ARCTIC SEA ICE –Refreeze Delayed–(October 3-11, 2015)


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I apologize for being unable to properly withdraw from life and enjoy the pleasures of escape to the arctic. Sometimes life won’t let you escape.

Time and tide and arctic sea-ice wait for no man, and a lot’s been going on I haven’t had time to talk about. A veritable flood of milder air came north with low pressure and made the Pole an area of uplift, which drew more air north at the surface.  A lot of this “air” was water vapor, which went from taking up a lot of space as vapor to taking up very little space as a drop of water or an ice crystal.  Therefore there does not need to be as much outflow aloft as one might expect, with all the inflow.

The vapor also released a lot of heat as it went through the phase changes of gas to liquid and liquid to solid. (There is a phase change the other way when precipitation evaporates or sublimates when falling, but for the most part the recent storm has been releasing more heat than it has been sucking up.)

They say what goes up must come down, but this is not true of the Pole. Water vapor goes up there and does not return, and heat goes up there and is lost to outer space. Once the sun sets the Pole is like a chimney for the planet, and what we have just  seen is stuff heading up the chimney.

That being said, when a mild surge heads north for the Pole I often look for a south-bound arctic outbreak somewhere else,  and indeed  there were two decent surges of cold into eastern and western Siberia, as well as a snowy spell in Alaska that drew notice.

Even as milder air floods the Pole, snow-cover is building on the tundra in Siberia, Alaska and Canada.  This will assist the creation of cold air through radiational cooling, and result in the Arctic ocean being frozen by south winds from the tundra.

Snowcover Oct 3 ims2015276_alaska

However one interesting feature is that swath of snow northwest of Hudson Bay, because much of it is well south of the actual coast of the Arctic Sea. This tendency also shows up in a Dr. Ryan Maue map posted on Joseph D’Aleo’s excellent blog at the Weatherbell site, showing the the deepening snow in Western Siberia. Much of the snow is well south of the actual coast.Snowcover Oct 3 ecmwf_snowdepth_russia_41(1)

This of course makes one wonder about the maps which show the arctic coasts as well above normal, in terms of water temperature:  

(I point out elsewhere that these maps can show water as red even when it is full of floating ice, as was the case in Hudson Bay last summer, which does make one suspect they are estimating on the warm side.)

In conclusion, we have a situation where we have a cold circle of ice atop the globe, surrounded by a larger circle of milder coastal waters, surrounded by an even larger circle of cold tundra. Until the coastal water freezes, the situation is wonderfully unstable.

The current temperature graph for areas north of 80° shows the current surge of mild air past its peak, and about to begin what I suspect will be a steep plunge.DMI2 1003B meanT_2015

The ice “extent” graph shows the mild surge did slow the refreeze, but couldn’t halt it.DMI2 1003B icecover_current_new

Most of our surviving buoys did show the milder air reaching across the Pole to Beaufort and Chukchi Seas, and the pacific side of the Central Arctic Basin, ending their cold spell. The Atlantic and Siberian side hadn’t experienced the early season cold as much, and continue fairly mild. Yet the temperatures only briefly could thaw, in only a few places, and rather than the sea-ice thawing we often saw falling snow and freezing rain. Most of the slow-down in the refreeze was due to bottom-melt having a chance to occur without much upper-freezing,  and also gale force winds smashing up the new baby-ice.

It is unfortunate that O-buoy 10 got crushed (or perhaps retrieved by an icebreaker) as we have no eye down in the Beaufort Sea “Slot”. The NRL concentration map suggests the southern “reef” of the “lagoon” got dispersed by the gales, though we cannot tell if the water still has ice and slush in it, once everything gets wet, as slush doesn’t show up well to satellite sensors.  If the reef reappears during the refreeze we will know it wasn’t fully dispersed.Concentration 20151003 arcticicennowcast

I’ll download some pictures from cameras, and catch up on Faboo’s doings, in the morning.


Obuoy 9 1004 webcam

It is actually nearly noon where O-buoy 9 floats, near the meridian. The days are swiftly growing shorter and the sun lower, and I have to be on my toes or I miss the daylight pictures.

