ARCTIC SEA ICE MAXIMUM —A TAXING TIME—

This is a continuation of a series of posts, the last of which was,  https://sunriseswansong.wordpress.com/2014/03/06/arctic-sea-ice-maximum-march-madness/

This series of posts has wandered a long ways from its original intent, which was to discuss the view from the North Pole Camera.  That camera has been gone since September, and we still have roughly 45 30  21!!! days before the new one is set up in April.

The wait through winter darkness has been long, but the sun has now risen at the Pole.  I’ll be able to use my eyes more, as I complete my year of studying the Pole’s ice. I resorted to using my own eyes because I became increasingly aware that the media and government were disinterested in the the Truth.  This distresses me, because it has been my experience that if you don’t stand by the Truth, Truth doesn’t stand by you. Bad things will happen to my homeland, I fear, unless its people demand the Truth, even if it is merely the Truth about a thing as removed from their daily life as the ice at the North Pole.

Over the past year scientists far more qualified than I am have bravely  stood up and informed the government it is wrong about Global Warming, but they have been completely disregarded. Rather than listening, the government has recently ratcheted up a publicity campaign which seems dedicated more towards misinforming than informing. If the big voices of scientists can be so completely ignored, I don’t know what my tiny voice, on a blog that averages 50-100 views per day, can do. However I’ll continue on. Sometimes a small pebble can start a big avalanche.

I will be busy doing my taxes, so my posts will likely be brief for a while.

MARCH 21  —DMI MORNING MAPS—

DMI Mar 21 mslp_latest.bigDMI Mar 21 temp_latest.big (1)

MARCH 22 —DMI MORNING MAPS—

DMI Mar 22 mslp_latest.bigDMI Mar 22 temp_latest.big (1)

“Morphy” has moved towards the Pole, as “Marchair” has become a parade of lows moving north of Norway. This creates a strong flow across the Pole and down towards Iceland, temporarily surging the ice into a more ordinary flow, with the Transpolar Drift  aiming down through Fran Strait. However the strong flow seems likely to swing from aiming down the east coast of Greenland to aiming down the west coast, and then to aiming to Canada once again as the sort of cross-polar-flow we have seen too much of this winter.  About the only hope I see is that some of the air crossing the Pole is not bone-chilling air from east Siberia, but apparently is milder air from more southerly Steppes.

Sorry I missed last night’s DMI maps. I was worn out from a neighborhood crisis involving an old horse which couldn’t quite make it through the hard winter.

LATE SEASON SURGE IN ICE EXTENT

Extent graph March 22 ssmi1_ice_ext_small (CLICK GRAPH TO ENLARGE)

It is interesting how the peak of the ice extent has occurred later in the season over the past few years.  Largely it involves HTGT ice which is fleeting and matters little, but the simple fact it keeps happening suggests the Arctic Sea is hinting at something. I’m slow and don’t get the hint, but perhaps it is suggestive of colder water. In this particular case it may merely be due to Morphy blowing ice up against the shore of Svalbard and closing up the areas of open water that have persisted to the northeast and north of Svalbard all winter.

I commented on the open water over at WUWT, in an open thread where the Svalbard situation came up. Some were wondering about undersea volcanoes.  My comment read:

Regarding the open water northeast of Svalbard this winter:

You do not need undersea volcanoes to explain it. I’ve been watching the movement of the ice all winter, as a hobby, and it has been unusual. What would be more usual is for the Transpolar Drift to bring ice across the Pole and down into Fram Strait, which tends to eventually bring ice against the northwest coast of Svalbard. Also the polar easterlies scoot ice along the ice-edge boundary in Barents Sea against the northeast and east coast of Svalbard. Although these two motions did happen this winter, they were also interrupted by shifting winds that moved ice away from Svalbard.

The most interesting motions defied the Transpolar Flow, and pushed ice towards Canada, building the amounts of ice in the Beaufort Gyre. While that does increase ice in that part of the Arctic Ocean, it robs the area around Svalbard of its usual quota of imported ice.

Most of the ice pressing towards Svalbard this winter did not come from the Transpolar Drift, but from the Barents Sea, robbing that area of ice and resulting in a lot more open water. I’m surprised Alarmists aren’t making a bigger deal about that open water, for it is at “unprecedented” levels. (IE since 1979, and ignoring historical reports from the pre-satellite era.) This shows in the cryosphere graph: http://arctic.atmos.uiuc.edu/cryosphere/IMAGES/recent365.anom.region.6.html

The openness of Barents Sea is largely due to the weather pattern that exported cold down over North America and imported milder air up over Europe. Not only did this mean there were times there was no cold air available to form ice in Barents Sea, it also meant that when the ice did form it was exposed to strong winds that moved it out. There were several good surges of ice right by Svalbard, resulting in increases of ice in Fram Strait even as there were decreases in Barents Sea. Briefly the extents were even above normal in the Greenland Sea south of Fram Strait: http://arctic.atmos.uiuc.edu/cryosphere/IMAGES/recent365.anom.region.5.html

This differs from the situation in 2007, when a lot of the ice that flushed south through Fram Strait came across the Pole on the Transpolar Drift, reducing the amounts of ice as far away as Bering Strait. This time the flush comes from a smaller area, largely Barents Sea.

I’ve been watching the situation for years now, and one huge misconception I originally had was that the ice up there is static. FAIL. It is amazingly mobile. The “North Pole Camera” only starts its life near the Pole. Usually it is south of Fram Strait in only six months, where the break-up of ice ends its life. The GPS from last year’s “North Pole Camera” wound up on the northeast coast of Iceland last January, having drifted over 1600 miles since the prior April.

While some of the ice piling up north of Canada is over five years old, most ice up by the Pole is so mobile it has a hard time seeing a second birthday.

My impression is that the ice up there is increasing on the Pacific side, and at a sort of “low tide” on the Atlantic side.

UK MET MAP  —The slide—

UK Met Mar 22 13219181  (Click map to enlarge)

All the features on this map are going to slide to the northeast over the next few days.  “Marchair”  will fall apart and depart as a series of blobs across northern Norway, as the ridge of high pressure over the Azores slides up over the British Isles and onward over Scandinavia. The “Springer” family of storms will be shunted further west, up the coast of Greenland, by the lean of the high pressure to the northwest, and then will likely kick features under the high pressure ridge, creating a trough from Iceland down over England towards France, as behind that trough another nice Azores High starts to build.

For the time being nothing is bogging down and occluding, and instead everything is part of a slide, flowing northeast.

The pulse of sea-ice down through Fram Strait will likely slow and may move the other way for a bit, as all these features pass by to the south.

LOCAL VIEW  —Good-bye, old horse—

A Battle 174 satsfc (3)A battle 174 rad_ne_640x480 (1)

The map shows “Springer ” departing in the upper right corner, “Brunt” approaching us (and radar shows we are likely to get snow showers,) and a big, nasty arctic high pressing south on its heels.  Monday morning could see our temperatures back down near zero (-17 Celsius.)

The long, hard winter wore down an old mare who has been a fixture of my neighborhood for over a quarter century.  I think its fat reserves simply got used up. Yesterday she began trotting to and fro, as if to stay warm, and then fell over and lay on her side in the snow, shivering. I forgot I was sixty-one and joined a crew of passerbys to help get the old horse back up to its feet. A lot of heaving and grunting was involved, and when she got up it was like she said, “OK, OK, I’ll get up.” I suggested she needed a heated barn  and a richer diet, but the vet and owner carted her off in a horse trailer to be destroyed.

It is an end of an era. It was sort of amazing how people appeared as soon as the old mare went down.  It didn’t seem to matter what people’s politics were, everyone liked that old mare. She was nearly thirty-four.

Any way, I am stiff and sore today.

MARCH 22  —AFTERNOON DMI MAPS—

DMI Mar 22B mslp_latest.bigDMI Mar 22B temp_latest.big (1)

MARCH 23  —DMI MORNING MAPS—

DMI Mar 23 mslp_latest.bigDMI Mar 23 temp_latest.big (1)

The “Morphy” mess continues to mill about in the Kara Sea, as “Marchair” slides up across Norway to join the dance of storms.  The ridge of high pressure over Iceland will follow it and then build over Scandinavia, as an upper-air blocking-high builds over Scandinavia and becomes a major feature on the map. This will shunt “Springer” to the west up the coast of Greenland to Fram Strait. No storms will be able to get through Scandinavia for a while, and instead will have to go over the top, or be squashed underneath.

The cross-polar-flow is directed more towards Canada and less towards Fran Strait, and is drawing a “mild” ribbon of minus-ten air over the Pole. Even though the sun is up I expect that air to rapidly cool, because the sun is so low. The ribbon of minus-twenty air crossing the arctic further towards Bering Strait is partially south of eighty degrees latitude, which explains why the DMI polar temperatures graph is showing such an upward spike; it includes the milder air but not the colder air.

The building high over Scandinavia will be quite a change, and interesting to watch.

UK MET MAP  —Changes coming—

UK Met Mar 23 13245079  (click to enlarge)

The change coming is not apparent on the surface map.  The ridge of high pressure from the Azores to Iceland will slide east towards Scandinavia and then build in the north. It looks sunny for Sweden.  This high will grow stubborn, and actually cut off the trough of low pressure currently over Europe and roll it backwards until it is off the coast of Spain.  Or that is what the models are seeing.

Here are the 500 mb maps, showing the pressure-anomalies, for the next week.

CURRENT AAA Mar 23 gfs_z500_sig_eur_1

48 HOURS AAA March 23b gfs_z500_sig_eur_8

72 HOURS AAA March 23c gfs_z500_sig_eur_13

96 HOURS AAA March 23d gfs_z500_sig_eur_17

120 HOURSAAA Marcg 23e gfs_z500_sig_eur_21

(Double click these maps to fully enlarge. They are produced by Dr. Ryan Maue at his WeatherBELL site.)

These sort of blocking highs are interesting to watch. Just looking at surface maps, you scratch your head and wonder at the odd tracks of the storms.

MARCH 23  —DMI AFTERNOON MAPS—

DMI Mar 23B mslp_latest.bigDMI Mar 23B temp_latest.big (1)

MATCH 24 —DMI MORNING MAPS—

DMI Mar 24 mslp_latest.bigDMI Mar 24 temp_latest.big (1)

From now until next October I make a mental adjustment, when looking at the temperature maps, to take diurnal variation into account.  Roughly speaking, the morning maps have the top of the sphere in daylight, so I expect isotherms to show a temperature rise, as is the case with the top half of the maps in the above example.  Then I watch to see if temperatures drop an equal amount twelve hours later. Being aware of this keeps me from leaping to conclusions about warm-ups or cool-downs, and then having to eat my words twelve hours later.

“Morphy’s” area of generalized low pressure is incorporating “Marchair,” and on a whole looks weaker and more disorganized, as the ridge of Atlantic high pressure sides away from Iceland towards Scandinavia. “Springer” is crawling up the southeast coast of Greenland.

The wonderful animation at  http://www7320.nrlssc.navy.mil/hycomARC/navo/arcticict_nowcast_anim30d.gif shows a surge of ice into Fram  Strait, including some thick ice around the northwest corner of Greenland. This is pushing the slushy and mobile sea ice up against the north coast of Svalbard. Meanwhile ice which was surging south through Bering Stait has reversed and now is surging north. All in all sea-ice-esxtents are dropping, and may have finally passed their peak.

Sea_Ice_Extent_March 24 graph v2_L (click to enlarge)

UK MET MAP

UK Met Mar 24 13270410 (click to enlarge)

“Springer” is moving up the coast of Greenland, kicking “Springerson” ahead towards Ireland. Now lets watch and see is everything screeches to a halt, as that ridge of high pressure over England tilts northeast towards Scandinavia. It is expected to get so strong over the north that the low over Poland will get squeezed backwards through the Baltic, and the low over Italy pressed backwards towards Spain.  The British Isle will have weak storms coming at it from all directions. Fun to watch, but perhaps less fun to be in the midst of it.

LOCAL VIEW  —Wishing a storm out to sea—

A battle 175 satsfc (3)A battle 175 rad_nat_640x480

 

“Brunt” is moving off the map, with his arctic cold front passing us yesterday and cold air creeping south and giving us a wintery Monday morning, with temperatures just touching the single digits at nine. (-13 Celsius)  If that isn’t enough to make a Monday moody, there is also talk of a snowstorm tomorrow night and Wednesday morning.

So far this winter the sheer weight of the cold has pushed a lot of these storms out to sea. I’m hoping the pattern holds, though I know storm tracks creep north with the spring.

Besides work and taxes, I have a little, local talent show to organize for next Sunday. Therefore I am using my psychic powers to wish this storm right out to sea. Do you think it is going to work?

MATCH 24  —DMI AFTERNOON MAPS—

DMI Mar 24B mslp_latest.bigDMI Mar 24B temp_latest.big (1)

 

MARCH 25  —DMI MORNING MAPS—

DMI Mar 25 mslp_latest.bigDMI Mar 25 temp_latest.big (1)

“Springer” is occluded and blocked by high pressure over Scandinavia, and has become a weak Icelandic Low.

The above maps again show diurnal variation.

The “Morphy” mess continues to fill and weaken.  The “mild” air from the Steppes that came north through Siberia has cooled over the Pole, but it looks like another blob has moved north into the Laptev Sea.

Pacific air is coming through Bering Strait, pushing that ice back north through the strait.

UK MET MAP

UK Met Mar 25 13296552 (Click to enlarge)

This is the blocking pattern I was looking for all winter, but it is happening too late to do what it would do in December.  However, if it is true that, “The next winter will begin as the last winter ended,” perhaps it should be noted.

The fronts extending from Iceland to France should make little eastward progress, and in fact should back to the west.  As this flow-from-the-east develops the little low over Poland will take an unusual route, west through the Baltic into the North Sea (and may mess up what should be nice weather, in southern Sweden.)  In the winter this flow-from-the-east would contain bone-chilling blasts from western Siberia, but that source-region has been greatly moderated by influxes of milder air and by spring sunshine.

“Brunt” is appearing in the lower left, but can’t rush across the Atlantic with the blocking high in the way. Part will occlude and mill about to the west, as part gets kicked ahead and smushed southeast towards the Mediterranean.

“Springer” is weak, for an Icelandic Low.  Note how the Gulf Stream is forced to meander by winds blowing its surface waters south, to the southwest of Iceland, but north, northeast of Iceland.

If this blocking pattern locked in at the start of a winter, it would bring a lot of warm water north and in some ways be the author of its own demise, by importing warmth into a very cold situation. However this past winter was the opposite. In general winds pushed the surface waters of the Gulf Stream south, unlike the situation  northeast of Iceland that is seen now.  (I have no idea what happens to the Gulf Stream a hundred feet down, in such situations.)  While the waters west of Norway are near normal and slightly above normal now, that largely reflects the mild winter. As summer comes on these well-mixed waters may fail to warm in a typical manner. It will be interesting to watch.

LOCAL VIEW  —All eyes look south—

A battle 176 satsfc (3)A battle 176 rad_nat_640x480

 

It is another absurdly cold pre-dawn. Five degrees. (-15 Celsius)

Features are coming together in both the northern and southern branch to form a big coastal storm. I’ll dub it “Cherry,” for Washington DC is suppose to have blossoming cherries now, but instead of swirling petals they’ll be getting flakes.

There will be two centers ar first, one on the polar front further out to sea, and one over the arctic front closer to land.  The models have been suggesting the polar-front-storm will win out and pull most of the snow out to sea, which is my wish. In a worst-case-scenario the arctic-front-storm wins, and the snow is far enough west to get big cities and my little farm.  (Actually a worst worst-case-scenario has the arctic-front-storm get so big so fast that it digs right up into the upper atmosphere and makes its own “steering winds,” allowing it to loop-de-loop south of Cape Cod like the Blizzard of 1888.  However that is a rarity, and why worry when the storm hasn’t even formed yet?)

LOCAL VIEW   —I’M GLAD I DON’T HAVE TO MAKE THIS FORECAST—

A battle 177 satsfc (3)A battle 177 rad_ec_640x480

It sure looks like a big storm brewing up down the coast, yet there are no watches or warnings. I wonder how they are so sure this storm is going out to sea.

LOCAL VIEW  —9;30 PM—Only an inch forecast here—

A battle 178 satsfc (3) A battle 178 rad_ec_640x480

Judging from how my bones ache, we’re in for a storm, but the forecast is still for the storm going out to sea. Blizzard Warning down on Cape Cod, but we should only get light snow. It should be very windy and cold, though, with gusts to 50 mph. The pressure is steady at 29.97.  I’m getting up early to double-check on the situation.  This is like January, but they say we might warm up to fifty by Friday.

SOME EMBRYONIC THOUGHTS ABOUT SEA ICE AND ATLANTIC COOLING

tHIS COMMENT OF MINE IS FROM A DISCUSSION ABOUT SEA-ICE AT wuwt

  RE: Stephen Skinner says:
March 25, 2014 at 1:44 pm
“Every time I have looked at the NRL Ice Thickness gif there is always ice flowing out of the Arctic via the Fram Strait:
http://www7320.nrlssc.navy.mil/hycomARC/navo/arcticict_nowcast_anim30d.gif
It looks like significant volumes of ice are transported out via this strait continuously.”

No, it isn’t continuous. It is fairly regular, but there have been interruptions this winter. Also not as much ice came from the Pole via the Transpolar Drift, but came along the ice-edge north of Svakbard to the east.

