A SVALBARD THAW

The high pressure that was lingering over the Pole, and making things look a little like a textbook “Polar Cell” (which in theory would be like a Hadley Cell or Ferrel Cell), is sagging south over Siberia, and debunking theory once again.  It is putting me in the mood to pick up my textbook and set it sailing like a Frisbee out the window.

DMI2 1026 mslp_latest.big

The departure of the high pressure is allowing the North Atlantic gale to surge milder air north over Scandinavia. Sometimes such surges run into a brick wall, and one can envision a front must exist, however in this case the temperature map suggests it is flowing right along, and crossing the Pole on the Eurasian side.

DMI2 1026 temp_latest.big

The Laptev Sea has all but completely frozen over, as the cold air passed over and down into Siberia, however I imagine the freeze will now slow, due to the warmer air riding north. The area above 80 degrees is now well above normal.

DMI2 1026 meanT_2014

This air is well below the freezing point of salt water in many places, however the refreeze will slow, and in places like Svalbard, where it is above freezing, the freezing must halt.

I’ve seen these warm flows invade the Pole in the dead of winter, and they often result in a Svalbard thaw because they often originate in the Atlantic.  Because the air is mild it often rises at the Pole, and can fuel polar low pressure which defies the textbook existence of a “Polar Cell.”  The cell, if it exists, has traveled down to Siberia.  In this case it is down in Eastern Siberia, where a Maue Map from Weatherbell shows temperatures down near minus thirty.

DMI2 1016 cmc_t2m_asia_1

You can see the mild invasion as a sort of thorn-shape, from left to right at the top of the map.  It will be squeezed south by cold high pressure from Canada, and in turn will push the cold air in Siberia east across the pacific towards Alaska. This is enough like the “short-cut cross-polar-flow of 1976-1977” to make me raise an eyebrow, though it is still too early to speak of a “winter pattern”, I think.

Watching the movement of low pressure around and across the Pole the past year is causing me to rethink a lot of my assumptions. It is really rough, when you are self-taught, because some things you think you have learned can turn out to be pretty much dead wrong. If I was a young meteorologist I would definitely latch on to a weatherman of the old school, such as Joseph D’Aleo or Joe Bastardi, because they could correct false assumptions faster than you do on your own. (Of course, when I was young I had the insolent attitude “don’t trust anyone over thirty” and had to learn things the hard way, but “do as I say and not as I do.”)

One thing I am starting to think I am dead wrong about is the make-up of a zonal flow as opposed to a meridianal flow.  I’ll likely devote a post to this topic at a later date, but will say my preconceptions simply don’t jive with the reality of a positive versus a negative AO.  When my theory says there should be a low pressure at the Pole there is in fact a blocking high.  It puts me in the mood to rumple up all my past posts and trash them.

One thing I’m highly dubious ever exists is a textbook Polar Cell.  Or they don’t exist when the PDO phase is opposite the AMO phase.  Or some such thing.  I have a lot to learn, but have learned the idea of “cells” is way, way, way too simplified, especially at the Pole.

DMI2 1026 bc07

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