It is interesting to compare this picture with the picture from last Thursday. If you open the pictures to new tabs and click back and forth, you can see only the shadows move. What appears to be open water is actually “baby ice”. The stability is remarkable, considering the area went through a whiplash from southerly gales to northerly gales.Obuoy 9 1002 webcamThis is not to say the ice isn’t moving. The area moved over 20 miles north and then 20 miles south. Temperatures also rocketed up to a period of thawing, before crashing to the current period where temperatures stay between -10° and -5°.

Obuoy 9 1004 temperature-1week

What the stability of the ice shows is that the ice is becoming more concrete, and that even a thaw can’t halt the process of refreezing in the northern waters of Fram Strait. In fact when the temperatures first crashed in the above graph the winds were up near 40 mph, so the wind chill was severe, adding to the power of the refreeze. Lastly, the water under the ice is colder here than over in Barents Sea, or in the southern parts of Beaufort and Chukchi Sea on the pacific side, so bottom-melt can’t occur to any great degree.

The only way to melt this ice will be to bodily shift it en mass many miles south, down the east coast of Greenland, yet currently the wind has died and the ice is still up near 79.5° latitude. We made it south of 79° briefly back at the end of August, but since then the typical export of ice south through Fram Strait has been halted.  It is highly likely to resume as the autumnal gales set in, but I’ve been saying that for a month now.


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The maps show the Polar gale (“FG4son”) continuing to weaken and fill as it sinks south towards the Canadian Archipelago, with the -15° isotherm reappearing at its core despite the fact the storm was initially made up of mildness. I am fascinated by how such storms “create cold”, but cannot explain it.

Also interesting to watch is Fram Strait. I am suspicious of the slightest dimple of low pressure there, expecting a new frammerjammer to form, but it looks like any low pressure forming there now will be squeezed southeast and be absorbed by a a general area of storminess loop-de-looping in Western Siberia, and building a ridge of high pressure over western Scandinavia which will join up with the high pressure on the Pacific side of the Pole, and create a long ridge over the top of the earth. If this actually occurs (I tend to want to see it before I believe it) then once again winds will turn south in Fram Strait, and once again the ice will move “the wrong way”.


Faboo got a pie in its face and can’t see.NP3 1 1004 2015cam1_3I suppose we might get enough warmth surging north to melt the lens clean, if another southerly flow actually gets going in Fram Strait, but unless that happens I’m a bit gloomy about the chances of the low sunshine cleaning the lens.  Usually we are well down into Fram Strait by now, and Atlantic air keeps the lens thawed. Twice we have even seen the icebreaker show up to save the camera. This year we are much further north than usual, though we’ve made some recent progress down towards 84° latitude.

October 1 saw Faboo continue SSE another 14.82 miles to 84.368°N, 5.285°W. Winds were strong, peaking at 36 mph at the start of the period and only slacking off to 15 mph at the end. Meanwhile temperatures slowly rose from a low of  -10.2°C at the start to a high of -6.4°C at the end.

October 2 saw the winds die down and Faboo move more to the ESE, covering only 3.56 miles to 84.330°N, 4.930°W. Temperatures dipped to a low of -8.7°C at midnight and then rose to the high of  -5.4°C at 1500Z.

That swirled-around air is about as warm as we’ll see, unless another surge comes north through Fram Strait, as the unofficial Mass Balance report shows temperatures crashing to -15.75°, and also Faboo moving very little at all.

As an aside, the stormy end to the ice-melt season really took a toll of the Mass Balance buoys, and the buoy associated with Faboo is one of only two still reporting.

SUNDAY EVENING DMI MAPS  —Wrong-way flow developing—

 Already the long ridge of high pressure can be seen developing from Bering Strait right over the top of the planet and down through the Atlantic towards Denmark. This may give cold north winds to Finland, but the western side will be effecting Fram Strait, and southerly winds will push the normal flow of ice south through Fram Strait back to the north.  Also another gush of mild air could rush up to the Pole, and the Earth’s heat be lost “up the chimney” to the deep darkness of outer space.

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The gale west of Iceland is an interesting feature. I’m dubbing it “Stukky”, as the ridge of high pressure will act as a “Block”, and the gale will just get stuck. It will mill around west of Iceland all week, until a greatly weakened memory of it may get carried up the coast of Greenland next weekend, like an eddy in the southerly flow, and perhaps be the next frammerjammer.

