

FEBRUARY 13  —DMI MORNING MAPS—

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

The strong cross-polar-flow continues, with Atlantic air now splitting the Pole.  The clash with Canadian cold seems to be keeping that interesting little low “Atwong” alive, north of Canada.  It’s circulation is exactly opposite the normal flow of the Beaufort Gyre. It would be interesting to know if the ice is jamming up.  The cloud cover is fairly thick, so it would also be interesting to know how much snow is generated by these Atlantic invasions.

The invasion has resulted in a a dramatic spoke upwards in the DMI temperature-north-of-80-degrees-latitude graph:

DMI Feb 13 meanT_2014Click map graph to enlarge.

QUICK LOOK AT UK MET

UK Met Feb 13 12265152

“Ghost” is right over the part of Scotland where I went to school for a year, 44 years ago.  “Ghostson”  is strengthening in the lower left, hurrying across to spoil the Saturday in the British Isles.

For some time the isobars  have slanted across the Gulf Stream. I wonder what it takes for winds to push the surface waters of such a stream south and east, and whether it influences the temperatures to the northeast.

LOCAL VIEW —Evening report— A foot of snow

A battle 95 satsfc (3)A battle 95 rad_ec_640x480

Barometer fell to 29.96 at 1:00, to 29.69 at 5:00, and to 29.46 now at 7:00. Winds picked up and the snow came whirling down so thickly I could barely see a hundred yards away.  We barely had over inch at 1:00, but by 3:00 we had nearly six inches and I figured I’d better start snow-blowing before it got too far ahead of me.

Today’s my birthday, and I thought a nice present would be to have this storm go out to sea.  Instead I spent a long time this afternoon snow-blowing, and decided it wasn’t so bad. I didn’t enjoy the wind blowing the fluff back in my face much, but now that it’s done the amazing capacity of memory to mend is apparent. In fact I could probably describe it in such a manner that you’d feel like rushing out and getting snow blown in your face as well. I won’t do that. I’d feel terrible if you got frostbit.

********

Interruption there.  Some nice birthday phone calls, and then a relaxed birthday dinner with my wife. Birthdays are nice, but I’m glad they only happen once a year. If they were more often I’d never get anything done. Also a heck of a lot older.

One more interesting shot of snow is apparent on the radar. The “hole” we are in now is actually a very fine snow, sort of a frozen drizzle, which doesn’t show up on the radar. However the center of the storm is still to the south, and is sucking in more moisture.

I should update the maps:

A battle 96 satsfc (3)A battle 96 rad_ne_640x480 (1)

That could be quite a spell of snow, if it makes it north.  Looks like the storm is starting to occlude, so things could move east. Pressure is still falling, down to 29.32 at 9:00. I’d best get to bed, as I might have to snow-blow again in the morning.

FEBRUARY 13  —AFTERNOON DMI MAPS—

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

FEBRUARY 14 —DMI MORNING MAPS

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

(Hope to comment later)

LOCAL VIEW  —Still snowing—

A battle 97 satsfc (3)A battle 97 rad_ne_640x480 (1)

Woke up to use the bathroom and noriced the barometer was down to 29.07 at midnight, and this morning it is down to 28.86 at 5:00 AM . It is fairly calm, with lazy, fat flakes drifting down, but the isobars are packed tightly behind this storm, and I expect winds will get blustery later. I have to run over toithe farm to clean up the inch or two of snow we had overnight, but hope to be back at mid-morning to just sit here and contemplate profound stuff.

LOCAL VIEW  —mid-morning report—

A battle 98 satsfc (3)A battle 98 rad_ec_640x480

Barometer rising, up to 28.95 at 11:00, and strong winds dumping the burdened boughs and whirling great billowing swirls of snow in the wind, though the snow has stopped except for flurries.

We had roughly four more inches, with the first inch a gritting sleet last night that resisted removal. The snow-blower would basically get rid of three inches during the first pass, with the lover inch a smooth pavement that crumbled under the wheels, and required a second pass. The top inch was fluffy, likely a fifteen-to-one ratio, (snow to water,) but that bottom inch was likely four-to-one. All in all the storm delivered icey, heavy snow, despite the fact it was primarily dry snow. They had a two-hour-delay to the start of school, and later gave up ans cancelled school. The plows did a great job of clearing the roads, but effectively sealed everyone into their driveways. The snow banks in driveways were waist deep.

I had a sort of confrontation with a huge blow about to seal in the entrance to the Childcare for the fourth time. I was running the slow-blower along the side of the street, at the entrance, as the huge truck approached with a big wing-plow. I figured if I didn’t budge he would swing out to avoid me, and wouldn’t plow me in so badly, but he figured it was a game of “chicken,” and he was a heck of a lot bigger, so he kept right on coming.  I decided there was no way my 300 pound snow-blower was going to take on a five ton truck, so he won.  However it did give me a chuckle and an idea for a humorous essay.

They have the wing-plows out to push the snow back as far as they can, as more snow is coming tomorrow.  You can see it out west, on the radar map. They are only forecasting an inch or two, but this sort of “trailer” storm can explode when they reach the ocean, and make forecasters very nervous.  They are likely calming the public, but privately advising the plowers to not be surprised my more. Usually they let the snow settle a bit before wing-plowing, but aren’t taking any chances. (there is a chance of yet another storm on Tuesday.)

It probably makes people over in Europe chuckle to see us call a low only down to 973 mb a “storm,” as they get so many down around 960 mb and lower, however it has to do with the latitude.  Anything below 980 mb this far south delivers much more action than a 980 mb storm over Iceland.

LOCAL VIEW  —Winter weather advisory— (Like we need any more snow)

A battle 99 satsfc (3)A battle 99 rad_ne_640x480 (1)

The little low over Ohio is suppose to explode into a 970 mb low south of Cape Cod tomorrow.  Boston has a warning for 4-7 inches of snow.  We should get less, but I don’t look forward to any more snow-blowing.

A wild afternoon.  I let the goats out but they wouldn’t venture from beneath the barn.  You know the wind is strong when entire trees sway, and not just branches.

A PEEK AT UK MET MAP  —Oh Look! Ireland’s getting hit again!  What a surprise!

UK Met Feb 14 12305598

FEBRUARY 14 —DMI AFTERNOON MAPS—

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

FEBRUARY 15  —DMI MORNING MAPS—

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

The Finland-to-Alaska cross-polar-flow looks to be breaking down, or swinging clockwise to a Finland to Greenland flow. The Atlantic air has blocked the delivery of Siberian air to Canada, and if anything it looks like Canadian cold is moving towards the pole, (perhaps to fill a vacuum left when the Warm Atlantic air rises.) Likely this means Canada and USA will get a break from Siberian air next week, however Europe might not be so lucky.  As mild air goes one way north of the High Pressure on the Siberian coast, very cold air is going the other south of that high, east to west, towards Europe.

QUICK GLANCE AT UK MET  

UK Met Feb 15 12319424

Not a very nice Saturday for the poor, soggy folk in the British Isles.Nit so bad down in the Mediterranean.  The Icelandic Low has again been replaced by a Britannic Low.

Our last storm, “Gothurd,” is appearing in the lower left, but is already occluded.  Perhaps things will be different if we use up a storm’s energy on our side of the Pond, and the storm will have less strength to bother the British with.

LOCAL VIEW  —Blizzard warning for Boston—

A battle 100 satsfc (3)A battle 100 rad_ec_640x480

Oh fudge.  4 to 6 inches predicted for us this afternoon. We don’t even get a break.  However at least it will be fluff and not heavy wet stuff. That looks like it is coming after a storm Monday, with yet another storm on Wednesday.  That will use up the last of the imported Siberian air, and be the start of  a warm up and rain, to make a slushy mess, but that doesn’t reassure me all that much, as often a warm-up is a prelude to our bigger February snowstorms.  In fact it looks like we are in for an ordeal.