Keep paying attemtion and you’ll see what I mean. The ice seems to come through Fram Strait in bulges and pulses. There was a big one at the end of last week. Often it creates a sort of bulge “down-stream,” and the ice-extent will curve away from Greenland and be “above normal” (across the orange line) in the NSIDC map on the “Sea Ice Page.” This sort of “increased extent” is actually a loss to the Polar Total, in the long run, as it is heading south to melt. However if a lot heads south it can actually chill the waters of the North Atlantic. In 1817 so much ice flushed out that bergs were beaching in Ireland, and the chilled Atlantic may have contributed to the “Year Without a Summer.”

The opposite occurred last summer. The flow through Fram Strait was reduced, as ice was pushed over towards Beaufort Gyre. The extent below Fram Strait was below normal even as sea-ice increased up at the Pole. It makes me wonder if that means the Atlantic waters were chilled less than normal last summer, which may have been part of the reason Barents Sea froze up less last winter.

Recently a lot of ice has flushed out and traveled all the way through Denmark Strait to Cape Farewell at the bottom of Greenland. Also lots of ice has flushed south in Baffin Bay, and passed into the Atlantic off Newfoundland Island. (The top of Baffin Bay was ice-free at times in the depth of winter, so much ice was exported south.) I imagine the Atlantic has had a good chilling due to the addition of all this ice.

The more you watch the ice the more you see about twenty things are going on at the same time. I don’t claim to understand it, but it is fun to witness, if you have the time.

MARCH 25  —DMI AFTERNOON MAPS—

DMI Mar 25B mslp_latest.bigDMI Mar 25B temp_latest.big (1)

MARCH 26 —DMI MORNING MAPS—

DMI Mar 26 mslp_latest.bigDMI Mar 26 temp_latest.big (1)

UK Met Map

UK Met Mar 26 13321516

Local view  —Thank God for small mercies—

A battle 179 satsfc (3)A battle 179 rad_ne_640x480 (1)

Unless the storm loop-de-loops, which is unlikely, it seems we have dodged the bullet. I am hugely thankful. Extra work is the last thing I need, as I’m fighting off a cold.

I think doing taxes is bad for your health. Also it is the antithesis of poetry. It even seems to keep the sun from shining.  It won’t be springtime until the $@&#&# things are done.

LOCAL VIEW   —A roaring day—

A battle 180 satsfc (3)A battle 180 rad_ne_640x480 (1)

 

The storm did not miss us, in terms of wind. It roared all day long, with the sky battleship grey before noon, and then the sun gradually appearing in sky increasingly milky.

During my shift I took the kids out to the flood control, where the ice was more like January than the final days of March. This mirrors the situation on the Great lakes, where the ice is at 400% of normal for this date. Usually the ice is rapidly melting by now.

Great lakes March 26 lice_00__14_  Click to enlarge

Despite the cold and fierce windchill, (I was constantly checking faces for frostbite), the children didn’t complain a bit.  They laughed as the wind shoved and in a few cases knocked them down. The goats were also frisky, able to prance and kick up their heels on the snows thick crust as if it were solid ground. So I guess it is spring, no matter what the thermometer says.

MARCH 26  —DMI AFTERNOON MAPS—

DMI Mar 26B mslp_latest.bigDMI Mar 26B temp_latest.big (1)

The flow over the Pole is from Bering Strait towards Svalbard. From Pacific to Atlantic, but weak. Blocking high remains over Scandinavia.

MARCH 27   —DMI MORNING MAPS—

DMI Mar 27 mslp_latest.bigDMI Mar 27 temp_latest.big (1)

It looks milder towards Bering Strait. Partly it is due to diurnal variation, and it being noon up there, but a weak flow is coming north. Also the strong high over Scandinavia is bringing some nice mildness north towards Iceland. However the Pole and Fram Atrait look to be in a sort of polar doldrums.

Note how the blocking high forces lows north up the coast of  Greenland, and won’t let them east.

UK MET MAP

UK Met Mar 27 13346420 CLICK TO ENLARGE

I don’t have the brain cells available to figure out this map. The block over Scandinavia is obvious, but all the junk around the edges must be murder to figure out. My sympathies to European weathermen.

It looks fairly nice over France and in the middle of the high in central Norway, Sweden and Finland, but there is polar junk to the north and Baltic junk to the south. Over the British Isles it looks unstable aloft, due to occluded junk. Stagnant junk is milling around in the Mediterranean.

This map would mean murderous cold in January. I can’t help but feel that eventually it will bring cold down and east in Europe, though with the days so much longer it won’t be so bad where the sun is shining.

The gale in the lower left corner is the big storm that gave us howling winds but no snow yesterday. I never named it. Call it “Taxie” because I’m doing my taxes.

SHORT, FUNNY AND ACCURATE VIDEO

LOCAL VIEW —Bring on the thaw—

I can never remember the ponds frozen so solidly so late in the spring, in southern New Hampshire. Yesterday was a subfreezing day with gusts over forty mph, with the morning skies a battleship gray. Due to some recent thaws, the snow has a firm crust and is like walking on Styrofoam. My goats, who hate wading in deep snow (as they can’t see what their legs may hit,) discovered the snow’s crust was strong enough to support them yesterday, and when the sun began to shine through the milky overcast in the afternoon, as a brightening smear of light higher in the sky than we are used to, those goats went nuts. They started frisking about over the stiff crust, twirling and gamboling and prancing and kicking their heels. The children were acting the same. (I run a Childcare.) Though the wind was brutal and the wind-chill was vicious, I heard no whining and not a single complaint, (unless it was my own muttering to myself.) Instead I witnessed a huge after-school burst of energy, with the children laughing and shouting and daring the roaring wind to knock them over, and scooting down hills on their stomachs like otters.

The thermometer may not know it is spring, but the sunshine does.

This morning the crescent moon is rising hand in hand with brilliant, silvery Venus, with the winds slacking and the cold like January’s. It is around 12 (-11 Celsius) which would be normal for January, but is bizarre for the sixth day of Spring.  However the maps show the high is cresting and southwest winds to our west.  And, even if those southwest winds only bring clouds and gloom and slush, before they do we will get brilliant sunshine, and you can’t fool that sun.

A battle 181 satsfc (3) A battle 181 rad_nat_640x480

 

MARCH 27  —DMI Afternoon Maps—

DMI Mar 27B mslp_latest.bigDMI Mar 27B temp_latest.big (1)

A weak “wrong-way” flow exists Fram Strait, slowing the exit of ice, and perhaps even pushing some north back into the Arctic Sea.

MARCH 28  —DMI MORNING MAPS—

DMI Mar 28 mslp_latest.bigDMI Mar 28 temp_latest.big (1)

Flow getting back to normal in Fram Strait, as the weak low squeezes around the northern side of the blocking high pressure over Scandinavia.

FASCINATING NEW DMI MAP

DMI Mar 28 icetemp.arc.d-00

 

This map is a satellite product, showing the temperature of the top of the ice (and also water, I think.)  (White areas represent missing data, I think.)  It will be interesting to watch in the summer, to see when the surface gets warm enough to start melting.

I have a bad case of insomnia due to tax-worries, and drown my sorrows by animating this feature. (Hit the “loop” tab to the lower left of the map here:  http://ocean.dmi.dk/arctic/ice_temp/index.uk.php  )

I commented on the map over at WUWT  ( in a post about other, misleading maps put our by the University of Maine,) as follows:

RE: AJB says:
March 27, 2014 at 6:00 pm

Thanks for sharing that new DMI feature. When you animate it, it shows three totally cool things.

First, it shows the ice reflecting the cross-polar flow of frigid air from Siberia to Canada, at the end of the winter. (This is the supply of the air that has been freezing our socks off, down in the USA.)

Second, it shows the air in this flow becoming less brutal as the sun gets higher over Siberia. (Eastern Siberia has some of the greatest temperature extremes on earth. In the dead of winter it can average down around -70 (-57 Celsius), while in the summer it can average up over +80 (+27 Celsius). And that is “average;” and doesn’t include record-setting extremes.)

Third, it shows cracks forming and then freezing over in the Arctic Sea, as thin lines of warmer ice-surface temperature which then vanish as they freeze over. These leads (cracks) have to be fairly large to be seen from outer space. Ordinary leads are too thin to be visible. My feeling is that these cracks chill the water more than usual by exposing it. They are less likely to form when a zonal flow (around and around the Pole) brings calm to the central arctic. They are more likely to form when there is cross-polar-flow and the ice is exposed to stronger winds.

Now that the sun has risen on the Pole we can use our lying eyes to examine the ice up there with satellite pictures. You can see there were some fairly huge leads formed, up there in the windy winter darkness, for the new ice is darker than the old ice, albeit sometimes thick enough to be a milky color rather than pure white.

While the cracks do not seem as extensive as they were two winters ago, my guess is that the Arctic Sea has again been chilled. I’ll be keeping an eye on the DMI temperature graph to see if the summer temperatures up there again are below normal.

While I am sure DMI has some political appointees at higher levels, demanding maps be tinted differently, I think generally their products are good, due to hard workers at lower levels. After all, some Danes work at the edge of the ice, and if the DMI gets too political and produces false maps, people may die.

That is a reality-check the people at the University Of Maine seem untroubled by.

UK MET MAP 

UK Met Mar 28 13371670 CLICK TO ENLARGE

The blocking high over Scandinavia is starting to bring north windsdown over Finland and Swedan, as it backs and extends across the North Atlantic towards Greenland.  It is forming a wall.

“Taxie” is crashing into this wall like a bug into a windshield.  Already it is occluded and weaker, up 974 mb from around 955 mb . It will may little headway against the blocking high, and will get squashed and ooze around the block to the south, kicking its energy southeast towards the low east of Spain, which is going nowhere. Until this block erodes storms in the Atlantic will just spin their wheels and generally weaken.

LOCAL VIEW  —Pattering sleet—

A battle 182 satsfc (3)A battle 182 rad_ec_640x480

 

Yesterday was a lovely sunny day of relenting wind and cold, with temperatures nudging a above freezing and the sap again starting to dip into the buckets by the maple trees. This morning I hear sleet tapping on my window.  Milder air brings moisture, and its still a bit to cold for rain.

Rain.  Can I remember how that stuff sounds?

MARCH 28  —DMI AFTERNOON MAPS—

DMI Mar 28B mslp_latest.bigDMI Mar 28B temp_latest.big (1)

LOCAL VIEW  —Beyond belief brief relief—

A battle 183 satsfc (3)A battle 183 rad_ne_640x480 (1)

 

Just for an hour or two today it was above fifty.  At one point I simply stood feeling the wind and sprinkles of rain in my face with my eyes shut.  I felt like I was standing in the bow of a ship forging ahead to a better land.

Sometimes our hopes are a sort of myopia.  What actually occurs is better than what we hoped, even if it is brief.

The forecast is abysmal: Freezing rain Sunday and Monday. Seldom do I hope for just rain, but this time I am.

MARCH 29  —DMI MORNING MAPS—

DMI Mar 29 mslp_latest.bigDMI Mar 29 temp_latest.big (1)

Without going into the piffling details of how such a resurrection is possible, I’m going to say the wreckage of Morphy and the wreckage of Springer resurrected into dual lows straddling the Spiberian side of the Pole. A strong cross-polar-flow is bringing ice and cold air back from Alaska north of Greenland and down into Scandinavia.  The high pressure block is very apparent from Greenland to the Baltic.

Just imagine if this was December! Then remember that the way a winter fades away often give hints how the next winter will begin.

UK MET MAP

UK Met Mar 29 13396067 (CLICK TO ENLARGE)

A strong flow from the north east of Finland turns right and becomes a flow from the east all the way west to Iceland and then on to Greenland. This marks the boundary of the blocking high pressure. Taxie has squashed against that wall like a bug.  Siuth if the block various features are milling about, moving wast to west towards the north and west to east towards the south  as a sort of vast, counterclockwise confusion.  I haven’t the time to make sense of it, and find myself envying those who have the time.

LOCAL VIEW  —Sorry I wished for rain—

A battle 184 satsfc (3)A battle 184 rad_nat_640x480

 

People around here still suffer from Post-traumatic-shock-syndrome, due to an ice-storm that knocked out power for over ten days, five years ago.  That is why I hoped for rain, when they were forecasting freezing rain. However now we have flood warnings, with up to three inches forecast. Be careful what you hope for.

Talent show tomorrow is in the way of finishing my taxes.  It will be the perfect thing to do on a rainy day that turns the local world to slush.

MARCH 30  —MORNING DMI MAPS—

DMI Mar 30 mslp_latest.bigDMI Mar 30 temp_latest.big (1)

Sorry I missed yesterday afternoon’s DMI map.  It is interesting how “Springer” has regenerated on the far side of the blocking high, in the Kara Sea.  The exit region for polar air now appears to be down over Scandinavia.  Once again I say, “Be glad it is not January.”

UK MET MAP

UK Met Mar 30 13420959 Click to enlarge.

Blocking high remains in place,  Black Sea to Greenland.

LOCAL VIEW  —Perfect talent show weather—

A battle 185 satsfc (3)A battle 185 rad_ne_640x480 (1)

At least no one will be playing golf.

I’ll be a bit preoccupied until the show is over. This evening I’ll focus more on this blog.

MARCH 30  —DMI AFTERNOON MAPS—

DMI Mar 30B mslp_latest.bigDMI Mar 30B temp_latest.big (1)

The “Morphy” mess continues to swirl over the Kara Sea, bringing colder air over Barents Sea and Scandinavia.  The blocking high continues to tap Atlantic air south of Iceland. The Pole is gradually cooling, despite the fact the sun is up.

On his website at WeatherBELL Joe D’Aleo produced evidence that various factors are hinting that this pattern will be seen next winter. Not only will Eastern USA be cold next winter, but Europe as well.  If you can’t afford high heating bills, plan to shut down your house, and to move in with a neighbor from Christmas to Easter. Two can live as cheaply as one.

UK MET MAP  

UK Met Mar 30B 13431460

The blocking high pressure will only slowly erode, and is likely to still be a fature on the map bu Friday. Scandinavia is on the colder side, with northwest winds, but the British Isles have lucked out and are getting mild, southeast winds from France.  The squashed remains of “Taxie” and whirling in the Atlantic, and will attempt to push cold fronts up towards England from the south, of all odd directions.

Weather looks fair and tranquil for most of Europe, though cooler air is trying to edge westward from the east. A blocking high wouldn’t be so kind, in January.

LOCAL VIEW  —Sleet starting to mix in with the rain—

A Battle 186 satsfc (3)A battle 186 rad_ec_640x480

It’s been a grey and wet day, perfect for holding a talent show at a little church. All went well, and people had fun.  Everyone forgot the weather for a bit.

This is the first storm to stall all winter. It is whirling south of New York City, and the rain you see over Cape Cod is moving northwest towards me, cooling as it rises.  I may have to deal with a bit of an icy mess first thing tomorrow morning, so I’m hitting the hay.

LOCAL VIEW  —The radar’s deceitful.  No snow; just rain—

A battle 187 satsfc (3)A battle 187 rad_ne_640x480 (1)

It is a relief to look out into the blackness from the front porch and hear nothing but dripping and gurgling, and the rushing of the freshet over the ruined dam in the woods.  There may be a few snow flakes mixed in with the icy rain, but the stalled storm hasn’t quite been able to mess up a Monday.  I can sit back and enjoy my coffee in peace, without needing to rush off and clear walkways.  I may have to lay some planks across puddles, and drain a few other puddles, but I sort of like digging little channels in the mud and watching the water flow off in rivulets. Maybe it is because I don’t get in trouble for playing in the mud, like I used to as a boy.

The igloo at the Childcare collapsed on Friday, and we have lost a lot of snow since then. Not that rain a degree above freezing melts as well as a warm rain, but a few south-facing embankments are showing brown grass.  The bare ground is showing its face for the first time since December.

I’m still enjoying the afterglow of our little talent show. It is funny how such events come together. At first there is an unwillingness on the part of people to budge from their winter immobility, but then, as the event approaches, a subtle anticipation starts to grow. People start to suggest things, and to offer things. Immobility turns into a momentum, and soon you’ve got something rolling you can’t stop. My list of “acts” suddenly was filling up, and I went from thinking I’d have to send out for pizza to having more food prepared than we could eat. Then the show itself was full of fun, with the youngest performer aged five and the oldest aged ninety. We had no “hook” or “gong” to shame bad performers off the stage, nor was one needed. Keep your expectations low, and rather than disappointed you are astonished by the goodness you see. We had jokes and songs and magic tricks and a hilariously transparent example of “mind-reading,” (which the adults could see through but which awed the children; “How do they do that?”) It was a far better way to spend a rainy Sunday afternoon than to click through a hundred channels on a TV and find nothing decent.  I expect people will be remembering things and chuckling all week.

Blast. I spoke too soon. I just looked out the window, and in the purple light of a rainy dawn I can see the rain has turned to a gloppy sort of falling slush.  O well.  What do you expect from a Monday?

I guess I’ll name the current storm “Drench.”

Where’d that storm up in Hudson Bay come from?  That is “Fooler,” for April Fool’s Day, and the storm out west is “Foolerson.”