It will be interesting to watch how strong the southerly flow gets, and how long it lasts, this week. Some models see the passage of “Stukky” heading north as a mere blip in a continuing southerly flow, but that involves the models looking further ahead than is wise.


O-buoy 14 is located roughly at 79.1° N and 148° W. Temperature rising at -8°C.Obuoy 14 1004B webcam


O-buoy 8 is experiencing light winds and temperatures down around -7°C. The lead on the horizon to the upper left still looks open. The pressure ridge on the foreground hasn’t come any closer to overwhelming the camera.Obuoy 8 1004B webcam

O-BUOY 13 

Temperatures have risen to -8°C with winds 10-15 mph. Obuoy 13 1004B webcamO-BUOY 15

After a dive to -14°C temperatures have recovered to around -7°C, as winds have dropped to nearly calm.Obuoy 15 1004 webcam

O-BUOY 9  –Fram Strait at night–

Winds are nearly calm and temperatures down around -8°C.  At the start of the winter darkness there is a lot of twilight.  Obuoy 9 1004B webcam


On October 3 Faboo made it as far south as 84.324°N at 0600Z before drifting slowly back to the north, continuing east all the while, to end the day at 84.327N°, 4.761°W, which was only 1.17 miles, to the east, and not towards Fram Strait, although ice to the east is more likely to get flushed south than ice to the west, until you get over towards Franz Josef Land.

Temperatures were at their highest around midnight, at -7.4°C and then spent most of Saturday around -10°C  before a plunge to the days low of -16.1°C at the very end of the period.

The unofficial reports today show we remain basically stalled, with temperatures moderating slightly.


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“CPR” (which is short for “cross polar ridge”) continues to develop, but the southerly flow is jerked west north of Iceland by Stukky the stalled gale. Consequently all the Atlantic mildness and moisture is crashing into Greenland, climbing to 10,000 feet, and depositing snow and latent heat up on the icecap, where a lot of heat is likely lost to outer space. Up north of there in Fram Strait the winds are still nearly dead calm (according to O-buoy 9) and temperatures remain cold. No real “wrong way flow has developed yet.

Elsewhere cold north winds have developed over Scandinavia and western Siberia, but for the most part the developing high pressure of CPR has things fairly quiet and getting colder in the calm. FG4son continues to weaken and fill as it settles south through the Canadian Archipelago, with a weak Alaska-to-Greenland flow to its north.

All Quiet on the Northern Front.


O-buoy 9 reporting calm and -8° with a dusting of snow.Obuoy 9 1005 webcam


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“CPR” has developed from Norway to Alaska, with the isobars on the west side of that ridge of high pressure indicating “wrong way” flow in Fram Strait. So we seek out our reporter on the scene, O-buoy 9, and ask if winds have increased.Obuoy 9 1006 windspeed-1weekIndeed the breeze has stiffened rather swiftly to over 22 mph. So our next question is whether the winds are bringing north milder, Atlantic air.Obuoy 9 1006 temperature-1weekAnd indeed we see temperatures have rise right up to the freezing point.

We glance north from O-buoy 9 to Faboo, to see if the mildness is making it further north, and see temperatures have risen slightly to -13.08° C, but not before getting down to -20.05° C. (These are “unofficial” reports from the Mass Balance Buoy, which has a date stamp but lacks a time stamp).

In other words we have a nice flood of juicy, mild Atlantic air heading north to meet some frigid arctic air. Hmm. Anyone sense an event on the horizon?

Here is our morning picture from O-buoy 9:Obuoy 9 1006 webcamThe ice isn’t showing signs of movement (though it may be starting to move en mass) but the baby-ice is darker, as if the dusting of snow has been blown off and/or thawed.

Last week the southerly flow created a storm that brought down cold north winds around its west side, and Fram Strait experienced a sort of whiplash, with southerly gales becoming northerly gales.   This time the storm may form further west, towards the Nares Strait of Greenland, and keep Faboo  and O-buoy 9 in southerly and westerly winds. (If such a storm does form it will be dubbed “Nairzy”.)