Hmm. I likely need another coffee.  Then I may get more optimistic.

This storm needs a name. It came so quickly I think I’ll dub it, “Kwik.”

LOCAL VIEW —Noon update—

A battle 101 satsfc (3)A battle 101 rad_ec_640x480

Light snow is already falling, up here in New Hampshire. The barometer is already starting down, at 29.81 at noon, and 29.76 at 1:00 PM. I’ve enjoyed a lazy morning, recovering from the last storm and taking a deep breath before the next one.

It is, (or should be,) amazing that they can forecast a blizzard when it hasn’t really developed off the coast. They are saying it will be wild down over Cape Cod, with wind gusts up near hurricane force.  Up here in the hills we’ll be at the edge, with wind gusts only around 35 mph, but I’m expecting the way the ocean winds uplift over our hills to squeeze out a bit more snow than they expect, and to get around a half foot.

LOCAL VIEW  —4:00 PM report—

A battle 102 satsfc (3)A battle 102 rad_ec_640x480

I’d been pottering about doing chores outside in my usual slow-motion Saturday fashion, clearing the snow from the back doors we seldom use, mending a gate at The Childcare, tending to the goats, and watching the sky. We’ve had over an inch of fine flakes,  but I couldn’t see much that would clue me in to the idea a storm was brewing, however around 3:30 I started to notice the low clouds had sped up and were from the northeast. Down here on earth is is still quite calm. Then big flakes started to mix in with the small ones, and curiosity drove this old cat indoors to check the maps.

Pressures haven’t fallen that much here; to 29.70 at 4:00 PM.

LOCAL VIEW  —9:00 PM update—

A battle 103 satsfc (3) A battle 103 rad_ec_640x480

It looks like we’ll just get a glancing blow. The pressure’s starting to fall more swiftly, 29.55 at 9:00, but radar shows that the edge of the snow is only ten miles away, to my west, and it is fading east as the storm roars away out to sea.

Fine with me. I’ll be able to get the snow-blowing tomorrow in sixth gear, practically jogging behind the machine.

Radar also shows more snow in the midwest, which is actually the forefront of our “warm-up.” The problem is that the departing storm will have howling north winds in its wake, and will drag down arctic air between us and that “warm up.” As the warmth advances the arctic will fight a rear-guard action, and we’ll get one last bout of snow before the mildness moves in. But O’ll cross that bridge when I get to it.

FEBRUARY 15  —DMI AFTERNOON MAPS—

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

FEBRUARY 16   —DMI MORNING MAPS—

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

The Atlantic air that was sucked up over the Arctic Sea continues to lose its heat. The Canadian side cotinues very cold, as much of the Siberian cold has been suppressed south and is heading back west over land, even as milder air is heading east further south over the Steppes.

QUICK LOOK AT UK MET

UK Met Feb 16 12345135

“Ghostson” has moved up to Norway. Polar maritime flow cools western Europe. Even the south flow in Scandinavia has orig ens north of Scandinavia.  It may not be Siberian air, but it isn’t balmy.

Reports from Iceland contain comments about how sunny and wind-free their winter has been.  Reports from Scottish ski resorts speak of record-setting snow depth; in one case a ravine was filled to the brim, and now is a flat area.

“Gothurd” appears to have less energy than storms that started weak but grew strong as they crossed the Atlantic.  He appears to be headed straight for the British Isles, but lacks the power of prior storms.  (He spent all his energy burying my pastures and ruining the skating on our ponds.)

LOCAL VIEW  —Roaring in the heights—

A battle 104 satsfc (3)A battle 103 rad_ec_640x480

Cape Cod got clobbered, but the storm was already over when insomnia got me up at 3:00 AM, up here in New Hampshire. Pressures were 29.53 and already rising. Up in the heights the pines were roaring like distant surf in the wind. It was in stereo, louder in the heights above our house, and quieter across the little valley, in the distant pines that fringe the dim dawn twilight now.

It’s much colder, which is what people should be relating to, but already the talk is all about another storm on Tuesday.  I’m going to focus on drinking up the sunshine, while it lasts.

FEBRUARY 16 —DMI AFTERNOON MAPS—

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

A battle between the Atlantic and Siberia is developing. I am concerned about all that cold north of Canada coming down my way, (to the USA,) however I think the rebuilding of cold on the Siberian side is also interesting.  I wish I had more time to study it.

In my simplistic way of looking at things the Atlantic has spent a lot of its available energy in the recent invasion, and will be less able to mount another invasion in the near future.  Meanwhile the Siberian cold has ducked down and is sneaking west under the bright orange high pressure in the above map.  I advise those who have the time to attend to the movement of that cold air.

OK. I suppose you are as busy as I am. But just this one time I’ll do your work for you, because I am such of heck of a nice guy.  Here are a couple maps produced by Dr. Ryan Maue at the WeatherBELL site, showing the current cold over Siberia, and how it expands towards Europe 90 hours from now.

INITIAL RUN  ————– DMI Feb 16X gfs_t2m_asia_1

90 HOURS FROM NOW   DMI Feb 16Y gfs_t2m_asia_31

If you right-click on these maps, some computers give you the “open link on a new tab” option. This enables you tom click back and forth between the two tabs and create a mini-animation of the cold coming west. It also enables you to note the warmth heading east over the Steppes under the cold. On the right situation this can create a low pressure, or string of low pressures, and the east winds above that low pressure further shunts the cold, the beast from the east, towards Europe. However at this point we are entering the la-la land of “model solutions,” and the models tend to differ about what actually becomes of the is cold air. That is why it pays to keep your own eyes open.

The 90-hour map also shows that, to the north, the Atlantic spear of warmth has been converted to Arctic cold. However before you get too bummed out about “Igor’s” amazing ability to generate cold, you should look at the 12 hour map:

12 HOURS FROM NOW DMI Feb 16Z gfs_t2m_asia_5

If you compare this map with the initial map you notice a vast area of minus-forty temperatures has sprung up to minus-twenty temperatures.  What can be causing this amazing warm up?

It is called high noon. The sun is returning to the north, and eventually this amazing place called Siberia will be unable to generate temperatures of minus-fifty, and instead will generate temperatures of plus-ninety. (Fahrenheit.)

But don’t have your May-Day party when it isn’t May yet. Temperatures still plunge to minus-forty in Siberia as soon as the sun sets.

A GLANCE AT THE UK MET MAP

UK Met Feb 16B 12357649 (click to enlarge)

As usual, the map shows no Icelandic Low over Iceland. The people of Iceland are looking around, as they have done much of the winter, bewildered by the light airs and sunshine. Even more bewildered are the people down in England and Ireland, for they are between storms, and the ridge of high pressure extends down from Iceland over them, and they are seeing a bit of sun and a thing called, “the moon.”

“Gothurd” is crossing the Atlantic, aiming straight for the British Isles, but rather than getting stronger will be a weak 995 mb low when it gets there. The people of London and Dublin will be baffled, but will await in confidence for something to brew up and spoil next weekend.

There is no sign of Siberian air on the map. The cold air sweeping over much of northern Europe has origins in the Greenland Sea, west of Scabbard.   Nothing to picnic in, but not the beast from the east.

  LOCAL VIEW  —3 inches can be more, if there is wind—-

A battle 105 satsfc (3)A battle 105 rad_nat_640x480

It is amazing what a 35 mph wind can do with 3 inches of snow.  I spent much more time snow-blowing than I planned, as paths were filled bank to bank, and the banks are 14 inches high. The driveways and entrances were swept clear in some places, and in others had a foot looking like the top of lemon meringue pie. So I’m not in the mood to write much.