MARCH 31   —DMI MORNING MAPS—

DMI Mar 31 mslp_latest.bigDMI Mar 31 temp_latest.big (1)

UK MET MAP

UK Met Mar 31 13442152 (Click to enlarge)

MARCH 31  —DMI AFTERNOON MAPS—

DMI Mar 31B mslp_latest.bigDMI Mar 31B temp_latest.big (1)

The “Morphy mess” is pulling ice away from the Siberian shores of the Kara and now Laptev seas and crunching it north towards the Pole, and also pulling ice south up against the North Coast of Svalbard, and past Franz Josef Land into Barents Sea.  (The increase in ice in Barents Sea is more than countered by a lot of ice lost from the Pacific coast of Asia, in terms of the “ice extent graphs”.)  The Morphy mess is also creating a visual swirl in the isotherms in the temperature map.

The block remains in place just north of Iceland, keeping mild air over Iceland and southwards.

It looks colder on the Canadian side, and slightly colder towards Bering Strait. Is a block forming there as well?

UK Met Map  

UK Met Mar 31B 13452833

Usually I pity European weathermen, but for some odd reason this bizarre map has me envying them. You have a warm front pressing across Iceland from the northeast, as a cold front approaches Ireland and England from the southwest.  I assume a lovely plume of mild air is being ushered up from the topless beaches in the south of France across England to Iceland, as arctic air from frigid Canada crosses the Atlantic and swings up from the south.  There may be some thunder in Cornwall tonight, but it seems bizarre that the cold air is coming from the south as, in Iceland, the warm air comes from the north.

How “Taxie” came to be such a disjointed collection of fronts and lows, strewn about the Atlantic, both baffles and fascinates me. If I had the time and money I’d hire a young European meteorologist to study it, make an animation, and take me through the evolution of each low pressure, step by step.  (Not likely, this week.)

Scandinavia continues to get north winds, on the other side of the blocking high, but it looks like the winds may die and they’ll get calm as the center of the block gravitates north, with little polar lows skimming along its northern edge, perhaps giving the arctic coasts of Norway, Sweden and Finland bits of bad weather as they zip east.

Central Europe and France looks like they get to celebrate springtime. Must be nice, but I wouldn’t know about that.

APRIL 1 —DMI MORNING MAPS—

DMI Apr 1 mslp_latest.bigDMI Apr 1 temp_latest.big (1)

A reinforcing low is moving up from just east of the Ural mountains in Russia to join the “Morphy mess” in the Kara Sea, keeping Scandinavia as the exit region of polar winds.  The blocking high will gradually weaken and center over Scandinavia, so the north winds will give way to calm and then south winds a week from now.

The Pole continues to cool but still is above normal. Things are quiet on the Canadian and Bering Strait sides.

UK MET MAP

UK Met Apr 1 13464993 (Click to enlarge)

A piece of “Taxie” has brewed up a bit of a storm west of Spain and Portugal, but this storm will not forge east into the Mediterranean, and rather will drift back to the northwest, only kicking a storm ahead to the south coast of Spain towards next weekend.  The boundary between the blocking high’s air and Atlantic air will remain stuck, generally from coastal France through the British Isles to south of Iceland, until the block breaks down and drifts east next weekend.

LOCAL VIEW  —No break during the break—

A battle 188 satsfc (3)A battle 188 rad_nat_640x480

I have to cover for a member of my staff who hurt her back. Then I have a state-required class to take tonight. However the dawn is lovely, as we are between Drench and Foolerson.

APRIL 1  —DMI AFTERNOON MAPS—

DMI Apr 1B mslp_latest.bigDMI Apr 1B temp_latest.big (1)

I don’t see much that is new. The blocking high pressure is still in place, with Iceland on the warm side and Svalbard on the cold side. The Morphy Mess is being strengthened by the addition of a low coming up from the Sreppes, and it looks like the mild side of that low is managing to push some milder air up towards the Pole. This is quite a change from January, when south winds from Siberia are so cold.

UK Met Map

UK Met Apr 1B 13478807 (click to enlarge)

“Taxie” continues to spin, drifting away from Spain to the north, but basically stalled by the persistent blocking high to its north.  That high has created a strange situation over the British Isles, where the much-modified air over southern England is from the Canadian arctic, while to the north the much-modified air over Scotland is from the south coast of France. Taxie is liable to bring milder air over much of the British Isles briefly, though it is difficult to figure out the flows when things are basically stagnant.

One odd feature I don’t understand is shown by that bit of cold front between Norway and Greenland. That is a developing storm that will clip northern Scandinavia.  I also think it is indicative of the crumbling of the blocking high pressure. It looks like the block will lose its roots in the upper atmosphere, and the high pressure at the surface will go rolling away across Scandinavia by the weekend.

LOCAL VIEW  —What a glory day it was!—

A battle 189 satsfc (3)A battle 189 rad_ec_640x480_01

“Drench” continues to fade slowly to the east, as Foolerson stalls north of the Great Lakes and kicks fronts towards us. We didn’t see storms stall like this all winter, but perhaps we are seeing hints of next winter’s patterns.  Stalled storms give us our deepest snows, which is not a thing I am in the mood to think about right now. I’d much rather simply bask in the healing beams of sheer, unadulterated mercy, called “Spring.”

With Foolerson so close to us, to our west, I am under no illusions that the fine weather will last, and in fact computer models are giving us further snow before true spring comes in May, however today was a day to simply bask.

The word “bask” has ferocious Viking roots.  Similar to the word “bath,” its use meant you were not bathing in warm water, but rather in the warm blood of your defeated foe.  While bloodbaths are no longer politically correct, back then it was preferable to the alternative, which was death. It meant your foe was defeated and you were alive, and joy was in the gruesome word. (Now we think we are more civilized when we kill from far away using drones.)  In any case, apparently it took Shakespeare to take the Norse word for bloodbath and connect it to sunshine. It is a far nicer word when the foe you have defeated is not a fellow human, but the inanimate enemy called “winter.”

Yesterday morning I was flinching from sleet pellets that stung my scalp as I salted the walkways, for the sleet was mixed with freezing rain and small icicles hung from every twig and electrical wire. It accumulated as a cobalt blue slush that coated the ground but didn’t flow downhill like ordinary slush, until the victorious sun broke through in the afternoon, and abruptly the world melted.  Today’s brilliant sunshine was almost a shock.

I took the children out for a walk, and was surprised to see the boisterous spring-fever energy fade into a languor.  We wound up at a stretch of large stones that had been rolled from a pasture by farmers of the past,  and the children just sat about on the warm rocks, quietly conversing, and also basking.  In the distance my goats were all laying down, and also basking.

I can only conclude basking is natural, and has a hidden importance.

APRIL 2 —DMI MORNING MAPS—

DMI Apr 2 mslp_latest.bigDMI Apr 2 temp_latest.big (1)

(You can click these maps to enlarge them.)

“Morphy” is creating a strong flow north over the Laptev Sea towards the Pole. For some reason they haven’t updated the Navy maps since March 27, but I imagine the ice is being pushed away from the Siberian coast there, and is crunching and thickening towards the Pole.  The air being pushed towards the Pole is above minus-ten, and near the coast is nearly up to freezing, but further east some remaining Siberian chill near minus-twenty is being wrapped into the swirl. Further west Morphy has less tightly packed isobars and the conditions are calmer over the Kara Sea.  Barents Sea is also untroubled, until you get over towards Svalbard, where a strong flow from the north is likely pushing ice south through Fram Strait.  A little low north of Norway is sucking some of that colder air into northern Scandinavia.

Over towards Bering Strait conditions are calmer and high pressure is blocking any major invasions of Pacific air.  The coldest air is now west of Greenland in Canada north of Hudson Bay.

UK MET MAP

UK Met Apr 2 13491934 (Click to enlarge)

An interesting home-grown arctic low is attacking the top of Norway, north of the blocking high pressure, which persists from the Baltic to Greenland.  Taxie continues to spin, stalled south of the British Isles. “Drench” is appearing at the lower left.

LOCAL VIEW  —A surprising sunny daybreak—

A battle 190 satsfc (3) A battle 190 rad_nat_640x480

 

The high pressure between Drench and Foolerson is holding strong, and it hasn’t clouded over yet.

APRIL 2 —AFTERNOON DMI MAPS—

DMI Apr 2B mslp_latest.bigDMI Apr 2B temp_latest.big (1)

 

APRIL 3 —DMI MORNING MAPS—

DMI Apr 3 mslp_latest.bigDMI Apr 3 temp_latest.big (1)

COMPARISON OF SEA ICE THIS YEAR WITH LAST YEAR

APRIL 2 2013  Comparison April 2 2013 AM2SI20130402RGB

APRIL 2 2014  Comparison April 2 2014 AM2SI20140402RGB

Bill Illis offered these two links in a comment on a sea ice thread over at WUWT.  If you open the two links in a new tab, and then click back and forth, you can have fun and fall behind schedule.  Greenland and the Atlantic are at the top, and Bering Strait and the Pacific are at the bottom. The black dot is the North Pole. The thicker ice appears as a darker shade of blue.  My own observations were as follows:

RE: Bill Illis says:
April 3, 2014 at 5:48 am

Thanks for sharing those two satellite shots. I did what you said, and after falling behind schedule by having a blast, clicking to and fro between the two tabs, I am struck by the increase in the ice thickness.

The exception seems to be the Laptev Sea north of central Siberia. That makes sense, when you remember the cross-polar-flow kicked in fairly often during the winter, sending Siberian air across to Canada (and then down to freeze my socks off in New Hampshire.) That flow would be offshore in the Laptev Sea, pushing the ice across towards Canada.

As you head east from North of Scandinavia the Northeast passage is wide open in Barents Sea, looks like it is open or will soon be open along the coasts of the Kara Sea and Laptev Sea (due the aforementioned offshore winds) but when you proceed east to the East Siberian Sea you start to run into the thicker ice. While there is less ice south of Bering Strait than there was the prior (record setting) winter, north of Bering Strait in the Chukchi Sea it looks thicker.

This may present a bit of a problem for shipping in the Northeast passage. It doesn’t matter much if you are following a super-icebreaker, when the winds turn north and the ice starts shifting south. The channel behind an icebreaker can close like the jaws of a bear trap. (And winds can get strong, from the north, along the Siberian coast during the summer. When you have inland temperatures of 85 degrees and offshore temperatures of 34; it generates one heck of a sea-breeze.)

(If an oil tanker gets trapped up there, for even a day, Greenpeace will be doing back-flips. So the Russians won’t mention it.)

My own take is that what really matters is the temperature of the water under the ice. My assumption is that the water is colder, and less stratified. (In calmer conditions a layer of warmer, more-salty water is below colder, less-salty surface water. However conditions have been far from calm, with large areas ice-free at the start of the past two winters. This is especially true of Barents Sea, however the waters north and south of Bering Strait on the Pacific side had below-normal ice-cover for the first half of winter. Without that protective cover the waters get churned and don’t stratify as much.) However an assumption is only a guess.

It is not that we don’t have a clue, concerning arctic sea-ice. We just need more clues. We’ll watch and wait for more clues.

The entire thread can be seen here: http://wattsupwiththat.com/2014/04/03/sea-ice-news-volume-5-number-1-multiyear-ice-on-the-rise/

APRIL 3 —DMI AFTERNOON MAPS—

DMI Apr 3B mslp_latest.bigDMI Apr 3B temp_latest.big (1)

The “Morphy Mess” has moved over the Pole, and is a sort of warm-core storm sitting atop the planet. The theory of a “Polar Cell” (like a Hadley or Ferrel Cell) is suppose to have air rising around the periphery of the Pole and sinking at the center, but this appears to be the opposite; air rising at the pole and sinking at the periphery.  I’ll need to think about this, after my taxes are done.

Looks like ice is being blown into Fram Strait, but not out.

APRIL 4  —DMI MORNING MAPS–

DMI Apr 4 mslp_latest.bigDMI Apr 4 temp_latest.big (1)

I’m just sticking these in for the record.  No one will want to be anywhere near me this weekend, as I’ll be up to my elbows in illegible receipts and swearing a lot.

Every year I say I’ll be more organized however the truth is I’m just a slob.  The government invented taxes to punish disorganized people.

DMI Apr 5 mslp_latest.bigDMI Apr 5 temp_latest.big (1)

I’m still stuck with heaps of receipts, but just needed to relax my eyes on some cool ice.

It looks colder up there; the tongue of mild air that blew up from the Steppes over the Pole has lost its heat.

Where’d that storm north of Norway come from?  You takes your eyes off things for a second, and those rascal storms are up to something.

Looks like the block hasn’t quite quit yet.

UK Met Maps  —saturday—

UK Met Apr 5 FSXX00T_00UK Met Apr 5B 13578913 (click maps to enlarge)

The block has developed a weakness between a Greenland center and a center over Europe. Lows are starting to squeeze through that weakness, though it looks like “Taxie” did get crushed and have to kick low pressure beneath the Block to Italy.

Things are starting to move west-to-east again, and the high over Greenland ought roll east along the edge of the Arctic over the top of Scandinavia.  Behind it may be some south winds that will push the ice the wrong way, north through Fram Strait.

LOCAL VIEW  —a cold shot—

A battle 191 satsfc (3)A battle 191 rad_ne_640x480 (1)

 

After a lovely week, with a lot of snow simply fading away, we had a shot of rain last night and this morning as a storm came up the coast and over us. Behind it it is sharply colder.  I’m glad I never let the wood stove go out. (I only have one fire a winter, but I light it in October and it goes out in April.)

OK  Back to the taxes.

APRIL 7  —DMI AFTERNOON MAPS—

DMI Aprol 7B mslp_latest.bigDMI Aprol 7B temp_latest.big (1)

These temperatures are roughly normal for the Pole. If it dips below normal up there it will be for the first time since last autumn.

Taxes are bad for my immune system. I’m suffering from a bad cold.

APRIL 8 —DMI MORNING MAPS—

DMI April 8 mslp_latest.bigDMI April 8 temp_latest.big (1)

APRIL 9  —DMI AFTERNOON MAPS—

DMI Apr 9B mslp_latest.bigDMI Apr 9B temp_latest.big (1)

Milder air up to Iceland and Svalbard.  Quite cold north of there around the Pole. The flow through Fram Strait is slow and even halted. Looks like ice is being pushed away from the western Siberian coast, in the Kara Sea.

UK MET MAPS APRIL 9 

UK Met Apr 9 FSXX00T_00UK Met Apr 9B 13679070 (Click maps to enlarge)

I’m just archiving these maps here, hoping I find time to peruse them at a later date.

Looks like the blocking high pressure has pretty much eroded away.

LOCAL VIEW  —SURVIVING THE CLIMATE CHANGE—

A battle 192 satsfc (3)A battle 192 rad_nat_640x480

 

The map shows a secondary cold front sweeping down over us, so we will get a freeze tonight. The low will be in the mid-twenties (-4 Celsius) and not a tree is budding.  The farm pond remains astonishingly ice-covered, for this late in the spring, and to our west the Great Lakes are 50% ice-covered, at a time of year when they are usually nearly ice-free.: (Hat tip to Joseph D’Aleo’s WeatherBELL blog.)

Great Lakes Apr 9 lice_00(6)

Great Lakes Apr 9 20140331180000_CVCSWCTGL_0007594648

 

However the radar map shows something comforting:  Not a bit of snow is falling in the entire USA. And the sunshine is comforting as well, as it is as high on April 9 as it is on September 2, when people flock to the beaches for the last holiday of summer, “Labor Day Weekend.”  All the trees are still green then, and the squash and tomatoes thrive in the gardens, un-blackened by frost.

The sun has real power, and despite frosts every night that freezes puddles, the snow has vanished from the pasture, (though it is still six inches deep on north slopes and in shaded groves of pine.) Unfortunately people shed their winter clothing too swiftly, ignoring the wisdom of old-timers, which stated , “Stick to your long underwear until your long underwear sticks to you”. Consiquently a cold virus has seized the opportunity to afflict my little town, and even though I kept on wearing my long underwear, being sneezed upon by so many snuffling, under-dressed children dropped off by snuffling under-dressed parents overwhelmed my immune system, and though I never wound up in bed like so many others, I truly felt like something the cat dragged in.

One bad side of a farm is that even when you get sick the animals still require care.  A bad side of running a Childcare is that when the employees call in sick you still have to work.

Simply getting through the day was an ordeal. One aspect of the current virus is that, while the congestion isn’t all that bad, you feel totally exhausted and very achy. You feel like you have worked very hard even before you have worked a lick, right down to the aching muscles. All you want to do is sleep, and in fact that has been the talk of the town, the past week: How much time people have spent in bed.

As I trudged through the day I couldn’t help but wonder how young mothers, and especially young, single mothers, manage when they are sick.  The kids don’t stop being kids.  The mother has to keep caring, though she really needs rest.

By the time I came home, and faced the huge drift of receipts and tax-forms on the dining-room table,  I could barely last a half-hour adding up sums.  I got more and more anxious as the deadline approached with my taxes undone.  However today I finally was starting to feel better. I planned to go home and get the damn taxes done. But my daughters, who have had the virus, were feeling better as well, and chose tonight to visit, along with my baby granddaughter.

I faced a choice: Do my taxes, or sweep the papers aside on the dining-room table for one more night.  As is usual for me, I quietly and privately told the Federal Government to go to hell, and instead of doing my taxes I put my wife, daughters, and granddaughter first.

If the government demands an explanation, I’ll blame “Climate Change.”  Global Warming definitely afflicts the northern hemisphere in April, and makes people forget to wear jackets and catch colds and sneeze all over me.  It is not my fault; it is the government’s fault. Despite spending a billion dollars a day, world-wide, to prevent Climate Change, they haven’t kept springtime from coming.  Like the Grinch who tried to keep Christmas from coming, they are attempting to regulate things which cannot be governed.