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“Nairzy” is forming north of Nares Strait, as mild air spears north through Fram Strait and runs into very cold air that was parked there. “CPR” remains a blocking high across the Pole, keeping “Stukky” stuck west of Iceland. Weak low pressure rules the Kara Sea, as low pressure crosses Siberia west-to-east to the south.

The “wrong way” winds in Fram Strait have the ice starting to grind north once again.


Sadly the camera’s lens continues to be obscured. I do have some hope the surge of mild air may get far enough north of Fram Strait to melt the frozen rain from the lens.

On October 4 Faboo made it as far east as 4.713°W before drifting back west, and barely nudged south, covering only 0.59 miles the entire 24 period and ending at 84.319°N, 4.730°W.  Temperatures moderated from a low of -14.8°C to a high of -8.8°C at 1800Z, with winds light to calm.

On October 5 the entire day saw near calm, and the ice barely budged, drifting south to 84.315°N ar 0600Z, north to 84.319°N at noon, and then back down to 84.315°N again at the periods end, while floating west to 4.758°W at 1800Z before turning east, and covering only 0.32 miles. However the temperature plunge was far more dramatic, from a high of -10.0°C at noon to -23.8°C at the period’s end. This is a temperature befitting January, this close to Fram Strait.

Today’s unofficial reports showed the temperatures rising into the single digits and the ice starting to shift north, but the -23.8°C reading once again shows the “cold creation” that occurs as storms fade away at the Pole. Even if the cold only occurs in pockets, I have never heard it adequately described, though I have a sense older meteorologists intuitively grasp it.

The ice has started moving north under O-buoy 9 as well, and it produced the picture of the day, after a daylight of gray drabness:Obuoy 9 1006C webcam


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“Nairzy” continues to grow, and now is to a degree diverting the “wrong way” flow to the east as it moves to the Pole. However it looks like, as Nairzy moves on, the “wrong way” flow will reestablish itself until a frammerjammer develops next Sunday. The southerly stream of mild air has moved east towards Svalbard and colder air and calmer winds are off the northeast coast of Greenland at O-buoy 9.

Across the Pole “Looter” is the Aleutian low south of the Bering Strait, but it looks like it will mill around and occlude and loop-de-loop there without bringing a major Pacific surge north. Rather it will contribute to an east wind across the Bering Strait and then along the entire Siberian coast, before the east wind dives south through Finland.

The morning view from O-buoy 9 is again gray, with light winds and temperatures back up to -3°C after getting down to -5°C over night. There is no clear movement of any ice even on the distant horizon. Obuoy 9 1007 webcam

On the other side of the Canadian Archipelago O-buoy 8-b has seen temperatures crash to -15°, and its anemometer may have frozen up, for it reports no wind. The lens has been obscured, either by hoarfrost or perhaps light snow.

Obuoy 8 1006 webcam Obuoy 8 1007 webcam  WEDNESDAY NIGHT MAPS

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“Nairzy” has moved past the Pole, and the “wrong way” flow has resumed in Fram Strait. Cold temperatures have been sneaking back to the Pacific side of the Pole.


Yesterday saw some dramatic stuff sweep by our faithful camera. Not that the lens was melted clean and we could actually see anything, but the ice on the lens thinned a little. NP3 1 1007 2015cam1_2In this situation we have to resort to seeing with thermometers and anemometers and barometers, and yesterday they recorded a bit of a ruckus passing Faboo by.

Movement was erratic as we moved west to 4.770°W at midnight, east to 4.627°W at 0900Z, west to 4.724°W at 1500Z, and then back east to 4.346°W at 2100Z. Of greater interest was our “wrong way” movement north from 84.315°N to 84.425°N at 1800Z, before we slouched back to 84.418°N. All in all we moved 7.62 miles NNE, the “wrong way.”

Winds went from a dead calm to a stiff southerly breeze of 25mph, and then swung over 100 degrees while subsiding slightly to 20 mph. As this surge of wind rushed up the  temperatures soared from -23.8°C on 2100Z on October 5 to -0.2°C at 1500z yesterday, before falling back after the wind shift to -8.1°C at 2100Z.

