I haven’t been able to study arctic maps to the degree I did last year. I only am able to allot so many hours a day to daydreaming and goofing off, (which is what studying weather maps boils down to, when you don’t get paid for it,) and this year I have other things to daydream about, and to goof off doing.

I figure it isn’t so urgent to study the arctic any more, as the idea that the arctic is in a “death spiral” has been slinking away in shame to the shadows, where it will lurk and await the next thaw, (or perhaps the next warm PDO.)  In fact it now is starting to seem incredible that  the “death spiral” idea was ever taken seriously, and that people became so indignant when I (and many others) dared challenge it.

Those clinging to the idea of the “death spiral” now need to cling to the hope the current “warm” spike in the PDO is more than a spike, and is in fact a freak occurrence of the PDO switching back to a long-lasting “warm” phase a decade earlier than usual. They also must hope the AMO stays in its “warm” phase as well.

This Alarmist dream likely will not come true, but even if it comes true it will not make the arctic be ice-free, as they predicted, but it might result in ice-extents low enough for them to point fingers at, and wave arms about.  Otherwise such people appear to be malingering, (which is, “to avoid work by feigning illness.”) The illness, in their case, is the “fever” the planet supposedly has, and the work they are avoiding involves facing the facts they fail to look at.

Having spent nearly a decade attempting to see the facts, (despite the smoke-screen some Alarmists have created to hide evidence from honest eyes,) I’ve fallen into the habit of observing the planet from the top. Even as it becomes less politically important to do so, I think I’ll continue to do it, for the top-down view possesses a fascination quite free from politics, and owns a beauty all its own.  I won’t do it to the degree I once did, but will continue to be an observer. While I may not demonstrate the rigor of a true scientist, I will continue to be a witness.

Over the past two weeks the extent of sea-ice has increased very swiftly. It always does, as the sun sets for six months at the Pole, but this year has seen the increase be especially fast. We are all set to surpass last year’s levels, because last year the ice extent actually decreased, briefly, at this time:

DMI2 1102 icecover_current_new (click to enlarge)

Much of this increase is due to the fact a large area of open water north of the Laptev Sea, (which I called, “The Laptev Notch”), and the Laptev Sea itself, froze over.  Compare these two maps, the top being from two weeks ago, and the bottom being the current situation:Extent 20141022 arcticicennowcastDMI2 1102 arcticicennowcast

It is important not to get too swept up in the hoopla about this increase, for such hoopla is only a response to the hoopla about decreases in ice being a “death spiral.”  The open water of the Laptev Notch was an anomaly largely created by winds, but did allow a glimmer of hope to brighten the gloom of those hoping the Pole would become ice-free and the end of the world was nigh.  The “Laptev Notch” could not last, and it was to be expected that it would swiftly refreeze, that the world wouldn’t end, and that those avoiding getting a real job because the end was nigh would have to get real jobs.

The above maps also show the open waters off the north coasts of Alaska and Canada have rapidly refrozen, adding to the swiftness of the increase in the ice-extent graph. However at this point we are running out of waters easy to freeze. There may even be a “pause” in the refreeze, much like last year’s, as we run out of easy-to-freeze open water.

It should be noted we still have more open water than last year towards Bering Strait, especially in the East Siberian Sea. Without a lick of scientific data, I would suggest this coincidentally matches the “warm” spike of the PDO, and is suggestive of an influx of warmer Pacific waters.

Also it should be noted there is more ice than last year east of Svalbard in the northern reaches of Barents Sea. Without a shred of scientific data, I would suggest this coincidentally matches a down-spike of the AMO last spring and summer into its “cold” phase.  In fact there was more ice along the north coast of Svalbard during the warmest days of summer than there was in the dead of last winter. Now the AMO has settled back into its “warm” phase.  When you compare the two maps above, what do you observe?  You observe there is a little less ice along the north coast of Svalbard, despite the fact ice is growing everywhere else, up in the arctic.  Coincidence? Or proof the AMO governs the amount of sea-ice?  That is not for me to say. I am just a witness.

Sometimes my curiosity gets going, and I yearn for more stuff to witness, and more time to witness stuff with. When I’m rich I’m going to hire a “go-for” to hunt up graphs and charts and old weather maps for me.  Even so, I doubt I’ll qualify as a true scientist. However I’ll be a better witness.

As the Arctic Sea refreezes the refreeze is influenced by the weather, and the weather is influenced by the refreeze. It is a chicken-or-the-egg thing.  Weather patterns influence the snow cover and the ice extent, but the snow cover and ice extent can influence the weather patterns.  For example, a certain pattern will dump snow over Siberia, but, once Siberia is snow-covered, it allows radiational cooling to generate cold high pressure, which must influence the pattern. In the same manner open water in the Arctic Sea allows more warm, moist updrafts, reletive to ice-covered water and  snow-covered land, and such updrafts are far more likely to feed and encourage low pressure systems. Storms have a way of following the edge of the ice, but a week later, when that same area is totally ice-covered, a similar storm will weaken.  So who is controlling whom?  You decide. I am just a witness.