Once I’m over this cold and have my taxes done, I think my pen will ventilate a huge amount of spleen, concerning the complete stupidity of government regulations.

However first things first. First is: Get the damn taxes done.

APRIL 10   —DMI MORNING MAPS—

DMI Apr 10 mslp_latest.bigDMI Apr 10 temp_latest.big (1)

NORTH POLE CAMERA BEING SET UP

http://translate.google.ru/translate?hl=ru&sl=ru&tl=en&u=http%3A%2F%2Fbarneo-polus.livejournal.com%2F

http://psc.apl.washington.edu/wordpress/research/npeo-2014-field-reports/

APRIL 11  —AFTERNOON DMI MAPS—

DMI Apr 11B mslp_latest.bigDMI Apr 11B temp_latest.big (1)

APRIL 12 —DMI MORNING MAPS—Threat to camp at North Pole—

DMI Apr 12 mslp_latest.bigDMI Apr 12 temp_latest.big (1)

 

A pretty big storm has blown up over the Laptev Sea, and is moving north towards the guys setting up the North Pole Camera. I’ll dub the storm “Camprek,” because I imagine it is wrecking their camping.  Hopefully no leads form right where they’re working. They’ve already been through a “Polar Bear Alert,” which seemingly involves everyone withdrawing to the tent that serves as their cafeteria. Now they can gather first hand observations of an arctic gale.  I wonder if the ice rocks and moans.

I don’t see how I am expected to finish up  my taxes with this interesting stuff going on.

QUICK PEEK AT UK MET MAP

UK Met Apr 12 13741773 (Click to enlarge)

The map shows a new pattern has taken over while my attention has been elsewhere. A faint memory of the blocking high has faded east into Russia, with a tail of high pressure dangling down towardfs the Azores, as north of it a new storm track marches up over Iceland and then along the arctic coast of Scandinavian and Russia.

The weak low over the Black Sea is remnants of “Taxie.”   The Icelandic Gale is “Taxick” (because I’m sick of taxes) and the Labrador Low is “Taxmore” (because I have more taxes to do).

What will be interesting to watch is the Azores High and the high pressure south of Newfoundland.  They are going to attempt to take over the British Isles and southern Europe, and perhaps even southern Scandinavia, and push the storm track north into the arctic.  However the storm track will keep counterattacking with fronts like the one approaching Scotland.

LOCAL VIEW  —A battle nearly over—

A battle 193 satsfc (3)A battle 193 rad_nat_640x480

 

The last bit of snow in the center of the Childcare playground, a circle where the igloo once was, had faded away to a single lump the size of a grapefruit on Thursday morning, and by afternoon it was gone.  Yesterday it was warm enough to go out wearing just a sweater, with no jacket, though a front swung through late in the day with cold sprinkles of rain. This morning is clear and chilly, but a benevolent sun is beaming over the eastern hills,  and I have the sense we might escape without an April snow this year.  Of course, I do glance anxiously at that patch of snow showing on the Canadian border of North Dakota. However even if it does get us, it will melt quickly.  The worst is past and the future is bright.

Or it will be when I finalize my taxes.

I am planning to explain why it takes me so long, but if I do it now I’ll be avoiding the task of finishing them.  How even as I work I’m muttering some choice bombast, saving it up for an essay which will ventilate a lot of pent up ire.

APRIL 12 —AFTERNOON DMI MAPS—

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

“Camprek” continues strong, edging towards the Pole. The Friday report from Barneo Camp mentions “the weather is deteriorating,” but I could find no Saturday report. Likely they are busy, and have more important things to do than chat to people outside.

“Taxick” continues on towards northern Norway.

APRIL 13  —MORNING MAPS—

DMI Apr 13 mslp_latest.bigDMI Apr 13 temp_latest.big (1)

APRIL 13 —AFTERNOON DMI MAPS—

DMI Apr 13B mslp_latest.bigDMI Apr 13B temp_latest.big (1)

It looks like “Camprek” is weakening as it nears the Pole, though it still looks fairly windy up there.  I wonder if they evacuated the Barnea camp and airstrip. The ice is only around four to five feet thick, and strong winds can crack the ice and open sudden long leads of water.

I’m a disheveled wreck, but my taxes are nearly done.  Then I can get back to important things, like watching ice melt.

It is interesting to see a “warm sector” of a storm pulled right atop the Pole.  Though the DMI temperature graph of the Pole will likely show a spike, I’ll be watching to see if it is swiftly followed by a crash.  Sometimes these Polar storms seem to generate cold air.  I’m not certain of the dynamics, and will be seeking clues.

APRIL 14  —DMI MORNING MAPS—

DMI Apr 14 mslp_latest.bigDMI Apr 14 temp_latest.big (1)

APRIL 14  —DMI AFTERNOON MAPS—

DMI Apr 14B mslp_latest.bigDMI Apr 14B temp_latest.big (1)

Camprek is weakening right over the Pole. It did not wreak the camp but did make life difficult. The Russian site reported (translation) :

Today was not any flights. Yesterday evening, the weather began to deteriorate and the whole Today snowstorm sweeps. Despite the fact that all the tents were fixed on the first day, at night the wind has torn corner tourist wardroom, so the whole team was alerted to further strengthen the tents (tying ropes). From today, the camp commandant introduced compulsory clock duty to look after the tents from wind damage and time to detect possible faults ice – the last day of the route with skiers reported more torosheniem and appearance of open water. 

A “torosheniem” is a pressure ridge, a sort of mini-mountain range of ice formed when two plates crunch together.

For a while the wind was blowing over 56 mph with temperatures down around  -31° C!!!

That is a nasty wind-chill for the people who went up there to ski.  Some Chinese tourists suffered frostbitten fingers.  (I’ve had enough of hurting hands for this year.)

No reports from the North Pole Camera people.

LOCAL REPORT  —Taxes Done!— —Wild and Mild—

A battle 194 satsfc (3)A battle 194 rad_nat_640x480

 

 

Considering I’ve spent so much time watching ice melt, I likely have no business talking about anyone wasting time.  I’m sure many think counting coins is much more fun. However that is their business, and my business is my business. Just as they would likely deeply resent it if I forced them to watch ice melt, I deeply resent being forced to count coins.

To be honest, I consider money a sort of manure. It is a byproduct of work, just as manure is a byproduct of farming. It has its value, just as manure has a value, which is why farmers once called it “brown gold.” However farmers knew better than to hoard manure.  It did absolutely no good unless you spread it around the garden to enrich the soil.

Our government likes to talk about “redistributing wealth,” as if they were spreading manure, however the fact is they obsess about manure.  They can’t get enough of it.  They  have to create more and more of it, even to a degree where they print trillions that don’t exist, which is tantamount to creating manure without cows. Nor do they spread it in sensible places, such as gardens that grow food. Instead they spread it on the ceiling and walls of the houses where they abide, and in the kitchens, which is why their lives stink, and why the poor stay poor as their cronies thrive.

Farmers are quite able to handle large amounts of manure without obsessing upon it.  They keep stables clean (except perhaps in the coldest weather, when manure in stalls can generate free heat), and have a rough idea how much land their mellowing pile of manure in the barnyard can fertilize.  However they would laugh at the idea of recording every single flatulence of every cow, which is basically what the government requires of me, when I do my income taxes.

In order to figure out your income you have to tally the amount you took in, and then subtract what you expended making it, and the result is what you harvested.  In simple terms, it takes a potato to grow potatoes, and when you say you have harvested twenty potatoes from four plants, you need to remember the single potato you cut into four pieces to grow the four plants, and subtract it from your total harvest.  If it took a potato to grow twenty, your harvest isn’t twenty, but nineteen.

Because I run a Childcare, my harvest is happy children. It has been my experience that children don’t thrive in a Childcare which is operated like a penitentiary built to incarcerate criminals. They’d much rather be outside, doing stuff like cutting a potato into four pieces and seeing it grow twenty.  When I am dealing with twelve children, that involves twelve potatoes. It is a very small expense, but the government demands I be able to show them a receipt, “Twelve Potatoes.”

It just so happens that it doesn’t take all that much time to plant twelve potatoes. Kids also don’t want to stand about all summer watching a potato plant grow.  Potatoes take about twenty minutes in April. I need to think up another activity, and this involves another small receipt. After three-hundred-sixty-five days I have hundreds of small receipts.

As I went through the hundreds of receipts, doing my taxes, I came across one that stated, “Nightcrawlers, $2.50”.  This refered to a hot day in August when we could not dig our worms for fishing, as the soil was very dry and the worms had gone deep down and coiled themselves in balls to hibernate until the next rain. So I swung into the local market, got worms, and the children didn’t have to sweat under the hot sun learning what they learned the day before, (which was that in hot, dry weather it is hard to find worms because they go down deep and coil themselves in balls). Instead I was a small-time master with twelve disciples, heading off to learn about catfish.

The Childcare my wife and I run has won praise and awards. I wish the government cared for children (and their parents) like we do, but they care more about receipts. In fact, if I get audited, there may be trouble about the “Nightcrawlers $2.50” receipt.  You see, I was in such a rush to get to work on time that day that I neglected to put it in the proper folder, It sat in my truck, and my dog sat on it. It slipped to the passenger-side floor and somehow coffee got spilled on it. Invading sunbeams faded the ink until you need to know what it says to read it.

This sort of situation can only develop when people in power care more for manure than cows. However if they care so much for manure, they should not be surprised when their reward isn’t milk and honey, and the brown stuff they bite into turns out to be something other than chocolate.

There. I had to get that out of my system.

Today was actually hot.  It was 56 (13 Celsius) even before the sun rose, and as I drove to mail my taxes it was 75 (24 Celsius).  Its been a while since I could think about complaining about heat. Nor am I thinking about that now, as the radar shows snow in Chicago, heading my way.

The wind has been roaring from the southwest, and it is ever so nice to get shoved about by a wind gusting over 40 mph and not to feel cold.  I’d write a sonnet about it, but I’m too worn out from paying what I owe the government for making my life miserable and preventing poetry.

APRIL 15  —DMI MORNING MAPS—

DMI Apr 15 mslp_latest.bigDMI Apr 15 temp_latest.big (1)

APRIL 15  —DMI AFTERNOON MAPS—

dmi apr 15B mslp_latest.bigDMI Apr 15B temp_latest.big (1)

 

APRIL 16  —DMI MORNING MAPS—

DMI Apr 16 mslp_latest.bigDMI Apr 16 temp_latest.big (1)

With “Campreck” fading away, perhaps they can get the North Pole Camera up and running.

LOCAL VIEW  —A parting shot; howling snow squalls pass through—

A battle 195 satsfc (3)A battle 195 rad_ne_640x480 (1)

 

The world is white out my window this morning. My wife said, “It’s sort of pretty out there.” When I looked at her in disbelief, I could see mischief in her eyes. She was only saying it to stimulate incredulity in my face.

It has been a long, hard winter, and we’ve actually been lucky to get so little snow in the second half of it.  This is just a parting shot from the North, to remind us that our land is only being loaned to the summer.

I’m attempting to clean up the wreckage taxes made of the dining room, and put all the dirty receipts into neat folders, in case I am ever audited. (I’d much rather throw them all in the trash.) Once that is finished, I suppose the “taxing time” is over, and we can step into the amazing resurrection called Spring. That deserves a new post, so I guess this one is over.

The continuation of these posts will be found at: https://sunriseswansong.wordpress.com/2014/04/16/arctic-sea-ice-melt-resurrection-or-zombie/

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ARCTIC SEA ICE EXTENT TRIPLES!!!

eXTENT sEP 17 N_bm_extent_hiresExtent March 18B map N_bm_extent_hires

I created my sensationalist headline to counter the headline we are likely to once again see, come this July, which will read, “North Pole Melting!!!”

When it comes to facts, neither headline is truly false. The truth in my headline can be seen in the following graph, which not only shows that the arctic sea-ice extent has tripled since last September, but has actually quadrupled since the summer of 2012.

Sea_Ice_Extent_March 18 v2

The second headline is also factual, because the ice melts at the the North Pole every summer. This happens because a day at the the North Pole is six months long, which means the “noontime heat” lasts around a month.  Temperatures nudge above freezing in early July and sink below freezing in late August. This has happened every summer since records started being kept in 1958. A summer without melting at the Pole would be a real reason for sensationalist headlines, but there has never been a summer without melting. Here is the Danish Meteorological Institute’s graph for polar temperatures in the year 1958, as opposed to last summer’s:

DMI meanT_1958DMI 2013 meanT_2013 (1)

It can be seen that even in the case of last summer, (to the right), which had below-normal summer temperatures, it would not be dishonest to have a headline proclaiming “North Pole Melting.”

The difference between the two headlines is not in their truthfulness, but in the impressions they convey.  A headline about tripled extent is more suggestive of a coming ice age than a headline about a melting North Pole. A headline about a melting North Pole is more conducive to panic about Global Warming.

I don’t see much wrong in having different impressions. Having more than one impression is a healthy thing. They balance out and produce scope and depth. This is why we have two eyes. The right eye is a thesis, the left eye is an antithesis, and between the two of them they produce a synthesis, which contains something no single view has, called “depth perception.”

In the same way a two-party system is better than the single party of a dictatorship. The allure of a dictatorship is that one faces no legal opposition, however one constantly risks getting no advice when about to step off a cliff, and history shows us, again and again, that megalomaniacs who think their own view is best view climb pinnacles of power only to plummet to ruin, often bringing entire populations with them.

Science is also most healthy when it is open to new ideas. This is not to say it isn’t afflicted with attributes of humanity: Youths tend to be undisciplined and to lack experience, while the aged tend to resist change and be set in their ways, but, in theory at least, scientists are ever hopeful they will be there at the bright dawning of a fresh and new discovery. There is no bowing and fawning among true scientists before the magic word, “Consensus,” (which is a word that assumes discovery is a thing of the past.)

You may be wondering what all this has to do with sea-ice. So am I. I originally studied sea-ice for the same reason I studied clouds: It was an escape from reality.  I can honestly say that I didn’t return to reality; reality invaded my clouds.  Where it once was a safe thing to say, “It’ll be a nice day, if it don’t rain,” it suddenly became unsafe, and you could wind up with your hair all blown back by another person’s rage. “Weather,” which was once a safe topic, has become more dangerous than discussing religion or politics.

To have weather become a dangerous topic has led me to conclude that there is no such thing as a safe social posture, on this crazy planet. It took me decades to arrive at this conclusion, which I started to understand back in the early 1970’s when it suddenly became politically incorrect to open a door for a lady.  (Before, opening a door always earned me a smile, but suddenly it got me a swift kick in the shins.) Even if I assumed silence and a disarming smile, people seemed liable to regard me as Brer Rabbit regarded the silent tar-baby.  http://americanfolklore.net/folklore/2010/07/brer_rabbit_meets_a_tar_baby.html

Considering there was no safe place to withdraw any more, (and I was a master of withdrawal, avoidance, and all other forms of escapism,) and considering there were no clouds left to hide in, I had to fight back, and it turns out that once I’m cornered I can fight like a cornered hamster. I refused to be cowed any longer, and went around looking for a fight, doing dangerous things like opening doors for young women. Obviously it was successful, for now young women want nothing to do with me.

It was equally successful in terms of sea-ice. I no longer search for the politically correct way to bring up the topic. While it is politically correct to talk at great length about ice melting, it is a horrendous social gaffe to talk about ice reforming, but I did it, and now the “beautiful people” don’t invite me to their parties. Fine with me. The only ones who really thinks those people are beautiful are in their mirrors, and those mirrors sometimes have doubts.

This has left me free to do what I want. (I told you I was a master of withdrawal, avoidance and other forms of escapism.) What I want to do is watch sea-ice melt and reform. Watching ice melt and watching water refreeze is tedious, though not as boring as a party held by the politically correct, and unlike “beautiful people,” it has the redeeming quality of possessing real beauty that rivals the beauty of clouds.

Furthermore, as I watch ice melt and refreeze, I become increasingly aware we are on the verge of discovery.  We are about to see something that actually deserves the word “unprecedented,” because it has never been seen before.

It has never been seen before because the AMO has a cycle from “cold” to “warm” and then back to “cold” of roughly 60 years, and we have only had satellites viewing the sea-ice for roughly fifty years. (There are some who behave as if the earliest satellite-pictures don’t exist, but never mind that for now.) Therefore we are about to see a part of the AMO cycle humans have never witnessed before, from outer space.

Fishermen down here on earth have witnessed what we are about to witness, and have done so for centuries, and the Danish Meteorological Institute, (because Danes sail arctic seas,) labored long and hard to make maps of ice-conditions in the northern seas, for decades before we had satellites. They possess the old maps, but for some reason don’t make them public, (but never mind that for now.)  I did get to study those maps long and hard at an old Watts Up With That post, http://wattsupwiththat.com/2012/05/02/cache-of-historical-arctic-sea-ice-maps-discovered/ It was a was a wonderful post I returned to over and over, to study pre-satellite conditions, but the last time I went there all the maps had vanished, so I can’t refer you there.

Therefore you will have to take my word for this.  If the AMO sixty-year-cycle is a true cycle, and if history repeats itself, we are about to witness a most astonishing regrowth of ice on the Atlantic side of the Pole. We will move from “unprecedented” lows to “unprecedented” highs in only five to ten years.

However let us assume the worst. I know from experience that those who refuse to learn from history attempt to erase the past, and let us assume they have succeeded, and we only have the current situation to forecast the future with.  Have we any indications we are about to see a dramatic shift, in the world of arctic sea-ice?