This is a demonstration if the Atlantic’s power, this close to Fram Strait. Occasionally, even during the darkest, coldest days of January, milder air can come rushing north, when the flow is meridional.

It annoys me our data is always a day late. More recent data comes from our co-located Mass Balance Buoy 2015B, but that is like taking your own temperature by sticking the thermometer in your wife’s mouth. Well, maybe not that bad, but 2015D’s temperature cannot be called Faboo’s “official” temperature, especially as it lacks a time stamp. (Likely Mass Balance data is gathered twice or four times a day, but they don’t say so.)

In any case, unofficially Faboo saw temperatures plunge today, and then yo-yo back up, as winds again became southerly, and the “wrong way” drift resumed.


Why is “meridian” spelled with an “a” and “meridional” with an “o”?  The answer my friend, is blow-ed in the wind. The answer is blow-ed in the wind (and likely involves the fact many meteorologists can’t spell, including the fellow who first coined the word “meridional”, back in the days scientists spoke Latin.)


For some reason the DMI maps seem to miss the spikes of coldest cold, so I figured I should note that our buoy closest to the Chukchi Sea has shown temperatures flirting with the -20°C mark.Obuoy 15 1007 temperature-1weekThis would tend to suggest the baby-ice would be growing over towards East Siberia. It also suggests these O-buoy cameras hold all sorts of interesting stuff, even when their cameras are a bit boring, as O-buoy 15″s has been.Obuoy 15 1007 webcam

THURSDAY MORNING DMI MAPS  —Second Fram Strait Surge—

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A second surge of mild air up through Fram Strait seems to be clashing with cold air north of Greenland, and breeding a second low north of Nares Strait, which we will dub “Nairzeetoo”. Nairzy, (which now should perhaps be called “Nairzeeone”), is swiftly fading, perhaps because Nairzeetoo is robbing it of its inflow.

The models are flipflopping a bit, in terms of how this wrong way pattern will break down, but it seems the part of “CPR” towards the Pacific will weaken and fade, with most of the high pressure settling over Scandinavia, which will allow low pressure to take a more normal west-to-east route in the North Atlantic, and allow a more normal north-to-south flow in Fram Strait. However for a day or two winds are still southerly, and the ice heads north, the “wrong way”.


Temperatures are back up to freezing and perhaps just above, and the winds have again picked up to over 20 mph.Obuoy 9 1008 webcam


Yesterday Faboo dithered about, as winds swung around 170°, dropping from over 20 mph to around 7 mph just before noon and then increasing to over 20 mph again. The ice changed directions so much that it must have been groaning and moaning in protest. In terms of longitude it moved east to 4.335°W  at midnight, west to 4.484°W at 0300Z, east to 4.145°W at 0900Z, west to 4.330°W at 1500Z, and finally back east to 4.161°W at 2100Z. In terms of latitude it moved south to 84.389°N at midnight, north to 84.407°N at 0600Z, south to 84.390°N at noon, and then north to 84.424°N at 2100Z. In the end all this fuss and bother moved Faboo only 1.21 miles northeast. May this be a lesson to us all: “Don’t dither”.

Temperatures fell to a low of -17.0°C at 0600Z, and stayed fairly low all day, before a second climb began at the very end of the period and raised us to the day’s high of -7.3°.

Today’s unofficial report from the Mass Balance buoy suggests Faboo made it above freezing and has been blown north. I have had hopes the lens might actually be melted clear of ice, and sure enough, it happened.  Of course, the view is of thick fog, but hey, its better than nothing.NP3 1 1008 2015cam1_1


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 The “wrong way” flow is now pulling above-freezing air up towards the Pole on the Atlantic side, even as cold air sags south and builds on the Pacific side. “CPR” is eroding on the Pacific side and an independent (and weak) high pressure has broken away there, with a weak trough of low pressure separating it from the stronger part of CPR, which is settling down over Scandinavia. This trough, though weak, will change the pattern eventually. Meanwhile our “wrong way” flow continues, with Nairzy fading as weak Nairzeetoo follows.

I suspect some sort of ruckus will come of all the mild air being pumped up to clash with very cold air, but so far the models don’t see to see much of anything home-grown, and instead foresee the import of storms north from the Atlantic over the top of CPR as it settles south to Sweden.