Two weeks ago, on October 22, high pressure had been sitting up near the Pole for a week, and the air beneath cooled until it was the coldest of the season, and then a gale charged up from Iceland to budge the high south towards Siberia. As this cold air passed over the Laptev Sea it had a lot to do with the swift refreeze of the open waters.

DMI2 1022B mslp_latest.big

As the cold air settled over Siberia on October 26th the flow behind that high pressure, (between its high pressure and the Icelandic low), brought a flood of milder Atlantic air rushing north over Scandinavia, with a tongue of that mildness extending past the Pole on the Eurasian side, however this flood of warmth was about be swiftly pinched off by new high pressure advancing north from Canada.

DMI2 1026 mslp_latest.big

By October 27th the advance of the Canadian high pressure was starting to divert the flow of Atlantic air back towards Greenland, even as the advancing Icelandic low was shunted away from the Pole towards Scandinavia. This shoved the Siberian cold east. Meanwhile an Aleutian low was squeezing that cold from the other side, before it too was shunted eastward into Alaska by the Canadian high. During the brief period when the Siberian cold was getting squeezed from both sides it poured vast amounts of very cold air into the Pacific, behind the Aleutian low.

(This verifies a pet rule of mine:  If mild air floods up towards the Pole, cold air will be surging away from the Pole somewhere else.)

DMI2 1027 mslp_latest.big

As the Siberian cold poured out over the Pacific it cooled the water, which has been at “above normal” levels, to levels “below normal,” especially along the Pacific coast of Asia.  I think we shall see this continue this winter, and have a hunch it will end the “warm” spike of the PDO and return it to its more typical “cold” pattern by spring. However it also, (and this strays miles off topic,) apparently exposed some problem with how “above normal” and “below normal” are determined.  The problem manifested in very different sea-temperature-anomaly maps being produced by the same data, and is discussed here:


DMI2 1028B mslp_latest.big

Briefly the Canadian high pressure at the Pole was creating a zonal flow, with low pressures rotating politely around it, but by Halloween it was falling apart, as a new situation developed. The high pressure was settling south over Scandinavia, which was getting north winds, even as south winds approached ahead of the next Icelandic low.  On the Pacific side another Aleutian low approached Bering Strait even as the last one weakened moving east across Alaska to northern Canada.

DMI 1031B mslp_latest.big

By November 1 the winds were swinging around to the south in Norway, but this time the flood of milder, Atlantic air is not penetrating to the Pole, but rather is swung back towaeds Greenland. The only significant south winds invading the Pole are from the revitalized low in the Canadian Archipelago, and they are not all that balmy. For the most part the Pole is quiet and calm and losing heat, which creates cold at the surface. So is Siberia.

DMI2 1101 mslp_latest.big

This brings us to today.  I’m at a loss to explain why the low pressure is extending north of Eurasia the way it is. It is time to simply watch, and be a witness, and be glad my livelihood isn’t dependent on predicting what happens next.

DMI2 1102 mslp_latest.big

However, as a witness, I’ll note the air over the Pole is the coldest we’ve seen all autumn:

DMI2 1102 meanT_2014 (click to enlarge)

DMI2 1102 temp_latest.big

Furthermore Siberia, which was milder after discharging so much cold air over the Pacific, has recharged itself and is again loaded with cold:

DMI2 1101 cmc_t2m_asia_1

When this much cold air builds up, it seldom sits up there. It is heavy, dense stuff, much heavier and denser than air to the south, so it is likely to sink under the air to the south and cause uplift and storms and arctic outbreaks.  The question then becomes, “Where?”

My guess is a lot of the Siberian air will again spill into the Pacific, but a little further north than last time, as we progress towards a winter pattern that will see Siberian air spilling across the Bering Strait into Alaska and then south.

I also guess a surge of relatively mild westerly wind will cross Europe, hinting at a winter storm track that will see the westerly winds sink south as the cold builds to the north,  until easterly winds north of that storm track start transplanting air from Siberia across the north of Europe, so that Scandinavia, which saw southwest winds from the Atlantic for much of last winter,  will see the east winds of Tolkien’s Mordor freezing their socks off.

Lastly, the cold over the Pole, separate from Siberia, will leak south into Canada behind the low in the Archipelago. I guess this is a temporary event, and part of a transitory autumnal pattern.

I confess this guess-work has great gaps and holes. For example, while I’ve figured out where air will exit the arctic, I know it must be replaced by air entering, but haven’t a clue where that would be. Either side of Greenland?

In the end, guess-work is but guessing, and I’ll likely stand corrected. Actually I look forward to correction, for I would rather stand corrected than fall. And, even without the comments of fellow bloggers to correct me, simply being a witness supplies me with more corrections than a school-teacher with a lot of red pencils, in the form of that great correcter called “Reality.”



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