Kwik is heading away, an impressive little storm, and the low that trailed it has been swept south of us and is that bit of snow on the coast of Virgina. The next threat is out at the edge of the warm-up. The people of Nebraska are hearing this strange sound, and remembering it is something called “rain.” It might make it here by Thursday, but first we have to face a bout of snow tomorrow night.

Humbug. I can’t believe that when I was young I liked this stuff.

FEBRUARY 17  —DMI MORNING MAPS—

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

Cross-polar-flow from Finland moving clockwise slightly back towards Canada from Alaska, and eroding the cold Canadian reservoir. That is the only cold air decreasing. The Atlantic invasion past the Pole has cooled 10 to 15 degrees, and cold air is building in the Kara Sea.

A QUICK LOOK AT UK MET  —A quick look at Kwik—

UK Met Feb 17 12369225 (click to enlarge)

As expected, “Gothurd” is weakening as it approaches the British Isles, and “Ghostson” is drifting over Scandinavia. Meanwhile Iceland is enjoying a ridge of high pressure yet again. On the lower left “Kwik” is entering the picture, already occluded. It will act more like a Labrador Low than an Icelandic Low, however it may kick a secondary “Kwickson” east, and an actual attempt at a genuine Icelandic Low may occur later in the week. (The people in Dublin and London won’t believe it until they see it.)

The NAO, which is likely to remain in a generally “warm” mode for 5 to 10 more years, has taken a short-term jog into “cold” mode, even as the PDO, which is likely to remain in “cold” mode for years, has taken a short-term jog into “warm” mode. This seems likely to change the pattern, but exactly how I don’t know.

LOCAL VIEW —More snow tomorrow—

A battle 106 satsfc (3)A battle 106 rad_nat_640x480

You can see “Kwik” departing at the upper right, and the cold High Pressure it dragged down over us in its wake, and, to the west, the “warm up” hasn’t progressed very far east.  In fact, with powder snow hissing in bright sunshine and temperatures around seven, (-14 Celsius),  the promices of a “warm up” seem a bit like a cruel hoax. Furthermore, the radar indicates the warm up, at this point, consists of a wall of snow moving east. At this point it looks like it will arrive here tomorrow and give us around 4 inches. Then we will see how much cold air gets dragged south behind that storm.  At times these “warm ups” eventually cover the entire USA with the exception of New Hampshire and Maine, which remain in a stubborn little pocket of resistant cold.

I’ve been disappointed too many times be these “warm ups” to wear my heart on my sleeve, and tend to take an “I’ll believe it when I see it” attitude.

I may be slow and short with posts for a bit, as I have to go have a “tooth extraction,” which is just a nice and polite way of saying, “get a molar ripped from your skull.” I’m not a baby, but would be lying if I said I was looking forward to it. I need it like a need a hole in my head.  (Get it?)

FEBRUARY 17  —DMI AFTERNOON MAPS—

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

The cross-polar-flow continues to swing like a loose fire hose back and forth across the Pole, Now it is moving from east of Finland to the Canadian arctic archipelago, and its source region contains more continental air and less Atlantic air, though it is still predominantly mild. It is denting the cold air on the Canadian side, while a somewhat ominous increase in very cold air is eddying into the Kara Sea. For the time being the cross-polar-flow is a buffer, protecting Scandinavia from “Igor’s” beast-from-the-east.

Sea ice is being pushed down through Fram Strait, but the supply is restricted as ice to the north is pushed towards Canada. This may in part explain the lack of ice around Svalbard: Some goes south as some goes west, and little is imported.

QUICK SCRUTINIZING OF UK MET

UK Met Feb 17B 12381753 (click to enlarge)

Color map isn’t working. Sort of like how I feel.

Iceland continues to enjoy fair weather, as the British Isles manage to get three fronts over them even though “Gothurd” has wimped out and is only a 994 mb low. (Maybe they want bragging-rights for “worst winter,” even though they haven’t had much snow.)

The easternmost front on the Map, basically from Morocco through northern Italy to north of the Black Sea, and then curving up through Russia and back to the coast of Finland, is a approximate boundary of how far the Polar Maritime air has advanced. Of course it is greatly modified in places,  but it demonstrates what having the Icelandic Low shifted southeast into the Britannic Low position can achieve.

There is no sign on this map of the cold air building over the Kara Sea.

“Kwik” is stalled out in the position of a Labrador Low, and likely will cause a shift in the pattern.

LOCAL VIEW  —Winter storm warning— 6 to 8 inches tomorrow—

A battle 107 satsfc (3)A battle 107 rad_nat_640x480

The arctic high pressure is hanging tough over us. Temperatures are a bit higher than yesterday, around twenty at twilight, but dew points are below zero. If it stayed clear and calm tonight we’d get very cold, but likely the clouds will move in, and keep us a bit warmer.

To the west the warm-up warm front has made it to Minnesota on the map, and the people there must be pleasantly stunned by the relief from sub-zero cold. To the south the warm front has crossed the Mississippi River and is sliding east, however I’m slightly worried that the Pacific High Pressure behind that front is bulging south rather than east.  It was up in Idaho on the map I posted this morning, but now seems to be making its way into northern Texas.  It may head southeast towards a vacation in the Caribbean and leave us up here to the arctic wolves.

That low in the Mississippi valley seems squashed between the Pacific High to its west and the Arctic High to its east, so I’ll name it “Skwish.”  As it hits the Appalachian Mountains it will likely kick energy ahead, and, through the mysteries of “mophistication,” a low will appear off the coast, “Skwishzip.” That will intensify and give us a white tomorrow.

More time behind the snow-blower. What joy! /sarc

LOCAL VIEW  —Bedtime update—

A battle 108 satsfc (3)A battle 108 rad_nat_640x480

No change on the forecast. I just like to glance at the maps before I sleep.  It is odd how this storm seems to want to go straight through the arctic high, rather than being deflected north or south.

LOCAL VIEW  —TUESDAY MORNING—  —Forecast now 6-10 inches—

A battle 109 satsfc (3)A battle 109 rad_ec_640x480

It is a dark and starless predawn, with temperatures close to zero. It is 1 degree here in the valley and 13 up on the top of a nearby hill. Further north, it is -6 in the Mount Washington Valley and +8 up atop Mount Washington at 6000 feet. So the extreme cold is shallow.

“Skwish” is occluding over the Great Lakes, as the warm front is having trouble getting over the Appalachian Mountains. The warm Front only reaches the sea way down in South Carolina. This is called “Cold Air Damming.”

No new low has developed on the coast yet, but the snow looks like it is getting heavier down off the Maryland coast.  It won’t get up here until noon or so, though we could get a little light stuff earlier.

Time to take a deep breath, before the fun begins.

FEBRUARY 18 —DMI MORNING MAPS—

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

The flow north of Scandinavia is swinging to an east-to-west flow, closing the lid on Atlantic air invading the Pole. A divergence continues north of Svalbard, with one flow down through Fram Strait and a second flow across the Pole towards Alaska. Beneath  the high that sits south of that flow, a west-to-east flow pushes cold air back towards Europe, assisted to some degree by a large (if not deep) low over Siberia north of Mongolia. (Siberian low shown in the Ryan Maue WeatherBELL map below:)

DMI Feb 18 gfs_mslp_uv10m_asia_1 (Double click to fully enlarge.)

QUICK SQUINT AT UK MET MAP

UK Met Feb 18 12393972

No sign of Siberian air sneaking back from the east . No sign of Icelandic low, either.  “Kwik is a temporary Labrador Low, with various suspicious-looking lows to its south that appear to be aiming across the Atlantic. Whatever forms will be “Quikson.”

The weak low over Scandinavia is walling the very cold Siberian air to the east.  England looks like it is still getting a few showers from the fading remnants of “Gothurd,” but for the most part is in a lull.