It is interesting to compare the Beaufort Sea sea-ice concentration map from a little over two weeks ago with today’s:

September 23

Beaufort ice 0923 beauforticennowcast

October 8

Beaufort concentration 20151008 beauforticennowcast

To the west The Slot’s “lagoon” has frozen completely open, while to the east the southern “reef” of the lagoon seems to have been dispersed by the storms, even as the ice has advanced on all other sides.

It seems “The Slot” will soon be but a memory, however I imagine it contributed to the cooling of Beaufort Sea surface water, by preventing warm inflow from the south (due to the “reef”) even as the “lagoon’s” water was exposed to colder-than-normal summer air temperatures, which often dipped below freezing. This may explain why the ice at Mass Balance Buoy 2014, located at 80.72° N, 177.61° W, (north of the Western “Slot”), seems to show the bottom-melt ending early.Bottom Melt Oct 8 2015F_thick


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Nairseetoo is stronger than forecast, and rather than subsiding south into the Canadian Archipelago like Nairzy did it looks like Nairzeetoo will head across the Pole for the East Siberian Sea, finding its way through the weakness that developed in CPR’s high pressure. Indeed Nairzeetoo is describing what looks like a new storm track. As the Atlantic side of CPR sinks down and becomes a Scandinavian high pressure storms will take the new storm track north of it. This storm track is trying to behave itself and become a more ordinary west-to-east storm track along the Siberian coast, but is currently displaced far to the north.

“Stukky” remains stuck over Iceland, but north of it is a little dimple of low pressure off the east coast of Greenland. I remain suspicious of such dimples, as we’ve seen them blow up into frammerjammers this fall. I’ll call this one “FG6”, but currently models don’t see it as being more than a weak eddy swept north in the “wrong way” flow, eventually absorbed int Nairzeetoo as a bump on its isobars on the Laptev Sea side.

The next storm looks like it will be Stukky, which  will at long last depart Iceland and head north to Fram Strait, curve east to Svalbard, and then dive over the top of Scandinavia into western Siberia. If this occurs Stukky will end the wrong way flow in Fram Strait, and there will be more typical gales between Stukky and high pressure centered over Greenland’s icecap.

After that I don’t trust the models, but they are showing some odd stuff, including the idea that the north flow won’t last very long in Fram Strait.


Obuoy 9 1009 webcamA steady south breeze of roughly 20 mph has blown the ice back up to 80°. It had drifted east nearly to 6° longitude, but is now pushed back west by the southeast winds ahead of FG6.  Temperatures have been above freezing, and this thaw extends north to Faboo, which is now further east than O-buoy 9, and back north to 84.59°N.


As always, Faboo’s official data is released a day late, when it is in some ways old news, but in this case it does demonstrate that  when you introduce moist Atlantic air to frigid polar air the result is a ruckus.

Yesterday (October 8) Faboo  saw its lowest temperature at the very start of the period, (which was the day before’s highest temperature) of -7.3°C. Temperatures soared up to a high of +1.1°C at 0300Z, and for the rest of the period temperatures didn’t vary more than two tenths of a degree, ending the period at +0.9°C at 2100Z. This thawing was accompanied by a roaring gale, peaking with steady winds of 31 mph at noon, and only backing off to 28 mph at 2100Z.  These roaring winds pushed the ice 14.54 mile NNE, the “wrong way”, to 84.580°N, 2.679°W.

The lens of Faboo’s camera was melted free of ice, but all it could see was a thick fog. This super-saturated air was likely condencing on the ice and snow the same way drops of water bead on the side of a glass of ice-water on a humid summer day. As this water condenced it was releasing latent heat, as it underwent the phase change from vapor to liquid, and this heat made the fog a “snow-eater”. Likely the powder snow became sticky and, even slushy in places. In the end, however, all this heat will be uplifted and go up the chimney to outer space, and be lost to earth.