First, besides the AMO there is a thing called the PDO, and it shifted from a “warm” phase to a “cold” phase a few years back, and, and in steps and stages, the sea-ice has made a remarkable “recovery” on the Pacific side.  Ice north and south of Bering Strait was at record levels last winter, and this winter, despite a slow start and despite above-normal temperatures in Alaska, it has achieved an above-normal extent. However the ice in the Strait is thin ice that will be gone by June. What is really impressive, on the Pacific side, is the increase of thicker multi-year ice.  That ice has buckled and built, heaped-up in multiple pressure ridges, and expanded slowly west along the North American arctic coast, starting from a last-hold-out northeast of Greenland, and creeping along the entire Canadian and Alaskan coasts, until it is now invading waters north of the Bering Strait itself.

This means a great deal, in terms of the measure people make a big deal about::  “Sea Ice Extent”, because ice-free waters north of Bering Strait added a lot to the decrease in sea-ice totals seen over the past decade.  Because those waters are now less likely to be ice-free, sea-ice-extent could rebound a million, or even two million km2, on the Pacific side.

To some that does not matter, because Pacific waters are minor contributors to the Arctic Ocean, compared to Atlantic waters, which include the northern tendrils of the Gulf Stream. These people will focus on the dregs of a warm AMO, which has greatly reduced the ice on the Atlantic side.  How greatly? Well, the past winter has seen so little ice regrow in the Barents Sea that its ice cover is at levels so low that they are “unprecedented” for this time of year, in the satellite era.

This open water is largely due to a lack of cold air to freeze the sea, because of a surge of warmth up through Europe towards the Pole this past winter. This air had to surge north to replace all the arctic air heading the other way, south down to freeze my socks off, and even reaching Texas and Northern Mexico, in North America.  The warm air, surging north as cold air surged south, defied a simpler idea seen in textbooks: The idea of a “Polar Cell.”

A “Polar Cell” is much like a “Hadley Cell” down at the equator.  Warm air rises in the warmer south, flows north aloft, and then sinks in the colder north. When this happens the flow around the Pole is “zonal.”  Cold is kept up at the Pole by winds flowing around the Pole.  That sure didn’t happen this past winter. The flow was “meidianal,” .with the jet stream describing such loops that warm air was brought to the Pole itself, as cold air was brought to Mexico. Often it was colder in Minnesota than at the North Pole, and in east Siberia (away from the warm inflow surging north over Europe,) it was even fifty degrees colder than at the Pole.  (Minus-seventy when the Pole was “only” minus-twenty.)

Things were out of balance. What caused the imbalance? My guess is that the Altlantic AMO and Pacific PDO are out of Phase. The Pacific is “cold” while the Atlantic is “warm”. Until the Atlantic AMO becomes “cold” we are unlikely to see a return of a zonal flow, where the cold air stays north where it belongs.

But how does the Pacific, being so much bigger, bully the Atlantic into becoming “cold”?

I have no idea.  I think that is what satellites are about to show us, over the next five to ten years. I hope very much to live long enough to witness the entire process, as (and if) it happens.

However I do have a hunch that open water is a better way for the Arctic Ocean to lose heat than ice-covered water. The open water of the Barents Sea may be losing heat and be part of what prompts the “cold” AMO.  Also, as light again reveals the sea-ice, removing darkness like wrapping paper removed on a Christmas morning, my lying eyes can again scan the ice up at the Pole, and I see evidence that it was very windy up there in the dark of the last arctic night.  Where a zonal flow would keep things calm and very cold, the meridianal flow had winds roaring north and roaring south in a way that stressed the sea-ice, creating cracks that expanded to areas of open water over a mile wide, while in other areas crunching ice together to create pressure ridges.  The areas of open water, (now thinly frozen over but still visible), were exposed to air which, though ten degrees above normal, were still a “balmy” twenty-below, and this exposure would chill the sea more than if it was protected by thick ice. That too would be a case where open water does not indicate warming, but rather a chilling of the Arctic Ocean. It is the chilling of the ocean that will lead to the expansion of sea-ice, I theorize.

This is only a hunch, and I wrote more about my hunch at:  http://wattsupwiththat.com/2014/01/09/author-of-its-own-demise-musings-on-the-amo/

It would not surprise me a bit if my hunch was utterly wrong. After all, we are about to witness what has never been witnessed from above.

Being wrong doesn’t bother me all that much, because I like that which is fresh and new, especially new discoveries. And as the AMO shifts towards “cold” such freshness and newness and discovery will be available to all, just as warm sunshine is available to all, and falls on rich and poor alike. It will be a wonderful newness, just as springtime is a newness.

There are some who don’t like being wrong, and dislike newness. They prefer correctness, especially correctness of a political-correct sort, even if it means they cling to a winter and never see spring. If you really want to enjoy seeing what we’ve never seen before, as the AMO shifts to “cold,” I’d suggest avoiding that crowd….unless, of course, you prefer an echo chamber echoing ignorance, and enjoy the depth-perception of a Cyclops.

Sorry. I meant this essay to be humorous, and did not mean to end it on a bitter note, but the long, cold winter refuses to relent, and my heating bills are through the roof, and now I have to do my taxes and they will be higher.  That’s enough to wipe the smile off most anyone’s face.

ARCTIC SEA ICE MAXIMUM —MARCH MADNESS—

This is a continuation of a series of posts, the last of which was,  https://sunriseswansong.wordpress.com/2014/02/23/arctic-sea-ice-maximum-the-peak-at-the-depth/

This series of posts has wandered a long ways from its original intent, which was to discuss the view from the North Pole Camera.  That camera has been gone since September, and we still have roughly 45 30!!! days before the new one is set up in April.

The wait through winter darkness has been long, but already the horizon at the Pole is brightening with twilight, and at 12:57 PM on March 20 the sun will blindingly streak light across the frozen waste, and we can go back to using our eyes (at least from the satellite viewing from miles above.)

I prefer using my eyes, as some of the reporting done about the ice at the Pole has been less than observant. Also there is a sense of wonder to be had from simply witnessing what goes on up there.

I try to post twice a day, with the updates added to the bottom of the post. When the post gets long and unwieldy I add a new post. I post the DMI polar maps of pressure and temperature, and maps of other areas of interest, attempting to avoid wandering too far afield and to keep polar sea-ice the main topic (and often failing.) Lastly, I have been describing how the arctic has been influencing my business in southern New Hampshire, in a segment called “Local View.”  (People of good breeding may wish to skip over these sections because, as a frustrated poet, I use them as an outlet for my propensity towards purple prose, including going so far as to hide sonnets in the prose.)

I am calling this post “March Madness” for two reasons.  First, the clash between increasing warmth in the south and residual winter in the north creates some of the greatest storms at this time, and second, people (including myself) go a bit nuts after a long winter. (Hopefully I will do so with charm and some degree of tact.)

MAR 6  —DMI AFTERNOON MAPS—

DMI Mar 6B pressure mslp_latest.bigDMI Mar 6B temp_latest.big (1) (click to enlarge.)

The low I dubbed “Morphy” has pretty much engulfed Greenland, if you follow the 990 mb isobar right around the island. However the devil is in the details. Even this map, (which I like for its simplicity), shows the secondary I dubbed “Morpheven” has been swiveled around north of Iceland and now is deeper than Morphy. However if you really want to understand the complexity you should use your own eyes and scan the satellite view of the situation at http://www.arctic.io/explorer/ . (I’m still trying to figure out how to clip and paste these satellite shots; especially close ups.  No luck so far.)

It swiftly becomes apparent the reality is far more complex than the isobars would lead one to believe. There are whirls within the whirls, and so on. Also the winds don’t always follow the isobars. For example, though isobars suggest milder Atlantic air should cruise right across the top of the globe, it runs into a wall north of Greenland. Likely there is some sort of front there.

Now, should you want to dig deeper you can poke through the thousands of maps Dr. Ryan Maue offers at the WeatherBELL site, and perhaps, like me, wind up squinting at the Canadian “JEM” model’s initial run of “Precipitable Water.”  Then you can see the line of grey north of Greenland.

DMI Mar 6B cmc_pwat_mslp_arctic_1 (Double click to fully enlarge.)

If you would like that line in vivid red, you look at the GFS initial run of the anomalies of precipitable water. (Unfortunately GFS insists on being contrary, and prints its maps upside down, with Greenland at the top.)

DMI Mar 6B gfs_pwat_sig_arctic_1 (Double click to enlarge fully.)

You can see how the devil is in the details, and also how I could blow an entire day just delving into what exactly is occurring. I do exactly that on rare occasions, but usually I have too many other responsibilities, and prefer to skim.  That is why I like the simplicity of the DMI maps. However I urge others to dig deeper if they have the time and inclination, because as you come to comprehend the complexity you develop your sense of wonder, (and also can spot “news releases” that are basic balderdash.)

It is interesting to note that, despite being enveloped by low pressure, the icecap of Greenland persists in creating cold high pressure, which is like the center of a flower with the low like petals rotating around it. Away from that polar dance a clear cross-polar-flow is developing towards Bering Strait, and is likely to shove ice into the Beaufort Gyre.

So at this point I like to check the Navy map that shows which direction the ice is moving, and how fast :

DMI Mar 6B arcticicespddrfnowcast

This map shows that once again, rather than flushing sea-ice out of the Arctic Ocean via Fram Strait, the ice is being compressed into the Beaufort Gyre. This has happened so often over the past two years that there has been a considerable increase in thicker ice towards the arctic coasts of Canada and Alaska.  This shows as a dramatic (IE red) area of “multi-year-ice”, in another Navy map that portrays thickness:

DMI Mar 6B arcticictnowcast (click to enlarge)

It is really cool to animate this map, and watch the ice shift and pulsate with the weather patterns: http://www7320.nrlssc.navy.mil/hycomARC/navo/arcticict_nowcast_anim30d.gif

The best collection of such maps and graphs (that I know of) is at Anthony Watt’s “Sea Ice Page”:   http://wattsupwiththat.com/reference-pages/sea-ice-page/

In any case, we are entering March madness with a heck of a storm north of Iceland, which is unusual as storms have been passing well south of Iceland.  In fact their winter, (as opposed to Ireland’s and England’s,) has been remarkably sunny and windless, though I imagine Morphy has brought things back to normal.

A QUICK GLANCE AT THE UK MET MAP

UK Met Mar 6B 12825081 (click to enlarge)

With Morphy and Morpheven heading north so far west of Ireland, the best the Atlantic can hit them with is weakening fronts. However they will be utterly baffled if models are correct and a large high pressure area moves up over the British Isles at the start of next week. I wish I was there to see the looks on winter-dazed faces. After so much rain, a truly sunny spell will have smiles stretching the cheeks of even cantankerous grouches, on a Monday, of all things.

I’m not sure how long the pattern will last, but it will be interesting to watch it develop.

LOCAL VIEW  —THREAT #9 SLIPPING SOUTH—

A battle 147 satsfc (3)A battle 147 rad_nat_640x480

That is an impressive storm clouting North Carolina and Virginia, especially for March, and the moisture is surging north.  I’d be worried, but too weary to bother with that. It looks like the arctic high over us is going to deflect that storm south, though it might clip Cape Cod.

It was a gorgeous day, as long as you stayed in the sunshine. As soon as you stepped into the shade you could feel the cold creeping. We might even get down to zero again tonight, for as soon as the sun slips behind the hills you can tell the dry air over us had arctic origins.

Tomorrow it will slide east, and we’ll start to get southerly winds from the high pressure’s warmer side.  Hopefully the warmth won’t breed too many clouds.

MARCH 7  —DMI MORNING MAPS—

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

“Morphy” has definitely changed the flow. Quite the Atlantic surge invading Barents Sea.

One thing you can see from this pattern is how a more traditionally placed Icelandic low assists the Gulf Stream, helping it flow up north of Norway.  For most of this winter the assistance was lacking, as the isobars suggested winds were more from the north, behind the low I called the “Britannic Low,” and blew across the Gulf Stream, perhaps deflecting surface waters more to the south.

LOCAL VIEW —Starry dawn—

A battle 148 satsfc (3)A battle 148 rad_nat_640x480

One more sub-zero morning, though the cold air is very shallow. It is -7 in the valley here but +7 atop a hill about three miles away.

Of you get up before the sun it is worth checking out the sky to the south. Venus is brilliant and silver to the southeast, as Mars is brilliant and red to the southwest.  (Mars only gets bright every 2 years or so, as our orbit catches up to it and we pass it.)

MARCH 7  —DMI AFTERNOON MAPS—

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

As “Morpheven” gets stronger and “Morphy” weakens it will be interesting to see if Morpheven moves up towards the Pole, or over towards the coast of Siberia. Currently the mild air (-15 Celsius) has made it to the Pole. Siberia to Alaska cross-polar flow continuing.

UK MET MAPS

UK Met Mat 7 FSXX00T_00UK Met Mar 7B 12850445 (CLICK MAPS TO ENLARGE)

LOCAL VIEW 

A battle 149 satsfc (3)A battle 149 rad_nat_640x480

Hope to comment later, but it is my Grandson’s birthday. First things first, y’know.

MARCH 8  —DMI MORNING MAPS—

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

“Morphy” has weakened down at the bottom of Greenland as “Morpheven” occludes up by Svalbard, and kicks a secondary, “Morphevenson,” into the Norwegian northwest coast, with a final pulse of milder air in its warm sector, but colder air being drawn inland over Scandinavia south of it.  I think this will end the current invasion of the Arctic by Atlantic air, as a new storm is brewing off this map, south of Iceland. (It is “Thretate,” which is short for what was Threat #8 on this side of the Atlantic.) The high pressure at the very bottom of this map will deflect that storm straight north to Iceland along the new storm track, replacing the west winds over Iceland with east winds, and interupting the surge from the south.

On the other side of the arctic the Siberia-to-Alaska cross-polar-flow continues, which does not bode well for North America.

UK MET MAP  —Western Europe to catch a break?—

UK Met Mar 8 12867015

What tends to catch your eye on the above map is the gale center “Thretate,” to the west of Ireland. If this was the old pattern that would head straight to the British Isles and stall there for the duration of the weekend, becoming what I called the “Britannic Low.” However a new pattern has appeared and the gale will be more well behaved, heading up to become an Icelandic Low as seen in textbooks, only kicking its cold front to the Brittish Isles.

The features that don’t catch your eye, but that should be watched, is the string of high pressures extending from western Siberia all the way down to the Azores.  Rather than being bumped to the east by changing Atlantic Gales they will stand their ground and even be pumped up, forming a wall against Atlantic attacks.

I likely should stay down to earth, and avoid talking about stuff that is over my head, but I do get curious about what is happening aloft that is causing the high pressure over Europe to stand its ground. So I check out D. Ryan Maue’s maps at WeatherBELL, to see what is happening up at the 500 mb level of  the atmosphere. (Red on these maps indicates pressures higher than normal.)

UK Met Mar 8 gfs_z500_sig_eur_1  (Double click to fully enlarge)

Hmm. It does look like a bit of a ridge is poking up over Spain and France. But what about that trough to the west? Will that ripple east and park over Dublin and London?  Let me see what Maue’s maps say the GFS says the situation looks like five days from now:

UK Met Mar 8 gfs_z500_sig_eur_21

Yowza!  That sure looks like the storm track is deflected far to the north, and Western Europe enjoys some fine weather.

Now, you may ask, does this make me happy?  No. I am green with envy, and wear the expression of a man eating garlic.

LOCAL VIEW  —Threat #10—

A battle 150 satsfc (3)A battle 150 rad_nat_640x480

It looks like we should be in a nice and mild southwest flow, judging from the above map, however the low out to sea, (Threat #9), pushed back just enough of a back-side north-flow to delay the southwest winds and keep things calm. We may be thirty degrees warmer this morning, but that is still below freezing.

I’ve got things to grouch about, however I’m going to try to see the sunny side. When I walk outside I see the drive is sheer ice, though it looks sandy. All the sand I spread was covered by around a half inch of melt-water that refroze. If this was December I’d hustle out to spread more sand. But it is March, and with the sun as high as it is at noon on December by mid-morning, I can just be lazy, and let the sun melt the ice.  In fact you notice everyone getting increasingly sloppy, when it comes to snow removal, at this time of year. In December walkways are cleanly shoveled with the edges ruler straight. Now there is more slush, and slumping sides, and less fussing, for all are winter-weary and have slumped into an attitude of, “It’ll melt.”

Threat #10 looked impressive on the long range maps, three days ago, but now it looks like the cold front will  slide by with nothing but snow showers. Of course, with the sun so much more powerful any one of those showers can boom up in the sky and dump a surprise six inches, but I’d be pessimistic if I thought that way. Instead I’m just going to make sure to keep my  snow shovel standing up where I can get at it (as opposed to laying flat on the ground where it gets buried and you scratch your head wondering where it is, under the surprise six inches.)

Now the talk is about Threat #11, arriving next Wednesday. So I should stock up the front porch with more firewood, and take care of a few other chores that are better done on a sunny day than midst heavy snow. Not that I’m pessimistic. Instead I’m working on my tan.

MARCH 8  —DMI AFTERNOON MAPS—

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

“Thretate” has appeared at the bottom of the map, heading along the new pattern of south-to-north, and ignoring the old pattern of west-to-east. A high-pressure ridge has built between this new gale and the Morphy family, and likely is cutting the flow of Atlantic air up into the Arctic Sea.  Watch how quickly the mild air that is already up there cools down, remembering the sun will not rise at the Pole for another 12 days.