LOCAL VIEW  —Noon Report—  Heavy burst if snow and then a lull

A battle 110 satsfc (3)A battle 110 rad_ec_640x480

The map shows the coastal low starting to form. The radar shows the heavy snow associated with the coastal low, and also a dry slot between that snow and the lighter snow associated with the old low. We are at the very edge of the dry slot now, but were in the very edge of the heavy snow thirty minutes ago. Looks like the snow-line will expand back west shortly.  Temperatures are up to 18.

LOCAL VIEW —Snow over for now—

A Battle 111 satsfc (3)A battle 111 rad_ne_640x480 (1)

I’d say we got around 8 inches of very fluffy snow, with a little graupal mixed in.  It wasn’t hard getting the snow-blowing done, except when I bogged down in the older snow making a path to the chicken coop. Getting the (word deleted) machine from the deep snow where it wanted to do nothing but merrily spin its wheels left me severely huffing and puffing.  I can’t see why some people spend perfectly good money going to gyms to work out. I practically kill myself just getting by.

I squeezed in my yearly physical at the local doctor’s today. He said I had no problems. I made sure to mention that I had no problems to my wife. She amounts to a “second opinion” at times, concerning the diagnosis of whether I have problems or not.

This little low, Skwishzip, had a cold front, but they disappeared it. It is a ghost front, however we are colder than the rest of the USA. It is up in the 40’s in shivering Chicago, and even up in the glacial streets of Minneapolis, Minnesota it is in the 40’s.  However so far the “warm up” has only nudged us up to 23 (-5 Celsius) which is no thaw. The winds behind the mini-noreaster, which barely got our barometer below 30.00, have shifted to the north. So the warm up is delayed for a bit.

I’m a little nervous about  that cold front with a stub of a warm front just south of lake Superior. That warm front actually connects to the diappeared part of Skwishzip’s cold front, and if if has trouble advancing into the north wind’s behind Squishzip that stub of a warm front could kick ahead yet another pulse of energy which, after the mysterious morfication of the mountains, could generate yet another mini-nor’easter for tomorrow.  Right now they are mentioning snow in the forecast, but not amounts.

That would be like topping on the topping, as we are reaching the point where it starts to involve thought, when it comes to thinking about where to put the snow.  The snow banks by the roads are getting impressive. You would have to be very determined to get through them, and crash into a tree.

They are still promising temperatures in the forties after tomorrow.  That might settle the snowbanks a little, especially if we get some some rain showers. However then a refreeze turns the banks to iron, and the roads become a bit like bobsled runs, only when you are going down a run in a bobsled you seldom meet another bobsled coming the other way.

I wouldn’t mind a thaw, because you don’t have to snow-blow a thaw. Unfortunately our thaws are usually only  during the day. During the night everything refreezes, and rather than snow-blowing I huff and puff spreading sand to keep customers from falling in the parking lot and suing me.

I doubt I’ll get fat anytime soon.

FEBRUARY 18  —AFTERNOON DMI MAPS—

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

The maps are a contradiction. The isobars suggest a lid is closing and mild Atlantic air can’t enter the Arctic Sea, but the temperature maps suggest a spear of mild air is being pulled right across the Pole. Perhaps it is mild continental air, in front of the Siberian air which is still coming west. I’m too tired to think much about it tonight, but it will in the back of my mind as my head hits the pillow.

A QUICK GLARE AT THE UK MET MAP

UK Met Feb 18B 12405517

Again a confused map, seeming to get half way to a new pattern before moving back to the old one. I’m too tired to analyze much.

FEBRUARY 19  —DMI MORNING MAPS—

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

The Siberian cold has edged a bit further west, into the southeast corner of Barents Sea, (which is the only part of that sea ice-covered.) However stepping up to meet it is the Labrador Low, (“Kwik”), which is oozing past Cape Farewell (the southern tip of Greenland) as if it is going to try to reestablish the Icelandic Low.  So likely there will again be a fight between the old pattern, which will bring Atlantic mildness up the coast of Norway, and the never-established “new pattern,” which tries to bring Siberian air west.

Mild air continues to push over the Pole despite the lid being closed at the Atlantic entrance to the Arctic Sea.  The Pole itself continues well above normal, as cold air is displaced into Canada and Siberia.

The clash between the mild air and the cold over Canada has generated a polar low northeast of Greenland. That low will create a slight wrong-way flow in Fram Strait, retarding the exit of sea-ice. It also may nudge the cold air over Canada south towards me, which I will not appreciate, as we, far south of the edge of this map, are hoping for a thaw.

A QUICK SCOWL AT THE UK MET

UK Met Feb 19 12417285 (click to enlarge)

What is left of “Ghostson” continues to whirl off the coast of Norway, but doesn’t really create much of a flushing north flow in Fram Strait due to the high pressure remaining over Iceland. In the North Sea “Gothurd” has fallen apart, and is basically a reservoir of polar maritime air feeding into a west-to-east flow across Europe. The east-to-west flow I’ve been watching for is north of Scandinavia.  It will be countered by an attempt to recreate the southerly flow over Europe by “Kwik” as it wobbles south of Iceland. The fading boundary between polar maritime air and milder continental air has brewed up a weak low south of France, and then continues on to the Black Sea. The west-to-east flow north of that front is impressive. For the time being the milder air is not going up into Barents Sea, but rather into the Steppes.  Barents Sea is seeing the other side of the high pressure, and the cold east-to-west wind.

Briefly the Atlantic winds stopped blowing across the Gulf Stream, and were actually blowing with the Gulf Stream, but it looks like the winds may be reverting to blowing across the Gulf Stream again. Over the long term this has got to have some effect, and I imagine a considerable amount of warm water will wind up further south than when the Icelandic Low is parked up over Iceland all winter.

LOCAL VIEW  —the mildness struggles to come east—

A battle 112 satsfc (3)A battle 112 rad_ne_640x480 (1)

Although the arctic air is diluted and no longer sub-zero, you can see “Skwishzip” pulled down just enough in its wake to resist the eastward movement of the thaw we yearn for. Once again we see a warm front to our southwest.

Also the front edge of that warm air is snow.  (Grumble-grumble-grumble.)

LOCAL VIEW  —Another coat of white paint—

A battle 113 satsfc (3)A battle 113 rad_ne_640x480 (1)

We’re getting punched by a shot of heavy snow at the moment, about an inch in the past hour.  It hopefully will rush past and give us little more than enough to annoy everyone.  Pressure is down to 29.86 from 30.01 this morning, and temperature is up to 27 from 15 this morning. It was sunny at daybreak, and then clouded over at around eleven, and here we are, snowy at two.

I’m not a happy camper. I have starter troubles with my truck, and then right after work I have to take one of those annoying CPR classes the government makes you take even though you’ve taken them many times before, (likely to keep the CPR instructors busy.) In actual fact it is the kids who should be taking CPR, because if any one is going to keel over with a heart attack it is me, likely due to shoveling too much snow. Grumble-grumble-grumble….

FEBRUARY 19  —AFTERNOON DMI MAPS—

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

The little low on the Canadian side of the Pole has strengthened, and seems to be wrapping up the Atlantic mildness with some Canadian cold, and confusing the cross-polar-flow.  I’m too tired to make sense of it.  I’ll just name that little low “Fuse,” which is short for “confuse,” and sleep on it.