The Ryan Maue GFS map from the Weatherbell Site of polar temperatures paints a pretty picture of the storm Nairzeetoo sucking in the mild air this morning.DMI2 1009 gfs_t2m_arctic_1

I have a hunch the computer models are constructed to see storms as tracking along lines of latitude, around the Pole, and have a hard time seeing these storms that track along a line of longitude right over the top of the earth. They always seem to see these storms as weak, minor features, and displace the energy south to more southerly storms, and then are taken by surprise by the strength of the polar lows. Even when the lows do not become gales, they are often stronger than foreseen.

Why are they stronger? I can only venture “wild surmise”. (John Keats)

My imagination sees the “Quiet Sun” as creating a situation where the earth is losing more heat. In a sense the damper in the chimney has been opened up. At the same time the oceans are releasing more heat, (perhaps due to ordinary cycles, or perhaps tweaked by the “Quiet Sun,”) and this creates more heat available, to rush up the chimney. Therefore rather than winds achieving a poise that allows them to waft around and around the earth in a serene and genteel manner, they are sucked north into a maelstrom, a sort of black hole where earth sees heat vanish, never to be seen again.

Not that Nairzeetoo will get to the Pole and vanish. It will be spat out the other side of the “black hole”, (which makes our black hole rather pathetic, as black holes go), and wander down to fade away in the East Siberian Sea.

The conditions in the wake of Nairzeetoo are confused, in the vision of various models, but there seems to be an idea some intense cold will develop in the wake of the swirl of thawing, especially just north of Greenland.


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“Nairzeetoo” is heading past the Pole, much stronger than it was suppose to be. It’s feeder-band of above-freezing air is bent away from the Pole now, and Naizeetoo may soon be cut off from is fuel.

FG6 is weak, in Fram Strait, weakening the “wrong way” flow. Stukky is still stuck, over Iceland. Sown south of the Bering Strait, “Looter” is also stuck, and, if anything, is sucking cold air south rather than driving Pacific air north. The high pressure CPR remains strong over Scandinavia but is weakly slumping south to the coast of Siberia as you move east towards the Pacific.


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“Nairzeetoo” is starting to weaken, as the mild air feeding it now has a long way to go and has been swung around to the Siberian side. At the surface the freezing osotherm is retreating back towards Svalbard, but likely a sort of feeder tube of mild air is rushing north as an occlusion, above the low levels. A lot of Atlantic heat is being lost “up the chimney” to outer space, but the mechanics keeping Nairzeetoo strong are getting too strung out, and it is starting to weaken and fill.

The frammerjammer “FG6” never strengthened, and now is just a dimple on the side of Nairzeetoo. It has pushed the ice slightly south in its wake.

Stukky has finally come unstuck and is drifting north from Iceland. Some decent north winds are developing between it and high pressure centered over Greenland, but these are quite local and don’t extend far up into Fram Strait yet. Because high bressure is building behind Nairzeetoo,  stukky woll not be able to follow straight north, and likely will veer towards Svalbard. It will likely remain weak, for a North Atlantic low, and not get much below 1000mb, and therefore the isobars brween it and the high pressure atop Greenland will not be very tight, and winds won’t be that strong in Fram Strait.

Things get interesting not all that far into the future, as temperatures are expected to crash greatly north of Greenland, in the wake if Nairzeetoo. This can be seen in Dr. Ryan Maue’s supurb rendition of the GFS model over at the Weargerbell site. The first map below is the intitial map of current conditions, and the second is from 48 hours from now. Note how the cold grows north of Greenland, and also the start of a new surge of milder air just beginning. (GFS maps are flipped, with Greenland at the top and to the right.)Nares 1 gfs_t2m_arctic_1Nares 2 gfs_t2m_arctic_9The next map is from 72 hours from now, and the flood of milder air is obvious along the north coast of Greenland.Nares 3 gfs_t2m_arctic_13

Now, to a bumpkin like me such mild air flooding north and clashing with the very cild air would create the next Nares Dtrait storm, perhaps called “Nairzeethree”. However the GFS model sees no such solution, 72 hours from now.Nares 4 gfs_mslp_uv10m_arctic_13

This GFS solution shows the weak remains of Nairzeetoo on the East Siberian Sea, and then no storm at all from there all the way across the Pole and down through Fram Strait until one comes to a new, weak low crawling up the east coast of Greenland.