The Siberia to Alaska cross-polar-flow looks weaker, but is persisting.

LOCAL VIEW —Front passes quietly—

A battle 151 satsfc (3)A battle 151 rad_nat_640x480

It was a lovely, mild day, with true thawing and temperatures nudging above 40, (+4 Celsius). I relaxed in the morning and loaded up the porch with firewood in the afternoon, and also got some excersize repairing the igloo over at the Childcare. It has been so cold this winter there has been little snow that was sticky enough to build with, and the igloo I managed to put together included some blocks of dry, packed snow I cut with flat-headed shovel. That dry snow just vanishes in the warmth, and the igloo looked a bit like swiss cheese, or like someone had used it for target practice with a bazooka.

I only meant to patch the holes, but got carried away and build a front entryway. I’ll be feeling the excersize  in the morning, I’ wager. I can’t seem to limit myself, when it comes to building forts for the kids.  However with the front passing all the sticky snow in the igloo will freeze like rock, and on Monday the kids will have a hideout.

There were hardly any clouds in the sky, but as the front came through there were some strong gusts of wind.  Now it is calm again, and I’m looking southwest along the front, watching rippled run along the front towards us. We won’t get off without a bit of snow tomorrow, I’ll bet.

MARCH 9  —DMI MORNING MAPS—

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

Look at “Thretate.” Now, that’s an Icelandic low!  I don’t think we’ve seen a low right over Iceland like that since Autumn.  As high pressure builds to the south, it looks like it will follow “Morphevenson” over the top of Scandinavia, keeping most of Scandinavia in winds from the east. The question then becomes will they get any of the mildness from the southwest that the British Isles seems likely to enjoy, or will they be on the borders and get cooler air from the northwest.

Over the rest of the Pole the weak Siberia-to-Canada-and-Alaska cross-polar-flow persists.  A difference between the Pacific and Atlantic ice extents is apparent.

THE PACIFIC VERSUS THE ATLANTIC

Here is an interesting extent map from Anthony Watts “Sea Ice Page” at:  http://wattsupwiththat.com/reference-pages/sea-ice-page/

While this map has a weakness, because it shows neither how thick nor how concentrated the ice is, it does have an orange line which shows you where the “average” edge of the ice is, at this date. This is very helpful in terms of seeing whether the growth and shrinkage of the ice is doing anything unusual. (The map may take a while to load, and double-clicking it gives a huge version, which you can then shrink by re-clicking it.)

Extent Mar 9 N_bm_extent

What is apparent this March is that the Atlantic side has less ice than normal, especially in the Barents Sea, while over in Bering Strait the Pacific side is normal. This seems indicative of the fact thast the PDO has shifted to its “cold phase” while the AMO remains in its “warm phase.”

Here is a map I lifted from Thomas E. Downs blog at WeatherBELL showing the warm and cold phases of the PDO.

PDO warm and cold phase pdo_phases (click to enlarge)

What you notice is that, while the ocean as a whole likely doesn’t average out much colder or warmer, the location of warmth and coldness changes.  It is fairly clear the water is colder in Bering Strait and along the arctic coasts of Canada and Alaska.  So it would only be natural for ice to increase and persist more, and perhaps even increase year-to-year, as the PDO shifts to “cold phase.”

The PDO goes through all sorts of wobbles, and even can briefly revert to a “warm phase” look during the “cold phase.”  The warm pool of water shifted closer to the coast of Alaska last summer which did create a few “warm phase” reactions, however also it fueled a ridge of high pressure which drove the cold down the center of North America all winter.

My sense is that, because the Pacific is so much larger than the Atlantic, it forces the Atlantic to respond, until eventually the AMO shifts into a “warm phase” which is more in balance with the Pacific.  However perhaps, when this balance is achieved, it is out of balance in another way, which tips the Pacific towards its “cold phase.”  (Rinse and repeat.)  The entire process takes roughly sixty years.

Currently we are at a point where the Atlantic is in the process of responding to the Pacific, and the interactions create a sort of sloshing in the atmosphere, with many more cross-polar surges than would occur if things were in balance. When things are in balance the flow could be more orderly and zonal.

The devil is in the details, but this is my sense of what we have been witnessing.

LOCAL VIEW  —Birdsong beginning—

The maps show that the ripples of low pressure along the front that passed yesterday are staying south of us, so far.  It is a clear, crisp and cold dawn, with temperatures in the low twenties, (-6 Celsius.)  Winds are from the northwest, and temperatures are dripping to the teens and even single digits across the border in Vermont, not all that far upwind.

A battle 152 satsfc (3)A battle 152 rad_nat_640x480

Yesterday felt like a heat wave, with temperatures up in the low forties, (+6 Celsius,) but in fact that is only an average high temperature for early March. The winter has been so cold that normal seems warm.

Besides me noticing the warmth, the winter birds noticed as well. Mostly they are small: Chickadees, titmice, juncos and goldfinches, with unspectacular peeping and trilling. They were silent during the sub-zero spell, but have decided its safe to come out now, and are filling the underbrush with their small music, so much more modest than the thrushes and warblers that will be arriving from the south. However there is nothing modest about the woodpeckers and sapsuckers, who have started drumming the trees.  (Once in a while one will decide the way to out-do a rival is to drum against a metallic surface such as a TV aerial, which can be downright annoying, but I heard none of that yesterday.)  There is something very stirring about the deep, hollow, thunder woodpeckers make, when you get several drumming against dead trees at intervals at various distances through the trees. It is definitely an announcement: “Things are going to be different around here.”

Woodpecker hairy_01

(Photo Credit: http://www.lookoutnow.com/feeder/hairy_01.htm)

MARCH 9 —DMI EVENING MAPS—

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

“Thretate” is breaking through the high pressure ridge separating it from the Morphy family of storms, but the surge of Atlantic mildness invading Scandinavia looks like it will head east rather than north.  The cross-polar-flow over the top of these lows seems to be closing the lid on Atlantic invasions for the time being.

Watch the temperatures over the Arctic Sea to see if they drop the next few days.

A SQUINT AT UK MET MAPS

UK Met Mar 9 FSXX00T_00

UK Met Mar 9B 12900996 (CLICK MAPS TO ENLARGE)

“Thretate” continues wallowing north, as “Thretine” appears in the lower left and seems likely to also follow the new pattern up towards Iceland, rather than clobbering the British Isles. A sort of wall of high pressure extends from Siberia to the Azores, shunting storms north, and even keeping the storm’s cold fronts from pushing far to the east.

However, as people in Dublin and London are suffering from post-traumatic-stress-syndrome, due to being punch-drunk after so many winter gales, some may have a deep need for some new hazard to worry about. (Sunshine makes them uneasy.) Therefore I would like to point out a potential fly-in-the-ointment, in the form of that weak low to the west of Spain. I don’t recall seeing that in the forecast models. Nothing much is likely to come of it, but it is small features such as that one which escape the notice of big computers, (flying-under-the-radar, as it were).

Therefore, if you really need the security blanket of having something to worry about, you can keep an eye on that low. Perhaps it will run up the front and give a sunny day a sprinkle of rain, and even a roll of thumping thunder.

LOCAL VIEW  —The trickster sun—

A battle 153 satsfc (3)A battle 153 rad_nat_640x480

These maps show a couple of interesting things.

First, they show the Great Lakes still can produce snow even when ice-covered, if circumstances are right.

Second, isobars show the north winds over me are turning to west winds, and a hint of the west winds even got into the final north winds, coming around the corner of the high pressure.

The analyst who drew this map, “Fanning,” was aware something was up, and drew the orange dashed line over us, and divided the high pressure into one over Virginia and one over western New York State. What isn’t so obvious is that the southern high is colder than the northern high, and the southern is from north winds and the northern is from west winds.  The west winds are kinder, and slightly less stable, though clouds are few; I can see the stars tonight, and the planet Jupiter shining beside the half moon. The lack of stability is weak, and is a sort of ghost-front, and only shown by the snow over the Great Lakes.  The change in air-masses is subtle, unless you happen to spend time in a place some modern people are unacquainted with, called “the outdoors.”

The clear boundary is Threat #10’s, much further to the south. (You would think a system named Thretten could live up to his name and threaten,  but the only threat is that low pressure left behind in the Gulf of Mexico, “Threttenson.”) However there was a clear boundary, felt by skin, between the truly arctic discharge of the north wind and the more benign air of the west wind. However thermometers didn’t show it. Why? Because the coldest air passed when the March sunshine was highest and brightest. Temperatures stayed fairly flat all day, but did rise slightly as the coldest air moved through, and then fell slightly as the milder air arrived as the sun sank low. In other words, skin registered something the thermometer missed.

(There is a whole essay worth writing, which I hope to get to work on, regarding the difference between being-out-in-the-weather and being-removed-from-reality, but that will have to wait. My focus now is how cold it felt despite the bright sun.)

As the core of the cold passed over, the morning March sun had the power to produce puddles on the street, though the thermometer in the shade stated it was still below freezing. The sun was sort of a trickster, producing a scene that looked warm though it wasn’t.

I can recall when, as a little boy, the brilliant face of the jolly March sun beamed in at me, filled me with boyish joy, and called me out like a best friend to run without reason in happy rays, that as soon as I stepped out the door the bitter air told me to pause, and perhaps wait until noon for more warming.

Now I’m wise, and the glare of the old, trickster sun cannot fool me…or does it? I check the thermometer and sagely stay in, but what did I see that made me check? (Some distant, bright glitter is calling from between the snow-swept trees like an old best friend from a lost time’s ease.)

They say that people who win the lottery often end up incredibly miserable, despite their good fortune.  Perhaps they are miserable because they can afford to stay indoors and removed-from-reality, and miss the contact with what is real.

MARCH 10  —DMI MORNING MAPS—

DMI Marc 10 pressure mslp_latest.bigDMI Mar 10 temp_latest.big (1)

COMMENT ON HIDDEN SONNETS

I hid a sonnet in last night’s purple prose.  Written in a more formal manner it would look like this:

I can recall when, as a little boy,
The brilliant face of the jolly March sun
Beamed in on me, filled me with boyish joy
And called me out like a best friend to run
Without reason in happy rays, that as soon
As I stepped out the door the bitter air
Told me to pause, and perhaps wait until noon
For more warming. Now I’m wise, and the glare
Of the old trickster sun cannot fool me…
Or does it? I check the thermometer
And sagely stay in, but what did I see
That made me check? Some distant, bright glitter
Is calling from between the snow-swept trees
Like an old best friend from a lost time’s ease.

Although I obey my own rules regarding rhythm, (and stricter poets might claim I abuse my iambs), I do obey a lot of constraining conventions, such as having ten syllables per line and a rhyme scheme of ABABCDCDEFEFGG.  Even as I obey all these restraints, I am suppose to make the result sound like ordinary speech, (albeit prose that is a bit purple.)  When I hide a sonnet in my ordinary prose it is to see how well I am doing. If I am doing well you shouldn’t know you are reading a sonnet, even as you do so.

In the same way, order is hidden in weather maps that seem very chaotic. In actual fact there is no such thing as chaos. When we think we see disorder, and call it “chaos,” it only demonstrates our incapacity to comprehend our Creator. Therefore it is sometimes better to stop frustrating our brains by trying to make sense of clouds that are far above our heads, and instead to sit back and enjoy the show.

LOCAL VIEW  —A dusting of snow—

I got a bit of a surprise this morning when I saw the blue daylight of dawn show light snow falling, and a radar map looking like this:

A battle 154 rad_ec_640x480_01

However the snow settled south and more or less evaporated in the strong March sunshine, and, though I had to rush off and sweep the walkways at the Childcare and spread sand, the situation now looks like this at noon:

A battle 154 satsfc (3)A battle 154 rad_nat_640x480

The snow was caused by those west winds I talked about last night moving milder air in. The only fronts they show are stationary, one down in the Carolinas and one up north of the Canadian border, but I figure that west wind deserves some sort of orange dashed line, considering I had to sweep it up, and also you can see the stream of clouds back all the way west to Nebraska.

However that is but a pettifogging detail, considering we now have a heavy snow watch for Wednesday onto Thursday.  I still have a hope the cold will come pressing back down from the north enough to push it all south of us, but I confess it is a slender hope.  It looks like our luck is about to run out.

I’ll post maps, but likely my comments will be brief. Besides making ready for the storm I have an essay brewing in the back of my mind, and likely will be working on that as well.

MAR 10  —DMI AFTERNOON MAPS—

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

UKMET MAP

UK Met Mar 10B 12926977  (CLICK TO ENLARGE)

Storm track continues north, well west of Ireland.

A battle 155 satsfc (3)A battle 155 rad_ne_640x480 (1)

I’m just going to pretend that light snow isn’t headed our way. Why spoil a good night’s sleep?

MARCH 11  —DMI MORNING MAPS—

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

“Thretine” is taking the new storm track up Denmark Strait, on the west side of Iceland, about as far from the old storm track as you can get, as western Europe experiences this odd thing they can hardly remember called “high pressure.”  “Thretate” has merged with the Morphy family of storms, and is churning east along the Siberian coast, giving northern Scandinavia some polar winds in its wake, but pushing the ice away from the Siberian coast of the Kara Sea and even the Laptev sea, as can be seen in this animation of sea-ice thickness: http://www7320.nrlssc.navy.mil/hycomARC/navo/arcticict_nowcast_anim30d.gif  This may reduce sea-ice extent and open a channel along the coast, while crunching up and thickening the ice towards the Pole.  The air blowing off shore will form new ice quickly, but it will be thin.

The air over the the Pole is cooling fairly quickly.

A GLANCE AT THE MORNING UK MET MAPS

UK Met Mar 11 12939617 (CLICK TO ENLARGE)

The people of Dublin and London must be looking about, blinking in disbelief and wondering if they are on the same planet as they were during the winter, as high pressure settles over them. The weak cold front that pushed east into the channel is stronger up in Scandinavia, where it is closer to the storm track.  It will be a battle to get the nice weather up there, especially to the east in Finland, as “Thretine’s” fronts will be closer as it passes north of Norway, however southern Scandinavia may get in on the glory days.

“Thretten”,  appearing to the lower left, will take the same path as “Thretine”, but a little further east, and as the lovely pattern starts to break down it’s fronts will start to nudge into Scotland by Friday as it stalls northwest of Norway, and a secondary forms northwest of Scotland.  Here is the forecast map for late Friday:

UK Met Mar 11 friday forecast 12943734

The above map is only a forecast, and reality may be different, but if I was in Ireland or England I’d make sure to get out and take long lunches during the week, for by the weekend it may be windier and showery.

LOCAL VIEW  —Forecast turns gloppy—

A battle 156 satsfc (3)A battle 156 rad_nat_640x480

Just before I went to sleep I glanced out the bedroom window, and saw snowflakes swirling around the streetlight by the street, as that small feature you can see departing northern Maine passed through. It didn’t keep me awake, as I got plenty of exercise moving firewood yesterday. I slept like a brick, and this morning I’m about as flexible as a brick, but refreshed.

All eyes are on Threat #11, now gathering strength out in Nebraska. Henseforth I’ll call it “Thretelve.” A lot depends on how far south the cold front of its parent-low rippling weakly to our north comes, and how quickly the arctic front further north is brought into play.  (A interesting factor is the weak “Thretenson” in the western Gulf of Mexico.  It may be able to tug the storm further south.)

Currently we still have a winter storm watch, but now the forecast includes rain and freezing rain at the heart of the storm, before it turns back to snow at the end.  That would be a mess, especially as all the slush would freeze to rock in the storm’s cold aftermath.

MARCH 11 —DMI AFTERNOON MAPS—

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

“Thretine” is much weaker north of Iceland, but isobars between it and strong high pressure to the south is shifting northwest winds over Scandinavia to the southwest.

The cross-polar-flow is weakening and starting to meander, as the air over the Pole gets colder.

UK MET MAP

UK Met Mar 11B 12951796 (CLICK TO ENLARGE)

All those fronts in the Atlantic will be swept north, and the beautiful weather will last, even getting into southern Scandinavia. Soak it up.  It doesn’t look so lovely in the long range, with a deep low pressure trough over Europe in ten days.

LOCAL VIEW  —False echoes—

A battle 157 satsfc (3)A battle 157 rad_nat_640x480

With the Analyst “King” drawing so many lows on the map, and the radar producing so many false echoes, I’m not even going to attempt to guess if we’ll get rain or snow. (My hunch is more snow than they now forecast, which is 1-3 inches.)

It’s been a beautiful day, with a warm sun and temperatures up to 51.  I’m just going to enjoy the sunburn. Let tomorrow bring what it will.

MARCH 12  —DMI MORNING MAPS—

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

“Thretine” is slightly stronger as it moves north of Norway towards the Morphy family of storms, retaining surprising strength in the Kara Sea.  Most of the Atlantic input of relative mildness is pumped south of these two storms, part of a larger flow of relatively mild air (only slightly below freezing) that holds sway over western Siberia and the western and central Russian steppes. There is a turn to much colder (below zero [F]) air to the south and east of the Morphy family, and Morphy is pulling that colder air north into the Arctic Sea. All in all the two storms are cooling the Pole more than warming it, at this point.

“Threten” is getting its act together west of Iceland in Denmark Strait, and looks likely to start out on the northern storm-track, but then veer more to the south, crashing into northern Scandinavia from the northwest.  “Thretelve,” which is effecting my neighborhood today, looks like it will scoot across the Atlantic even further to the south, passing over Iceland and then hitting more southern parts of Scandinavia, winding up in the Baltic next weekend. The southward progression of the storm-track suggests the Pole will be exporting air down into the north Atlantic, rather than the flow being up from the Atlantic to the Pole.