The easterly flow seems to be weakening, along the Siberian coast,  as the flow down through Fram strait is at a standstill.  The movement of the sea-ice is opposed to the normal movement of the Transpolar Drift:

DMI Feb 19B arcticicespddrfnowcast  (click to enlarge)

QUICK SQUINT AT THE UK MET MAP

UK Met Feb 19B 12429846 (click to enlarge)

A weak west-to-east flow persists over much of Europe, as the east-to-west flow of cold air I was worried about seemingly has been shunted north and is barely chilling Barents Sea and perhaps northern Finland.  It looks like a counter-attack is developing, with a southwest surge developing as “Kwik” edges east, south of Iceland.  We may well be back in the “old pattern” by the weekend, which interestingly is the same time that our chance for mild weather will end over on this side of the Pond, and when we are scheduled to revert to the deep freeze.

LOCAL VIEW  —

A battle 114 satsfc (3)A battle 114 rad_ne_640x480 (1)

The map shows that last ripple on the warm front managed to kick ahead another coastal low. Pressures here are now 29.77 and rising. We had a whirling three inches in two hours.  It was just enough to totally mess up the roads.  Behind the unnamed low the wind has shifted to the northwest, but winds are light and the airmass is washed out to our north, and temperatures remain up in the twenties.

They are still prom icing a thaw tomorrow, with temperatures up in the 40’s, but I have my doubts, with winds to the north.

The truly arctic air is up in Canada, but the truly mild air is well to our south. We are in a blended air-mass, with Pacific air mixed with arctic air, which has passed over many miles of snow. It isn’t frigid, but not balmy either. Temperatures fall below freezing at night, and can cool the next impulse and give us more snow, after a sunny day tomorrow.

As Joe Bastardi says, “This is one heck of a way to run a warm-up.”

I have to get up early to clean up the mess of today’s snow. So I likely won’t have time to attend to the computer and this blog until mid-morning.

FEBRUARY 20 —DMI MORNING MAPS—

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

LOCAL VIEW —Winter weather advisory for tonight—

A battle 115 satsfc (3)A battle 115 rad_nat_640x480

It sounds like it going to be a beautiful day today, but cloud up and start snowing in the evening. The snow will turn to freezing rain by the morning. Therefore, rather than write sonnets about how beautiful the day is, I’ll be out in the beauty, pushing a snow-blower as the sun comes up.  I could be doing worse. I could be starting a twelve hour shift in a nail factory.  (Been there and done that.)

LOCAL VIEW   —Gorgeous morning—

A battle 116 satsfc (3) A battle 116 rad_nat_640x480

A beautiful morning, with skies of deep blue and a sun that felt like heaven, is being followed by an afternoon of growing cloud, but I got caught up on the snow-blowing and shoveling. Younger fellows are out making a bit of extra cash shoveling roofs. I’m keeping my fingers crossed, figuring I can hope a lot melts off before the next arctic blast.  (I used to love shoveling roofs, because of the on-top-of-it-all view, but now I avoid it when possible.)

Temperatures got above freezing around 8:30 for the first time in a long time, and continued on right up into the low 40’s. That small departing storm, which I guess I’ll call “Thump” because it gave us a thump of swift snow, has gotten a bit stronger and is pushing down enough north wind to give us the glorious morning, and create an air mass the next storm must push against.  It is “Thot,” because it thawed-a-lot.

“Thot” will be a Great Lakes Low, but not as huge as the ones in November as the lakes are now cold and largely frozen over.  The warm front it pushes east will be problematic, as it is very tricky predicting the zipper lows that form on such fronts.  The weathermen are predicting rain, changing to snow, changing to freezing rain, and finally back to rain showers tomorrow.  Basically an inch of slush, which is why people are shoveling the 2 feet of snow from their roofs.  I have less, as a 200-year-old house tends to leak a lot of heat.

In any case, it was a morning that will definitely stir the maples, so I’d best get a bucket out for the children at the Childcare.

LOCAL VIEW  —Sneak attack!— 2 more inchesA battle 117 satsfc (3)A battle 117 rad_ne_640x480 (1)

This is a perfect example of how even warm-ups are not entirely safe. I went into the class at 6:15 tonight, (second half of first aid classes required by law,) and when I came out at 9:00 it was snowing like gangbusters: Big, fat, wet, sticky flakes that made every twig look like a white branch. Snow so warm that it was no big deal to just scoop it off the windshield with a naked hand, yet snow that contains far less latent heat than water, and will make it that much harder to warm our air.

In any case, it has ceased. Two unexpected inches lie in the quiet night. Temperatures remain right at freezing.

FEBRUARY 20  —DMI AFTERNOON MAPS—

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

The low “Fuse” continues to spin between the Pole and Canada. The milder air within former cross-polar-flow from Finland to Alaska has been contorted into the letter “S” as the air within that flow has cooled some ten degrees. The arctic night has not yet lifted, and the Atlantic moisture is turned to snow, and its heat lost to outer space.  The “S” brings two bulges of cold into the arctic, one from Canada, and one on a new flow from Siberia.  All in all, the Pole is much colder.

The high pressure on the Siberian side has broken in two. Beneath the western piece is an east-to-west flow that continues across Scandinavia and then across the north Atlantic from Norway to Iceland to Greenland. This is the flow I was worried might have power, but instead is seems weak and ephemeral. At this point it doesn’t look like it will be lasting or that it will become a “new pattern.”

A QUICK GLOWER AT THE UK MET MAP

UK Met Feb 20B 12455459

“Quik” has developed as secondary “Quikson” at the top of Scotland, and even with Quik laying back southwest of Iceland the British Isles are getting their quota of wind and rain. It looks like we are slumping back to the old pattern.

FEBRUARY 21 —DMI MORNING MAPS—

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

LOCAL VIEW  —Slush City—

A battle 118 satsfc (3)A battle 118 rad_ec_640x480

Above are the maps I faced arising groggy from bed before dawn. I rushed about getting sand, and shoveling and sanding the entrance and exit of the Childcare. The precipitation moved north, leaving what some meteorologists refer to as “soup” behind, with the warm front “kinked” back to our south,but enough warmth aloft to turn the freezing drizzle to drizzle. Thick fog formed. By lunch we had this:

A battle 119 satsfc (3)A battle 119 rad_ne_640x480 (1)

There is static on the AM radio, and lightning on lightning maps as close as western Massachusetts. All we see is fog, as the warm front can’t push the cold air out.  Temperatures still in mid-thirties. If the warm air pushes up here before the cold front we could get thunder and heavier rain. That would make the slushy mess slushier.

A friend heard his roof-beams groan, and hustled up onto his roof to shovel. There was an immediate avalanche of snow,  and his shovel went one way as his ladder went another, and there he was, stranded up in the swirling purple fog. Lucky he had a cell phone. In the old days he would have had a long wait for his wife to come home.  I showed up, threw his shovel back up, put the ladder back up, gave him a nod, told him to call me any time he needed help on a roof, and left.

One is tempted to make a wise crack in such situations, however sometimes the expression on another’s face convinces one that buttoning ones lip, and keeping things matter-of-fact, is a wiser approach.

LOCAL VIEW  —February thunder—

A battle 120 satsfc (3)A battle 120 rad_ne_640x480 (1)

It is hard to focus on sea-ice and weather in Europe when the local weather is so interesting. However I will say that, though a big slug of warmth was delivered north, a lot seems to have been used up on this side of the Pond, leaving less energy to cross over and annoy our friends on the other side.

The big storm “Thot”, now occluded over the Great Lakes, might tear at the ice and expose more water, but the water will be exposed to winds below freezing.  It will not make our spring much warmer to have the water exposed but colder. Here is a map of the ice before the storm:

A battle 120 lice_00(8) (click to enlarge)

I imagine there will be less Great Lake’s ice after this storm, but the exposed water will likely swiftly grow new ice, as the cold comes back. (Rather than getting the above map at the source, I was lazy and lifted it from Joseph D’Aleo’s excellent blog at WeatherBELL, where I also got Dr. Ryan Maue’s excellent version of GFS initial data, which I’ll now use, in order to discuss how the cold comes back.) (I get all the cool stuff from the WeatherBELL site for the price of a cup of coffee a day, and they have a week free trial, if you want to check out their information without my comments.)

