This post will simply be a presentation of the Danish Meteorological Institutes arctic maps, with the most recent at the the top. I find that simply by scanning the maps one is able to create a sort of mental animation of what is occurring at the Pole, in terms of temperatures and weather.
During the winter one is wise to keep an eye cocked to the north, and to be aware when the arctic is discharging in your direction. As a very general rule, when the Pole is importing air to your north you are more liable to get a thaw, and when it is exporting air to your north you are more liable to get a freeze.
There are of course subtleties that make that rule look foolish. Part of the fun is noting what can divert the cold air, or retard it. However one thing I have noted is that as soon as the air starts to bulge south to your north, when the actual arctic air is still thousands of miles away, there can be a change in your local weather. I haven’t a clue why it happens; perhaps it is like the skin on one side of a balloon expanding when you compress the opposite side.
The corriallis forse can curve the cold air from a north-to-south vector to an east-west-vector, or a lifting gale can sweep an entire air mass that was headed your way to the east. Also lighter winds can have the air-mass slow and pause and build over the snow covered tundra, with the chill at its center increasingly cold and ominous, before it charges down to get you, or is inhaled back north by the Pole.
Until they freeze over, any body of open water will have a warming effect on an air mass, but as the winter passes and lakes and Bays and seas freeze over the north is increasingly able to generate cold, (or to lose heat.) This ability tends to peak in early February, but still occurs after the sun first peeks over the polar horizon in late March. Temperatures well below the freezing point of salt water persist through April, and the actual thaw never begins before late May.
I like the DMI maps because they are simple, but it is important to remember winds do not always obey isobars. Once in a while it pays to check out more detailed arctic maps, especially in the case of an arctic snow. The best maps can be had for the price of a cup of coffee each day at the http://www.weatherbell.com/ “premium site.” Dr. Ryan Maue produces maps that show the runs of various modles in 3 hour increments, and if you look at the “initial” map you can get an idea of where the winds are strong and where they are aiming.
Also, of you are in a hurry and don’t mind maps that often mislabel highs as lows and lows as highs, you can check out http://www.weather-forecast.com/maps/Arctic?over=pressure_arrows&symbols=none&type=wind.
It is important to watch Siberia, as it creates the coldest air in the dead of winter. I get nervous when that air becomes a “cross-polar-flow” heading my way.
I am just going to post the maps here. I no longer have the time or energy to name storms and marvel over their doings. Hopefully I’ll find time to post every week or two about that the Pole is doing, but it won’t be in this post. This post will simply archive maps, and allow one to observe. (I will continue to observe, even if it is in silence.)
Once again, the most recent maps will be on the top, and the oldest maps on the bottom.
(ONE DAY GAP)
(FIFTEEN DAY GAP)