The cross-polar flow continues, but is weak. It curves around Greenland into Hudson Bay. Meanwhile a counter flow is developing from Alaska back to eastern Siberia, as a low in southern Alaska generates low pressure in the Bering Strait.  Between the two flows is a ridge of high pressure bisecting the Pole.

UK MET MAP

UK Met Mar 12 12965767  (Click to enlarge)

Looks like lovely weather for most of Europe today.

Low pressure is going to stop heading north of Norway, and start attacking down into Scandinavia. By Saturday a storm could be cutting southeast right where the high pressure is now located, and the high pressure will be nudged down to the Azores.  This Azores high could keep things pleasant in the south of the British Isles, even as the Scotland gets the front and edges of that storm passing to its north. The North Sea and Baltic Sea will become the battle-line between a counter-attack of winter, and sweet springtime over France.

LOCAL VIEW  —I burned the sap—

A battle 158 satsfc (3)A battle 158 rad_ne_640x480 (1)

It looks like the rain-snow line is setting up just north of me, and the storm will begin as rain. The trouble will start in the evening, as the cold presses south and the rain turns to snow.

However I burned the sap, so trouble has already started for me. Rather than delicous maple syrup, I have only charcoal to offer the children.  That will not go over well, nor will the way the pot looks go over well with my wife.  It is one of those mornings where I wish there was a rock I could go crawl under and hide like a worm.

LOCAL VIEW  —At noon—Nothing—(except aching joints)—

A battle 159 satsfc (3)A battle 159 rad_ec_640x480

I’ve been watching this storm rush towards us without enthusiasm. I’ve got better things to do than deal with snow. (Such as clean a burned pot.) When I’m rich, and can afford hiring some strong young fellow to do my work, my attitude may switch back to the way it was when I was younger, and relished storms.

The wind was light and from the north all morning, which suggests the cold air is sneaking south “under the radar.” The pressure was falling to 29.50 fairly swiftly. The clouds were high and from the west (and from the west-north-west at sunset yesterday). We even had a bit of milky sunshine this morning through thick high clouds. The clouds abruptly came up from the south, which gave me more hope of rain. However down here on earth the wind was still from the north.

Another hope is this storm might zoom by so fast it hasn’t the time to cloud us.  It isn’t the sort of storm that gets blocked and just sits off Cape Cod dumping on us.  Instead it is surging northeast at top speed. I think it has an appointment to be across the Atlantic and in the Baltic Sea by Saturday.

Fine with me. I’m promoted to chief pot scrubber for a while.

LOCAL VIEW  —Storm speeding past—6:00 and pressure down to 29.15

A battle 160 satsfc (3)A battle 160 rad_ne_640x480 (1)

Dry slot headed up our way. We could escape with little more than a dusting, if we are lucky. (Surprisingly, even the kids are starting to seem sick of the snow.)

MARCH 12 —AFTERNOON DMI MAPS—

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

Pole is colder. It has “reloaded.”

MARCH 13  —DMI MORNING MAPS—

DMI Mar 13 mslp_latest.bigDMI March 13 temp_latest.big (1)

LOCAL VIEW  —Just an inch—

A battle 161 satsfc (3)A battle 161 rad_ec_640x480

Barometer 29.15 and rising, with light snow. Time to go clean the walkways at the childcare.

LOCAL VIEW  —Lunchtime Report—2 inches in snow squalls—

A battle 162 satsfc (3)A battle 162 rad_ne_640x480 (1)

Temperatures were around 20 when I got to work, but had dropped to 13 by 9:30 AM. There is a roaring wind and drifting snow, and squalls that often don’t show up on the weather radar. They must be low scud having its moisture squeezed out by the cold.  We have actually had more snow after the storm than during the storm.

The good side of the cold is that it will slow the run-off and keep the streams and rivers at a lower level. There is an amazing amount of water stored in our foot of snow cover.

MARCH 13 —DMI AFTERNOON MAPS—

DMI Mar 13B mslp_latest.bigDMI Mar 13B temp_latest.big (1)

“Morphy” is stalled and weakening on the Siberian coast in the Kara Sea, however its east-side winds pushed ice away from the shores of both the Kara Sea and the Eastern Laptev Sea. This exposed warer swiftly freezes over, but may lead to a swift ice-melt this spring in coastal areas, and slower ice-melt further off shore, where the ice piled up.

“Threten” has restrengthened and is diving towards the northwest coast of Norway, sucking some Atlantic air up the Norwegian coast, however this air for the most part seems likely to get wrapped around and will wind up wound-up occusions, rather than invading the Pole, which continues to get colder.

“Thretelve” is just appearing at the southern tip of Greenland.

UK MET MAPS

UK Met Mar 13 FSXX00T_00UK Met Mar 13B 13004741  (Click maps to enlarge)

Even as these maps show “Threten” bombing out off Norway, they show the high over Europe is so strong it keeps the cold front from penetrating farther south than the top of Scotland. This high pressure will sag south slightly as “Thretelve,” south of Greenland, rushes across the Atlantic and into the Baltic Sea on Saturday. Not even it, on a more southerly track, will be able to drive fronts far south.  Scandinavia will get all the weather, as most of the rest of Europe gets a sunny spell. Enjoy it while it lasts.  “Thretelvis,” who has given me a wild day over on this side of the Pond, is just appearing as warm fronts to the lower left, and it is likely to nudge the kindly high pressure a bit further south.

LOCAL VIEW  —Purple hands, purple nose, and purple prose—

A battle 163 satsfc (3)A battle 163 rad_nat_640x480

At the top right corner is “Thretelve” is rushing off to a date with Denmark on Saturday, and below it is the storm that gave us a better backlash than front-lash, which should be called “Thretelveson” but I’ve decided to call “Thretelvis,” because it made things sway.

Yesterday was so mild that even the packed paths in the snow got soggy, and each step plunged down knee deep, and just walking fifty yards up a hill to get a sap bucket was exhausting, and left me leaning against the tree catching my breath. This morning was so cold I walked right along the top of the same snow, but found new things to gripe about, due to a wind that blew snow in your eyes like a sandstorm and sometimes tried to butt you off your feet.

The kids at the Childcare did go out, likely because it looked wonderful out the window, and they clamored to go out, but once they were out they were clamoring to go back in, and wound up spending most of the day indoors. I would have stayed in, but had to make amends for burning the sap, though the trees swiftly stopped producing any sap when temperatures dropped to the teens. All in all I only gleaned about two gallons, which will make perhaps a cup of syrup for sugar-on-snow.  I said the heck with boiling it outside, which I usually do to avoid steaming up the house and making the ceiling sticky. The air was so dry I decided the house could use the humidity.  So I did manage to stay indoors more, but not entirely, and the time I was outside was murder.

I’ve confessed I’m no longer fond of winter, but when it gets really extreme the embers of my old heart get stirred, and even though I hardly curse at all any more, in ordinary circumstances, in the most vicious winds colorful curses spring to my purple lips. A veritable rainbow of blasphemy can pass through my mind, even if the children are about and I don’t speak. In the end the rainbow turns purple, as the best outlet for extremities upon extremities is purple prose. And purple prose is more satisfying than just cursing, in the same way that singing the blues is more fulfilling than cursing, when your love-life drives you to drink.

Therefore I suppose I should be thankful for awful weather. They say, “you’ve got to pay the dues if your going to play the blues,” and therefore the sandblasting wind was dues I was paying, for poetry.  And I must say it did approach some different level of consciousness at times, when the gusts made me stagger, and my life passed before my eyes. But my more pragmatic side just wanted to get out of the outside, knowing this cruel day is better seen through a pane than walked through.

The pain the wind blew, (nails and needles,) threw spears, drew tears, grew the mane of a wild white horse tossing flared contrails from mad nostrils, mad eyes and mad white teeth biting, wheeling, kicking, whirling, sinking, settling to just snow seething flat beneath slacked wind between surf roars in pines winking harsh light, swaying thick trunks, brandishing boughs like shaken fists, all lion-voiced but then howling up to a scream, as white swirling stings the distance pale, ’til it’s haze-hidden and I stagger inside.

Here I’ll remain, for this cruel day is best seen through a pane by a warm stove.  I watch the snow’s hard crust be polished to a glare by whistling powder’s drifting ripples.

Bending crows with their thrust, making all small birds hide from their powers, the winds roar onward, scoop falcon zephyrs towards uncertain dooms as the sun burns brass low between corridor shadows the firs and pines sway across a glossy canvass made of polished snow.

Brassy is the glare of of the snow and the sky and the sunk sun, and brassy is the taste of grim despair ending a day I wish hadn’t begun, though I must see it through, although I rue confessing this cruel day is best seen through a window made of art gallery frames, painted by an artist who knows the view for he once walked within the canvas creation I’m staggered by.

(OK. Enough of that purple profundity. Can you spot the hidden sonnet?)

MARCH 14  —DMI MORNING MAPS—

DMI Mar 14 mslp_latest.bigDMI Mar 14 temp_latest.big (1)

“Threten” is stalled off the northwest coast of Norway, bringing strong east winds across Scandinavia and likely a lot of sea-ice south through Fram Strait.

Milder Pacific air is working towards the Pole across Alaska, though the Pole as a whole continues cold, nearly down to “normal.”

LOCAL VIEW  —Cold’s core out to sea; warm-up ahead—

A battle 164 satsfc (3) A battle 164 rad_nat_640x480

The worst cold passed during the daylight yesterday. Last night was not as cold as I expected, with the snow-cover fresh, as the winds didn’t slacken until dawn.  Winds slackened earlier to our west, and in the Connecticut River valley at the Vermont border they set some records with sub-zero readings, but most places around here were down around 10 (F).

Now the March sunshine is brilliant, and the map shows a nice southwest flow behind the arctic high, and the radar shows dryness.  I’m dubbing that low over the Great Lakes, (Threat #14,) “Marchair.”  I’ll hopefully explain my reasons later, but now I have to hurry over to the Childcare and hopefully redeem myself by treating the kids to a little maple sugar on snow. (My name has been mud, since I burned the sap earlier in the week.)

March 14 — DMI AFTERNOON MAPS—

DMI Mar 14B mslp_latest.bigDMI Mar 14B temp_latest.big (1)

UK Met Maps  —March 14 and 15—

UK Met Mar 14 FSXX00T_00UK Met Mar 14B 13030969UK Met Mar 15 13045649 (Click maps to enlarge)

“Thretelve” has rippled across the Atlantic into the Baltic as expected, but the kindly high pressure is fighting back and pushing its fronts back north, and even keeping “Thetelvis” bottled up back in Baffin Bay.  However this apparently is a last hurrah, as the kindly high will be flattened, and squeezed east by a reversal in the upper air flow.

This reversal can be seen in two of Dr. Ryan Maue’s maps from his WeatherBELL site,  the first showing the current situation, with the lovely upper air ridge over the British Isles, and a trough back over North America. The trough flattens out as it presses up and over the high, and then digs down to give us the second map, which forecasts a trough over the British Isles five days from now. (These maps show the 500 mb level.)

CURRENT MAP  UK Met Mar 15 gfs_z500_sig_natl_1

120 HOUR MAP UK Met Mar 15 gfs_z500_sig_natl_21 

This should be an interesting reversal to watch.  Care to make a guess at what sort of surface features such an upper air map will produce? (Double click the Maue maps to fully enlarge them.)

MARCH 15  —DMI Morning Maps—

DMI Mar 15 mslp_latest.bigDMI Mar 15 temp_latest.big (1)

“Threten” continues to occlude and be flattened northwest of Norway, even as some of its energy is kicked east into coastal Siberia, to be joined by “Thretelve” rushing through the Baltic. While sea-ice is still likely being flushed through Fram Strait, it is interesting that once again Iceland enjoys high pressure, and the isobars between Iceland and Norway suggest winds that are not helping the Gulf Stream warmth get north.

An interesting feature in this map involves the milder isotherms curving around Morphy, as Morphy is reinforced by a low coming up from the Steppes to the south.  Even a month ago south winds from Siberia would supply the coldest air, however the situation over Siberia is changing, as the days lengthen. Siberia is no longer the icebox it was, as the days soon will be longer than the nights.  While the sun is still low, and there are still some patches of sub-zero (-17 Celsius) air, we are transitioning into a time when south winds from Siberia will be warm.

It looks like the addition of the low from the south and Thretelve charging past the Baltic will make Morphy part of a general pool of low pressure bulging towards the Pole, recreating the Siberia-to-Canada cross-polar-flow.  Likely this this will be the last truly arctic blast delivered south into North America,  as conditions change in the source regions due the wonders of sunshine.

LOCAL VIEW  —Whiplash weather—

A battle 165 satsfc (3)A battle 165 rad_ne_640x480 (1)

It is above freezing this morning, with rain pattering lightly on the roof.  We are in the warm sector of “Marchair,” passing to our north. When its cold front, now over the Great lakes, swings by this evening temperatures will crash, and tomorrow morning it will be 15, just as it was 10 yesterday morning after being mild the morning before.

You get a sort of whiplash if you allow your heart to surge with hope with each mild hint of spring.  You know it will be crushed by following cold, but you are made manic by the sunbeams just the same. It is so illogical I think the logical must be biological.

Yesterday I redeemed myself by serving the children at the Childcare sugar-on-snow.  In the process I demonstrated that after you burn the sap life isn’t over. Just because you may feel like a worm is no reason to behave like a worm. You pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and start scrubbing the pots. When the pots are clean you start all over again, and wind up snatching success from the jaws of defeat, and also licking your lips, because the result tastes so good.

I salvaged some humor, (though I did not feel the sap-burning situation was funny at the time,) by showing the children how I behaved when I discovered I had left the outdoors burner on and burned the sap to a crisp.  I acted it out, stomping around kicking the snow and raging at the sky, and the kids found that was very funny, especially when I said, “How could I have been so stupid!” and slapped my forehead, continuing  “Dumb-dumb-dumb, duh-duh-duh, stooooopid!”  Then they looked very interested when I stopped, put my hands on my hips, and said, “There must be someone else I can blame for this. Who can I blame?”

The children looked thoughtful, and then one suggested, “The goats?”

I put on an enlightened and hopeful face, nodding, but then pretended doubt crept in, and finally concluded I couldn’t blame the goats as they were in the stable.  So we considered other options.  The dog? No, it was back at the other house.  The rabbit? The chickens? The rooster? Nope, they were caged. Then I allowed a eureka to escape my lips, raised an index finger, and said, “I’ve got it! I’ll blame you guys!”

The children did not think this was a very good idea. I said it probably wasn’t, because they had all gone home when I burned the sap, however I could always say that it didn’t matter if they weren’t around, because I burned the sap because they had driven me, (and here I dramatically paused, took a deep breath, and then waved my hands, bulged my eyes, made my voice shaky and high, and uttered the word) “crazy” (in a long, wailing, and drawn out manner.)

They all looked at me in delighted horror, and then one said, “Do it again!”

After “doing-it-again” around ten times, I got down to scrubbing the pots, conceding, as I did so, that I had no one to blame but myself, and that the thing to do, when you make a mistake, is to fix it.

I would like to be able to say I had this all planned out beforehand, and that I burned the sap on purpose, to demonstrate to small children how to handle emotions and how to recover from a debacle. However the entire thing was an example of flying by the seat of my pants. In actual fact, when I actually have a plan, more than half the time children swiftly make my “curriculum” mincemeat. They live in a world of spontaneity and appreciate spontaneous responses.

In order to be spontaneous, and not have the result be ruin, you need to be able to trust yourself, and to be fairly certain you are not prompted by subconscious demons, and this involves years of the trial-and-error called “life.” It is important to have elders who give you guidelines to go by, but the actual learning can be done by none but yourself, and there are times you feel very alone. You are never actually alone, because God is everywhere, but you sure can feel alone. However if you persist you can arrive at a point where spontaneity is something you can trust.

This is not to say it ever gets easy. Even at age sixty-one there are times the hardest thing to do is to get out of bed, especially when I’ve disappointed a bunch of small children by burning the sap.

LOCAL VIEW  —Hidden sonnets revealed—

A battle 166 satsfc (3)A battle 166 rad_nat_640x480

There’s plenty to worry about on this map, if one is so inclined, but I have been seduced by a beautiful day, and am not inclined.  Or, I should say, I am not currently inclining, though I have been in a lazy mood, and did incline a bit after lunch.

The rain rolled away early, and the sky cleared to a kindly blue with the sun wonderfully warm. I couldn’t do the weekly deposit at my desk, and did it sitting on the front porch in the sun. Of course, when I arrived at the bank a check was missing, but after a brief panic I found it behind the woodpile, where a stray breeze had blown it, and when I returned to the bank I was in a better mood than ever.  A brief panic is a sort of tonic to your system, I suppose, providing all works out well. Also it enhanced my reputation, at the bank, as a dreamy airhead and mad poet.

Speaking of poetry, I should give the solutions to the hidden sonnet parts of prior posts.