The front that passed us today was not all that dramatic. Air was in the mid 30’s ahead of it, and in the mid-30’s behind, because the warm sector was occluded,  It was lifted off the ground, and the action was occurring above our heads. However not far to our south, where the warm sector wasn’t occluded, the changes were dramatic. It was in the mid 30’s in front of the warm front, up to 67 in the warm sector, and in the mid 30’s behind the cold front. (That was in New Jersey, a six hour drive south, where they had a tornado watch.)

Behind the cold front it isn’t much colder than it was ahead of the warm front. When you follow the isobars upstream, and see no fronts, you might be tricked into thinking the temperatures won’t get much colder. In actual fact, when temperatures inexorably sink, it may happen slowly and gradually, and not be deserving of a “front” being noted on the map.  That is what is going to happen to us here. Today’s map may be the warmest we see in a long time.:

A battle 120 gfs_t2m_noram_1 (Double click to fully enlarge)

You can see the finger of grey sub-zero (Faherenheit) temperatures reaching down from Canada, and the pink sub-freezing temperatures refreezing the Great Lake’s water even as “Thot” exposes it.  However this flow will go on and on.  I’d better get the slush cleaned up tomorrow, for it will be like iron on Monday.

This morning I was spreading sand, to supply traction on freezing rain, but soon the temperatures warmed and the nice pavement of firm snow at the Childcare entrance and exit turned into rutted slush. I really didn’t have time to remove the slush, as long as cars could come and go at the Childcare.

Nor did I have time to tap my maples, as we had a birthday party planned for a member of our staff who deserves kudos, even if an old grouch like myself tends to deem kudos a fuss and bother, and tapping maples more important. The spanner thrown into the works of that plan was a two-hour-delay before the schools opened, which meant we had some older kids slouching about, who deem both kudos and tapping maples a fuss and bother.

Then I had to rush off and rescue a friend stuck on his roof. When I got back I found the children had been indoors too long, and were going a bit shack-wacky, so I employed their energy building an igloo, as the snow, which until today had been too powdery to do much with, was abruptly wet and wonderfully sticky.

I don’t think these things out. The igloo was six feet high, and wet snow is darn heavy stuff, and I am now sixty-one years old. I’ve been shoveling snow all week, when not shoveling sand, or wrestling a snow-blower around the parking lots, or carting firewood, or wrestling goats, or small children, or hoisting the kids to give them rides on my shoulders.  I was getting a bit bleary as the igloo swiftly arose.  It was obvious that the kind angels, who have had too work a lot of overtime to see to my survival, decided they had best intervene.

There was a flash of lightning, and wonderful long roll of thunder, and, due to State and Federal laws, all igloo work had to cease.  I shouted for all the children to gather on the screen porch, and, somewhat to my amazement, they actually obeyed. The did so with shrill screams while waving hands in the air, and their obedience took the form of a panicked stampede, but I think a dour Federal inspector frowning at his stopwatch would have raised his left eyebrow impressed, at the speed everyone was gathered on the porch. (I can tell you it never happens so quickly, during a drill.)

At first there was some griping about being stuck on the porch, and some whining, “Can we go back out now?”  however the lightning, often vividly pink in the thick fog, increased in its frequency,  and soon I had to do nothing to entertain the children. The sky did it for me.

Using the old, sound-travels-a-mile-in-five-seconds rule, the closest bolt was a mile and a half away, straight up. Several other bolts passed two miles away, straight up. I was explaining the a-mile-in-five-seconds rule, pointing upwards, to some of the more scientific kids, (the bus had dropped off the older kids ninety minutes earlier,) when one boy, (who was emotionally involved with completion of the igloo,)  wondered why we had to stay on a porch when the lightning was miles overhead, up in the occlusion.

I replied that occasionally a bolt does not stay up there, and in fact it is as if the entire occlusion discharges down a single super-bolt, but I could see the boy doubted me, and his doubt infected others.  They were giving me that, “Yeah, yeah, tell-me-about-it” look. It makes me feel like a maiden aunt telling a child to be careful with a carrot, because they might poke their eye with the pointed end.

It was at this point the angels watching over me decided to show that, besides mercy, they have power, and to do this by discharging the entire occlusion down a single super-bolt.  It would have been most effective if they did this around a tenth of a mile away, however besides power they have mercy, and the super-bolt landed roughly four miles away.

I had been explaining the entire bolt happens at the same time, creating a spiderweb of bolts over our heads, and that it was due to the speed-of-sound that the closest “web” is heard first, and the farther branches of lightning are heard later. We were tracking the paths of the various branches, looking up from the doorway of the porch into the fog. Because such sky-to-sky bolts hit no earthly object, they sound soft, or occasionally like a cracking branch, but they never pound. We were tracking a grumble to the south, when, a full two (if not three) seconds after the thunder began, there was a most impressive thumping. You could actually feel the ground shake, very slightly.

I then explained the bolt had hit earth four or five miles away, and wondered how loud it would have been if it had hit a local feature we call “Lightning Rock,” only a quarter mile away. Several of the small boys opined that they were deprived, and their happiness was stunted, because the entire occlusion discharged so far away.  They deeply yearned, earnest and honest, for a super-bolt to hit nearby.

In my sixty-one years I’ve not had that many experiences of super-bolts slamming down close.  A mile away is close enough for me.  Once they get much closer than that one tends to say, (as one might say with any beauty,) “Enough is enough; come no closer.”

As the parents picked up their children the kids were babbling enthusiasm about their afternoon.  The parents gave me grateful glances, as if I had something to do with what entertains their treasures. I have nothing to do with it. I merely introduce them to the outdoors.

Give me no credit for the lightning, nor the blue, blue sky. Give me no credit for the pines nor the sighing wind through their needles. I am merely a signpost, pointing to songbirds and the slinking coyote, the beavers and the weasels, the mosquitoes and the sunrises.

FEBRUARY 21  —DMI AFTERNOON MAPS—

DMI Feb 21B pressure mslp_latest.bigDMI Feb 21B temp_latest.big (1) (click to enlarge)

I have decided to rename the low over the Pole. I had dubbed it “Fuse,”  because it confused me, but I now rename it “Polo.” for “Polar Low.”

“Polo” is trying to create a “Zonal Flow” where the cold is kept up at the Pole. Notice how much colder the Pole looks. It would have to get even colder to be like a true Zonal Flow, but at least we see a hint of how the cold builds when the Cold is kept up where it belongs.  (Though colder, the Pole still is above normal.)

I’m too tired to analyze other details.

A BRIEF POUT AT THE UK MET MAP

UK Met Feb 21B 12481354

I am too tired to do justice to this map, however I must be humble and confess that the arctic outbreak I worried might overwhelm Europe is, if not nowhere-in -sight, is barely visible as a Snout-of -Igor poking into northern Finland. What a waste that worry was! Instead we see the drenched inhabitants of Dublin and London facing an actual weekend without a gale overhead, and merely facing showery and windy conditions.

Kwik and Kwickson have merged and we see them trying hard to behave like an Icelandic Low. Maybe they are leaning a bit too much towards Europe, but at least Iceland isn’t more sunny than Italy.

The faint west-to-east flow over Europe looks like it will shift to a strong south-to-north flow. This is very unfair, as on this side of the Pond we are about to get a strong north-to-south flow. It is also unfair as I was looking for an Arctic Outbreak to flood Europe from the east, and instead an Atlantic Outbreak seems likely to flood Europe from the south.

Such complete failures to forecast correctly go with the territory, if you have the audacity to attempt to predict chaos. However I don’t like being baffled, and basically wrong. I figure I have a higher IQ than inanimate objects, but the wind is an inanimate object, and it has outfoxed me yet again.

Therefore you will have to forgive me, as I retire to a corner to sulk and suck my thumb.

FEBRUARY 22  —DMI MORNING MAPS—

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

“Polo” is opening up a little towards the Atlantic. Exit region down through Fram Strait, and the entrance region is up through inland Europe, at this point involving mostly continental air and not much Atlantic air.

A BRIEF GLANCE TOWARDS THE UK MET

UK Met Feb 22 12494879

A definite southerly flow developing over Europe. Kwik continues to wobble north of Scotland, as a tangled mess which I suppose is “Skwishzip” and his unnamed follower are taking a more southerly route across the Atlantic. Likely it is headed for the British isles, to annoy those poor folk.

Despite all the warm fronts across Europe the bits of cold fronts in the upper right show the Siberian air is tenuously hanging on, east of the Black Sea.

LOCAL VIEW  —Rare clear horizons—

A battle 121 satsfc (3)A battle 121 rad_nat_640x480

Although “Thot” continues to whirl north of the Great Lakes and south of Hudson Bay, likely cracking the ice on those bodies of water, the radar shows very little rain or snow across the USA. It is a rare map. I am given a day to clear up slush and get ready for the next battle with winter.

Thot has orange dashed lines, which are upper air impulses rotating around like like the spokes of a wheel. As they swing around and come down and across us any one of them can bring a surprise snow, especially this time of year when the sun is starting to stir the atmosphere more than back in dreary December.  Late February and March is when “a chance of flurries” can become a sudden six inches.  However things look fairly benign and dry for a bit, as the colder air slowly filters in.

FEBRUARY 22   —DMI AFTERNOON MAPS—

DMI Feb 22B temp_latest.big (1)DMI Feb 22B pressure mslp_latest.big

The Pole is now as cold as I’ve seen it all winter, despite the southerly flow over Europe bringing mild air to the Barents Sea, and even the Kara Sea. (Interestingly that southerly flow looks fairly cold, along the Siberian coast just east of Finland.)

I wonder at the amount of heat our planet has lost, as the Atlantic air that moved up over the Pole has dropped from zero to minus-thirty. It is not merely the air itself, but the moisture in that air has lost a lot of latent heat as water was turned to crystalline ice. I imagine a thirty degree drop in temperature precipitates a decent amount of powder snow onto the ice, and in order for that snow to melt the latent heat will need to be put back into the H2O, robbing the air of heat next summer.

Although the polar low “Polo” has captured a lot of cold air in its spiral, it looks like its winds are creating a sort of Siberia to Canada cross-polar-flow on the Bering Strait side of the Pole.

A SWIFT PERUSAL OF THE UK MET MAP

UK Met Feb 22B 12508491 (Click to enlarge)

With high pressure nosing up into Spain and a southwest flow from the Azores west of there, one might hope for some mild weather in Europe, but the magnitude of the cold up at the Pole has me wary. There is something about the way the models are forecasting the next week that just “feels” wrong to me.  Besides the nice southwest flow at the bottom of the map there is a northeast flow at the top, From Svalbard down the coast of Greenland past Iceland into the central Atlantic.  A sneak attack of cold may be developing.

I am always looking east for the very cold air from Siberia.  That air is there, just off the upper right of the map, however the models show it backing away. Rather than winter coming from that direction, it may come across the north Atlantic from the top of Greenland.  Though such air is modified by its passage, it can retain its arctic character aloft, and bring definitely chilly and even snowy weather south.  Daffodils may be delayed, buds that bob but don’t bloom in a chilled north wind.

However something doesn’t feel right about these maps. There is too much warm air beside cold air with no storm brewing. I expect I should save a copy of next Friday’s map, to compare with the reality next friday, to see what I didn’t see coming:

Here is the 12z map for next Friday from Dr. Ryan Maue’s WeatherBELL goldmine. (Canadian Model)

 UK Met Feb 22B cmc_mslp_uv10m_eur_25 (Double click to fully enlarge.)

Well, surprise, surprise, surprise! A low has just passed over the drenched British Isles yet again, and is in the North Sea.  Southerly winds have migrated far inland to eastern Europe, as the West gets winds straight down from the Pole.

(Remind me to compare this map with reality, next Friday.)

LOCAL VIEW  —Too good to last—Don’t bank on ease— 

A battle 122 satsfc (3)A battle 122 rad_nat_640x480

Remember this morning’s map? The entire USA was pretty much precipitation free, except for a bit of lake-effect snow? It didn’t last. Already there are two streaks of snow heading my way on the west winds, likely associated with the spokes of orange rotating around “Thot” as he whirls south of Hudson Bay. Each orange line is an “impulse,” which I take to be a ghost-front in the upper atmosphere, a sort of washed-out occlusion. They don’t have much energy left to do anything on their own, but can stir up trouble when they add their energy to other features teetering on the brink; they are a push to a tipping point.

(In some ways that describes me, but I guess I won’t go there.)

Also notice how they drew in the cold front where no cold front existed on this morning’s map. I suppose it actually is colder where it is cloudy than where it is sunny, and the front draws the boundary, however in some ways that front is there to mark a development in well mixed air; it isn’t much different, temperature-wise, either side of that front.  The west wind is flow that is slowly and steadily getting colder.

However today was grand, with mostly sunny skies and with more temperatures up in the forties. I took it easy, only pushing a little shush from the driveway, as I figure I need a rest from the rigors of last week. I got a kick out of watching my dog walk gingerly through the slush to a drier spot, and then turn into the sweet, mild west wind. She lifted her nose slightly and leaned a little forward, half closing her eyes, and just stood in the sun, sniffing the mild breeze. (Sometimes dogs say things better than humans, without words.)

Nature seemed to be telling me to take a break, and physically I obeyed, but I know man is different than nature, and I know you can’t bank on ease. My bank makes certain of that.

Midst all the chaos and confusion of a stormy time last week I became aware my business account was bouncing checks left and right. After a bit of frantic research I discovered an $850.00 “automatic withdrawal” had been made by my propane delivery company, over at the farm. They usually limit their deliveries to $600.00, but with the price of propane through the roof, at over $4.00/gallon, the first delivery did not fill the dual tanks, so the fellow dutifully came through the snow to add $250.00 more two days later, and on both occasions he stuffed the notice of the delivery at the threshold of a side-doorway we don’t use, where it was swiftly covered by snow.  As even his footprints to the tank were covered by snow, I had no inkling the delivery had been made.

You’d think a bank could make allowances for an accident like that, especially as I have been a customer for nearly a quarter century. However they charged me $35.00 for every check they covered, and the fees came to $280.00. That seemed rather steep interest for what amounted to a $400.00 loan for four days. It seemed more than usury. It seemed like robbery. Despite all the craziness going on yesterday, I decided to visit my local bank and have a little talk with them, however, when I arrived, a police car was parked out front and the officer wouldn’t let anyone in. Apparently someone had decided to rob them back. For some odd reason the crime made me chortle.

It turned out the robber was some local fellow. I didn’t recognize his face, when I saw it on Facebook, but many others did. He made no effort to disguise himself,  not even wearing sunglasses. He apparently had been out of jail only a few days. Some suggested he wanted to get back in where it was warm.  If so, he changed his mind once he found he had a few thousand dollars in cash to ruffle. I figure he likely borrowed a car and is headed south to warmer climes, so that when he goes back to jail he’ll have a tan. At any rate, even though they know who he is, they can’t find him.  They likely won’t, until the money is gone. I know that crowd, from my younger days, and one thing I remember is how everyone was your friend, when you had money, and nobody knew your name, the day you were broke.