I cheated in the March 13th post, because I changed the punctuation in order to hide the sonnets. I say sonnets because there were two. It was what I call a sonnet-duo, [which is pronounced as if it was one word, (perhaps Italian?) “Sonneduo.”]  It went like this:

THE SEEN-THROUGH SONNET DUO
 
This cruel day is better seen through a pane
Than walked through. The pain the wind blew, (nails
And needles,) threw spears, drew tears, grew the mane
Of a wild white horse tossing flared contrails
From mad nostrils, mad eyes and mad white teeth
Biting, wheeling, kicking, whirling, sinking,
Settling to just snow seething flat beneath
Slacked wind between surf roars in pines winking
Harsh light, swaying thick trunks, brandishing
Boughs like shaken fists, all lion-voiced but then
Howling up to a scream, as white swirling
Stings the distance pale, ’til it’s haze-hidden
And I stagger inside. Here I’ll remain,
For this cruel day is best seen through a pane.
 
By a warm stove I watch the snow’s hard crust
Be polished to a glare by whistling powder’s
Drifting ripples. Bending crows with their thrust,
Making all small birds hide from their powers,
The winds roar onward, scoop falcon zephyrs
Towards uncertain dooms as the sun burns brass
Low between corridor shadows the firs
And pines sway across a glossy canvass
Made of polished snow. Brassy is the glare
Of the snow and the sky and the sunk sun,
And brassy is the taste of grim despair
Ending a day I wish hadn’t begun,
Though I must see it through, although I rue
Confessing this cruel day is best seen through.

I also hid a sonnet in my last post, on March 6, above the picture of the Cardinal

THE CARDINAL SONNET
 
The east blushes blue. A cardinal tweets,
Insanely loud in the subzero hush.
Jaunty red plumage black against dawn, he greets
Winter’s conquest with counter-claims, a rush
Of twitters, and then, “Tweet! Tweet! Tweet!” he yells:
A winced headache to all with hangovers
And a plague to sleep. “Tweet! Tweet!” It compels
Curses from virgin lips; even pushovers
Push back against the madness of claiming
A white waste of tundra for a dull spouse
Who likely thinks he’s mad, and is shaming
Him by basking in Florida.  What house
Can he claim for her when the odds are so low?
”Tweet! Tweet!” screams the cardinal at seven below.

That will end my poetry for a while, for I must embark upon one of the most un-poetic voyages there is: Doing my taxes.  Not that I won’t be driven to write some spiteful doggerel.  It drives me half mad that I have to be responsible, and then the imbeciles in Washington take my money and are incredibly irresponsible with it.

But I’m not going to let it get to me, No, No, No.  This year will be different. I’m going to keep my cool and pretend it is a sort of crossword puzzle I’m doing while reading the paper, for my own pleasure, on a cozy Sunday afternoon.

It likely will get my brains working in a more down-to-earth wave-length, and then, after the taxes are done, I plan to use those pragmatic brain-cells to reorganize this blog-site.

That is another effect of spring sunshine. It makes you ambitious, even if you’re old enough to know better.

MARCH 15  —DMI AFTERNOON MAPS—

DMI Mar 15B mslp_latest.bigDMI Mar 15B temp_latest.big (1)

MARCH 16  —DMI MORNING MAPS—

DMI Mar 16 mslp_latest.bigDMI Mar 16 temp_latest.big (1)

“Threten” remains as a general area of low pressure northwest of Norway, as what remains of “Thetelvis” moves over Iceland to join it, creating the sort of confused web of occlusions that makes forecasting in the North Atlantic more changing than areas further south.

“Thetelve” has moved beyond the Baltic and is east of Finland, moving towards a rejuvinated “Morphy.”  As these two lows swing around each other, (performing an arctic version of the Fujiwara effect,) they will create a situation where high pressure is on the Canadian side and low pressure on the Siberian side of the Pole. This may flush some ice towards the Atlantic and create a false peak in the arctic sea-ice extent.  (False because it is not due to freezing as much as it is due to flushing.)

UK MET MAP

UK Met Mar 16 13067783 (click to enlarge)

The kindly high pressure is hanging tough, southwest of Ireland, but the squeeze has begun, and a strong westerly flow is developing across northern Europe, as “Threteven ” moves away east of Finland.  It looks like an east-west front, with ripples on it, will divide that westerly flow into polar air over Scandinavia and northern Germany, and milder air from the kindly high and the Azores to the south.  At this point the front is expected to sag south as the kindly high retreats, without any major storms appearing, however that only looks forward five days.  My antennae are twitching, sensing something is brewing.

The low in the lower left is not “Marchair,” which is just off the map. I think it is a secondary or tertiary storm on what is left of Thretelve’s cold front. I’ll dub it “Thretersh”. It is expected to stall where it is, and then be kicked ahead by Marchair, arriving over northern Scotland as a weak, dissolving occlusion-spiral on Tuesday, and drifting on in the westerly flow to the Baltic by Wedensday.  Meanwhile, rather than turning into a big gale, it seems Marchair will rest content to flatten into a bunch of ripples in a strong westerly flow.

The north Atlantic is so prone to brew up big gales that it seems downright odd, especially in March, to have the flow be so flat.

LOCAL VIEW   —Bastardi baffled—(Me too)—

A battle 167 satsfc (3)A battle 167 rad_nat_640x480

This sure looks like the set-up for a storm to me: A big cold high pressure to the north and lots of juice to the south.  However rather than brewing anything up it seems the moisture will side meekly out to sea, well to my south.  When I went looking for an explanation I noted Joe Bastardi at WeatherBELL, who I respect for his genius and honesty, stated he too was “stumped” by the behavior of this pattern.

Not that I’m complaining.  I’m glad I don’t have to shovel and trudge around behind the snow-blower, though in actual fact I’d prefer doing that to doing my taxes.

MARCH 16  —DMI AFTERNOON MAPS—

DMI Mar 16B mslp_latest.bigDMI Mar 16B temp_latest.big (1)

I’m going to call that combination of lows netween Iceland and Norway “Elvis.” It is  blocking Atlantic air from getting into the Arctic, and instead strong westerlies are swooshing that air across Europe,  North of there a lobe of high pressure is poking down over Svalbard, and had stopped the flow of ice through Fram Strait.  It also is delivering north winds into northern Scandinavia, but interestingly those north winds are not especially cold, at this point.  The air over the Barents, Kara and Laptev Seas is actually relatively mild, despite the fact no Atlantic invasion is going on, and despite the fact “Morphy” is sucking air up from Siberia.  Siberia simply lacks the punch it once had.

However the Pole still has power, as the twilight hasn’t been broken by the sun. The minus-thirty air swirling around it is some of the coldest air we’ve seen up there this winter, and the cold is building at a time the DMI graph shows temperatures usually begin to rise.

DMI Mar 16B meanT_2014 (click graph to enlarge)

MARCH 17  —DMI MORNING MAPS—

DMI Mar 17 mslp_latest.bigDMI Mar 17 temp_latest.big (1)

UK MET  MAP

UK Met Mar 17 13092956

The kindly high has fought back and reclaimed Scotland and denmarp from the polar flow.  A last hurrah?

LOCAL VIEW  —Another frigid morning—

A battle 168 satsfc (3)A battle 168 rad_nat_640x480

8 Degrees to start the day. ( -13 Celsius) Typical Monday gloom. Grey overcast from a storm down over Washington DC.  Good. Maybe it will slow their spending a little.

It cleared up later but stayed cold. The snow just fades away in the bright sunshine, seeming to evaporate more than melt. It was odd to think that on Saint Patricks Day two years ago it was eighty degrees (27 Celsius) and the soil was thawed enough to plant some peas.  We still have eight inches of snow and enough ice on the rivers to worry about ice jams.

MARCH 17  —DMI AFTERNOON MAPS—

DMI Mar 17B mslp_latest.bigDMI Mar 17B temp_latest.big (1)

OCTOBER 18  —DMI MORNING MAPS—

DMI Mar 18 mslp_latest.bigDMI Mar 18 temp_latest.big (1)

“Morphy” continues to whirl, though weakening, over Barents Sea, bringing air up from Siberia over the Pole. Ordinarily this would be cold air, even with the sun now up on the Siberian coast, however central Siberia is enjoying a balmy spell with temperatures up near freezing, which is twenty degrees above normal. The real arctic cold has been displaced down into Canada, (which is a bit annoying for me, as I’ve had enough of winter.)

Because the air moving up over the Pole from Siberia has a source region down in the steppes around the Caspian, it is much drier than Atlantic air, and cools swiftly.  This may raise the “relative humidity” but doesn’t raise the amount of “precipitable water” in the air, and reduces the chance for any snow, and even reduces the amount of latent heat turned into available heat.  It is worth thinking about the differences this sort of air mass has, compared to an Atlantic one.

The Fram-Strait-flushing has resumed, with winds turning north there.

UK MET MAP  —The kindly high retreats—

UK Met Mar 18 13118132 (Click map to enlarge)

The kindly high is now west of Spain, and the gnawing of the colder Atlantic westerlies are chewing its edges southward. “Thretersh” has been booted ahead towards Scotland, as Marchair hangs back as a Labrador Low.  Europe is basically in a westerly flow, with colder Atlantic air to the north and milder air from the Azores to the south.

The kindly high is forecast to stage a final counter attack, but in effect will be caught up in the flow and move as a kindly blob into southern France, where its west-side warm winds will combine with “Marchair’s” east-side warm winds to bring a final surge of warmth north, though it will likely be spoiled by the strength of the wind and showers. Then we will watch to see if Marchair settles southeast as a final example of the Icelandic Low becoming the Britannic Low, before we can leave the wet winter in the past.

The recent flow of mild air into Europe rather than up to the Pole extended east into the Steppes and up to Siberia, where Siberians were likely overjoyed to see the intense cold break.  (The cold was all shipped across the Pole to freeze the socks off people in North America.) The departures from normal are now impressive.  If you want to get silly about proof of end-of-the-world Global Warming, it is best you ignore North America, and focus on Siberia. To help you find misery in the joy of Siberians, I’ll include a Dr. Ryan Maue WeatherBELL map showing the temperature anomalies over Asia, which makes the mildness over Siberia clear. (Remember, the map shows anomalies, not temperatures.  The highest anomalies still represent temperatures at freezing.)

UK Met Mar 18 gfs_t2m_anomf_asia_1 (Double click to fully enlarge)

LOCAL VIEW  —THE COLD HANGS ON—

A battle 169 satsfc (3)A battle 169 rad_nat_640x480

It was 6 degrees (-14 Celsius) when I drove the kids to kindergarten at 8:20 Am, after the sun had been up over an hour. This is getting ridiculous. However the snow is actually shrinking, sublimating into thin air in brilliant sunshine. Only in the most protected places is the sun able to produce actual puddles, which freeze as the sun sinks in the late afternoon. There are none of the melt-water rivulets that engrossed me as a boy, and got me in trouble because I could never manage to walk home from school without getting my school clothes muddy.

I’m going to be busy with an essay for a while.

MARCH 18 —DMI AFTERNOON MAPS—

DMI Mar 18B mslp_latest.bigDMI Mar 18B temp_latest.big (1)

MARCH 19 —DMI MORNING MAPS—

DMI Mar 19 mslp_latest.bigDMI Mar 19 temp_latest.big (1)

We have to start paying to how daylight effects temperatures now. Roughly speaking, the bottom half of these maps are in night as the top half is in day. This will be reversed in the afternoon map.  Watch to see how much colder the upper half is at night.

Morphy continues to fade. I feel like fading a bit, myself.

UK MET MAP

UK Met Mar 19 13143028 CLICK TO ENLARGE

The kindly high is losing a fight with “Marchair” but some nice weather is nudging into France. That high pressure will be swept by the westerlies to the Black Sea by Friday, as Marchair stands victorious over the Atlantic and shifts the winds to the south over western Europe, but they will be cooler south winds, with a polar source region rather than coming from the Azores.

MARCH 19   —DMI AFTERNOON MAPS—

DMI Mar 19B mslp_latest.bigDMI Mar 19B temp_latest.big (1)

LOCAL VIEW   —Warm front approaching; wet snow falling—

A battle 170 satsfc (3)A battle 170 rad_ne_640x480 (1)

I was up until 1:30 last night writing an essay, and now I’m paying the price. When I get a bee in my bonnet I just can’t rest until it is out and on the page.  It is great fun, but the next day I suffer a sort of hang-over, and the work looks like garbage.  But I’ll get over it.

It was clear at sunrise, and up to 16 degrees (-9 Celsius) which seemed warm, after what we’ve been through. By 9:00 AM  it was clouding up, as a warm front pushed towards us, and sleet began in the late afternoon, which has now changed to wet snow.  That is the price you pay for milder weather: Snow.

There is a lot of talk about another arctic blast coming on  Sunday night, and lasting well into next week.  People are definitely starting to grumble about the unrelenting cold.

MARCH 19 —DMI MORNING MAPS—Sunrise at the North Pole—

DMI Mar 20 mslp_latest.bigDMI Mar 20 temp_latest.big (1)

The sun is rising at the North Pole, and it won’t set until September. It will take a while to warm enough for the ice to start melting, so the next 30 days or so will represent a window of opportunity. It will be light enough to see, and the ice will be hard enough to walk on without having to deal with slush or melt-water pools. My best wishes and prayer go to the fellows who head up that way now, and risk meetings with 1600 pound bears to set up the arrays of intruments I enjoy so much.

The map shows that even as Morph fades reinforcements are arriving from the south, while down in the Atlantic Marchair is gathering stray storms into a sizable entity.  Low pressure is staying to the Eurasian side, while high pressure owns the Canadian side, which will speed the Transpolar Drift and the exit of ice through Fram Strait. The open water northeast of Svalbard has closed up as the ice shifts, increasing the “extent” of the ice.

The isotherm maps now clearly shows the diurnal rise and fall of temperature, as noon swings around this map like the hand of a clock.

LOCAL VIEW   —A tale of two seasons—

A battle 171 satsfc (3)A battle 171 rad_ne_640x480 (1)

A battle 172 satsfc (3)A battle 172 rad_ne_640x480 (1)

Spring came in a little after noon, but the change in mood came around 8:30 AM, when the sun popped out after a gloomy dawn greeted all with a solid inch of heavy slush to plod through, remove from windshields, and shovel from walkways when you had to, though many opted to ignore it and hope it would melt away.

I couldn’t get around shoveling the walkway of the entrance and the steep part of the Childcare entrance, and the slop weighed a ton, putting me in a sour mood. As I drove the kids to kindergarten I saw faces through windshields of on coming caes, and everyone looked in the mood to bite the heads off nails. Then the sun poked through. The transformation on the faces in oncoming cars was amazing and instantaneous. Everyone was smiling, car after car. It would have been laughable, if it wasn’t also strangely touching.

MARCH 20   —DMI AFTERNOON MAPS—

DMI Mar 20B mslp_latest.bigDMI Mar 20B temp_latest.big (1)

The reinforcements have arrived, and rather than fading away “Morphy” has a second life. I likely should call it “Morphy2,” but can’t be bothered. It is created because the warm air drawn north from the Steppes is unusually warm, and lashing with polar air typically cold, so of course this brew up a storm.

“Marchair” is over Iceland, an actual Icelandic Low, which has been rare this past winter.

I am curious about the switch from Siberia being a land that generates cold, to Siberia being a land that generates heat. I think that is the only reason I’ll continue these posts, for March Madness has me in its sway. There are other things I am much more interested in.

UK MET MAPS

UK Met Mar 20 FSXX00T_00UK Met Mar 20B 13182445 CLICK MAPS TO ENLARGE

The kindly high has been defeated, and a final gasp is kind to France in the first map, and kind to Greece in the second, as the low “Marchair” triumphs over western Europe, though he is hanging back over Iceland. This is a fine example of a strong westerly flow becoming a strong southerly flow.

In the same manner I sense winds are changing in the USA. They are changing in a way making me profoundly uneasy.  They are political winds, and therefore the focus of this blog upon beautiful clouds and weather patterns may be forced back down to earth.

I hope I am wrong, which is unusual in a fellow who likes to forecast correctly.

LOCAL VIEW  —THE FRAUD OF WARMING—

A battle 173 satsfc (3)A battle 173 rad_ne_640x480 (1)

The maps show the low that passed north of us and its coastal sidekicj (which I dub “Springer and Springerson” ) now have me in a colder northwest flow. We got a bit of their warm sector today, which was lovely as temperatures were actually up to normal, and slush was thawing, but now snowflakes are whirling again around the streetlight  at the foot of the drive.  Worse, much colder air is coming south from Canada, and even though this air is way up in the top center of the above map, I expect it will give us a snow event as it plunges south.  That nest of lows out by Montana will scoot along the front trailing from Hudson Bay, and, because they will kill the spring, I’ll dub them “Sprinkle.”

I’ll try to keep up my posts about local events, however this blog is likely to see a change, due to a government map which just came out which states the past winter, which I have attempted to portray in colorful detail on this site, was a near-normal-winter.

This makes it apparent to me my government is deranged.  Who in their right mind could call the past winter, “near normal?”  If you who visit this blog have been watching with any sort of care, you know this is a hard winter. For crying out loud!  The ice on my farm pond is not melting away atthe advent of spring; it is between two and three feet thick!

It is quite obvious the government doesn’t care a hoot about me or my “colorful details.”   If they did, they couldn’t make such ignorant proclamations,   The fact they ignore all evidence in favor of some unspoken agenda is causing me to face issues much less lovely than “colorful details.”

I hope you will forgive me if this blog becomes less colorful, because the thing I seem to see staring me in the face is written in black and white.

Hopefully this is only a case of March Madness, but I do feel like I’m stepping ahead into a taxing time.

END OF POST  — this series of posts will be continued at: https://sunriseswansong.wordpress.com/2014/03/21/arctic-sea-ice-maximum-a-taxing-time/