But maybe he’ll find some other bank to rob, though that is risky down south where it is warm, as the courts can be less liberal, and the officers less understanding. (Or so they say; my own experience was that southerners were kinder than northerners.)

And if he gets away with robbing a few more banks he may discover freedom isn’t so bad, and the thought of returning to jail will not be so attractive.  A fairy-book ending would have him winding up in some obscure town, and working as a landscaper for a local banker under an assumed identity, and being promoted to a teller at the bank, and eventually marrying the banker’s daughter, and becoming a pillar of the community.

(O Henry has a story like that, but at the crucial moment, just before the crook marries the banker’s daughter, the woman’s little sister gets locked in the bank’s vault, which only opens when a timer goes off, at which point the little girl will have suffocated.  The crook is faced with the choice of pretending he isn’t an expert safe-cracker, or revealing he is a crook.  He saves the child, and then, as he turns to the others expecting to be arrested, everyone turns a blind eye, and he marries the banker’s daughter and becomes a pillar of the community.)

Whatever happens to our local thief, I hope he someday becomes a pillar of a community. I’m not so sure I wish as well for my local bank.

FEBRUARY 23  —DMI MORNING MAPS—

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

The Pole looks even colder. It might even be down to normal.

A HASTY EXAMINATION OF THE UK MET MAP

UK Met Feb 23 12522102

Southerly flow is strong over Western Europe. It is interesting how low pressure is poking up towards the Arctic northwest of Norway. Besides warm air north to its east, it will bring that really cold air over the Pole south to its west.

LOCAL VIEW  

A battle 123 satsfc (3)A battle 123 rad_nat_640x480

I’m late for church, and have to rush out the door. I just wanted to get these maps saved.

FEBRUARY 23  —AFTERNOON DMI MAPS—

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

Despite the swirl of “Polo,” a fairly clear cross-polar-flow exists between Siberia and Canada, (and back from Canada to Siberia over Bering Strait,) so I am gloomy about the cold staying up at the Pole where it belongs, and expect the USA is doomed to have one more bout with winter, at least.  However the cold did stay up at the Pole for a bit, which in part explain the USA having a thaw.  The DMI temperature-north-of-80-degrees-latitude map shows the plunge in polar temperatures:

DMI Feb 23B meanT_2014 (click to enlarge.)

Please note the temperatures are still a hair above normal. Therefore certain anomaly maps will paint the pole scarlet, to indicate above-normal temperatures, and some zealots may even jab fingers at the scarlet Pole as if the whole blame place was melting. Believe me, it isn’t melting right now. Temperatures are roughly at minus-thirty, and at that temperature the only thing that melts is your will to do much outside.

Last winter temperatures plunged even more, and right at that time a series of storms extended such strong winds over the Beaufort Gyre that the ice formed spectacular cracks hundreds of miles long,  and huge leads formed, and a lot of ocean was exposed, which may have chilled the waters more than normal. That is less likely to happen this year, as that ice is thicker.

A quick look at the Navy ice-thickness map shows a surprising increase in thick ice north of Alaska:

DMI Feb 23B arcticictnowcast (Click to enlarge)

What a difference a year makes!  That lime-green and yellow ice is over ten feet thick, and last year it was only around four feet thick. Even more interesting is a feature hard to see unless you expand the map. Towards the Pole from the yellow tongue of ice north of Alaska the ice is sky blue, indicating it is roughly 6 feet thick, but midst the blue are swirling lines of forest green, indicating ice roughly 9 feet thick. I think these lines are pressure ridges, formed when the ice buckles as winds converge.  They may not be very obvious, as nine-tenth of an iceberg is under water, and therefore an increase in ice-thickness of three feet only creates a four or five inch rise at the surface.  (Are satellites really able to measure such things?)

What is interesting to me is that these rises exist right where, last year, there were long lines of thinner ice, left behind when the huge leads created by the Beaufort Gyre break-up froze over.  Where last year’s maps showed lines of thinner ice this years map shows lines of thicker ice.

I think this demonstrates what fools we can make of ourselves if we see “trends” in one year’s behavior, and expect such “trends” to continue. The “trend” last year was for long lines of thinner ice, but this year we see the opposite.

The ice is but a reflection of other factors.  Call them “outside influences” if you will. A major influence this year is the fact less ice was flushed out of the Arctic Sea and down through Fram Strait,  and instead was held north and even jammed into the Beaufort Gyre.

A second influence is the open water in Barents Sea, and even northeast of Svalbard. I don’t really know what the influence of this will be, but I have a hunch the water will be chilled by exposure to arctic winds, and also less stratified.  Also having that water open may alter storm tracks, as spring comes on. It should be interesting to watch the developments as they occur.

Before I conclude this post we should look at the DMI graph of sea-ice extent, as it approaches its maximum:

DMI Feb 23B icecover_current_new (click to enlarge)

As usual, ice-extent is below normal, which is ordinary during the warm AMO when the Gulf Stream transports more warmth north. However the extent needs to be taken with a grain of salt this time of year, as it involves sudden increases that fool you, of you think it means there will be more ice in September.

First, one area of below-normal ice is between Greenland and Iceland. This occurs when ice is held back north of Fram Strait, and suggests there will be more ice up there in September, even though extent is less. However a batch of that held-back ice could surge south over the coming ten days, which would make extent rise, but mean there is just a bit less ice up at the Pole to attempt defying six months of sunshine.

Second, a second area of below-normal ice is off the Pacific coast of Russia.  I haven’t been paying much attention over there, and am not sure why the ice is decreased. However it is not part of the arctic, and an abrupt increase of ice there would mean little. It would be thin HTGT ice, (IE: Here-today-gone-tomorrow ice), and have little effect up at the Pole.

Third, Barents Sea has the potential to produce a quick, thin, but very large area of ice at the very end of the season.  This too is HTGT ice, and has little effect on the totality of the picture, which involves the fact Barents Sea has been open all winter.

It means a lot, in terms of the graph, if a lot of HTGT ice forms during the next few weeks and is gone a few weeks later. If it forms one bunch of people will look at the spike in the graph and say it means Global Cooling, and if it doesn’t form a second bunch of people will point at the lack of a spike and say it means Global Warming. Most likely it amounts about as much as a hill of beans.  If it forms the spike in the graph will swiftly  vanish, and if it doesn’t form the graph will flat-line during a period where it usually dips, as the ice which is usually melting isn’t there to melt. In the end the graph will arrive at the usual point.

Things will get more interesting later in the summer, when the ice melts back to the edges of that thicker ice in Beaufort Gyre.  I think at that point we may see ice that has melted in recent years prove more reluctant to melt.

There. I have actually managed to conclude this post talking about sea-ice, which is what this series of posts is supposedly about.  However I do tend to get off-topic.  In fact it seems wrong to end on topic.  Therefore I’ll end mentioning I hid two sonnets in this post.

 (This is sort of like the answers to a riddle, down at the very bottom of a page in a newspaper.)

The first sonnet had the rhyme-scheme words, “Plays, griping, dismays, striping, snow, cold, know, bold, sky, winter, sigh, stir, whispering, and everlasting.” The second (failed) sonnet had the rhyme-scheme words, “Everlasting, out, fasting, about, say, winter, grey, splinter, (then a mistake, “wool,”) poor, armor, war, charm her, sweater, better.

Anyone interesting in continuing to following these posts will find the next at: https://sunriseswansong.wordpress.com/2014/02/23/arctic-sea-ice-maximum-the-peak-at-the-depth/

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2 thoughts on “ARCTIC SEA ICE RECOVERY —THE EQUIPOISE OF BATTLE—

  1. -30 at the pole and the forecast is for -30 in Calgary tonight …. bah, humbug!! They forecast temps to rise to freezing midweek before we again plunge way below average and back to the deep freeze levels by weekend.

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