It doesn’t usually pay to disagree with the computer only three days into the future, but I am wondering if it is failing to see a storm that will develop north of Greenland, where the cold air is hit by the next mild surge.

Faboo news

Faboo made it as far north as 84.606°N at 0600Z yesterday, and as far east as 2.115°W at 0900Z, before the winds dropped and shifted, and temperatures fell below freezing. Winds then picked up to the 15-20 mph range, and we headed the opposite way to 84.569°N, 2.648°W. Our total movement for the day was 0.78 miles SW. Our high temperature was +0.9°C at the very start, and our low was -5.5°C at 1800Z. After dim views thriugh thick fog, our lens promptly frosted over as soon as temperatures dipped below freezing.

NP3 1 1010 2015cam1_6

O-BUOY 9 –Winds stiffen, temperatures crash, ice moves wsw, snow

Obuoy 9 1010 webcamObuoy 9 1010B temperature-1weekObuoy 9 1010B webcam

 back down to -15°

Obuoy 8 1010B temperature-1weekObuoy 8 1010 webcamObuoy 8 1010B webcamBy the way, O-buoy 8 is located further off the coast of the Canadian Archipelago than I initially reported. It actually is on the Russian side of the Pole.

The other O-buoys showed somewhat dull pictures of grayness, with only O-buoy 14 showing any sign Nairzeetoo brought mildness across the Pole, rising towards -5° as the other two stayed down at -15°.


 DMI2 1011 mslp_latest.big DMI2 1011 temp_latest.big

“Nairzeetoo” continues to stretch out its feeder band, as it weakens and drifts towards east Siberia. The milder air has been drawn east along the Sibe4rian coast as the colder air is drawn east along the Canadian and Greenland coasts. “Stukky” has managed to create a more normal northerly flow in Fram Strait, but is blocked by a new high, (Call it “Nuhi”), which is forming between Stukky and Nairzeetoo. The sea-ice north of Fram Strait is being shifted west by Nuhi rather than flushed down into the strait, as winds swing to the east rather than being north. If Nuhi shifts north of the Stait more the winds in the northern reaches of the strait could even veer to the southeast, which would make the ice diverge and could create some open water. The descending air within Nuhi is becoming the coldest air of the Autumn, so far.


Obuoy 9 1011 webcam

The wind doesn’t show in the picture, of course, but it has been steadily in the 30-33 range, and the camera has drifted south of 80° latitude once again, moving ESE towards 9° longitude.

If you compare the above picture with O-buoy 9 pictures from earlier in this post you can see the dark areas are now light areas, as apparently the low areas of baby-ice were filled in with blowing snow, which perhaps stuck to the wet surface during the period of thaw. Temperatures are now slowly sinking past -6°, despite the wind being east, and not from the coldest air to the west.


DMI2 1011B mslp_latest.big DMI2 1011B temp_latest.big


8 thoughts on “ARCTIC SEA ICE –Refreeze Delayed–(October 3-11, 2015)

  1. Really enjoy the reports. I’ve been following your reports on Faboo since August of this year. Do you think it will make it through fram strait? looks like it still has some ways to go before it gets there, and it seems like everything will be frozen in place soon.

    • I’m glad you get joy from my joy.

      Yes, I think it will eventually make it through, though it may be late, perhaps as late as December. If Faboo doesn’t head south through the Strait it will be a first, and be worth a lot of wondering.

      I’m not sure whether or not they’ll send an icebreaker that far north to save the camera. If they do, we still get reports from the weather buoy. Two years ago the weather buoy grounded on the north coast of Iceland in January, 1600 miles from where it started in April, which shows you how mobile the ice is up there.

  2. I know the person who was scapegoated for the wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald. He was forecasting for the marine desk at the Chicago NWS and did not correctly forecast the path of the storm that sunk it. In fact the poor captain took the ship on a more northerly track than normal to escape the storm and that move instead put the ship directly in the path of 75 knot winds.

    The forecaster was not fired, but transfered to another office. I knew and liked the guy a lot, in fact we had forecasting contests, together with a third person and he was a good forecaster.

    Also back in 1975, the forecast models were not as good and were often incorrect.

    • I would not like to be in the shoes of a weatherman having to make the forecast for others in a dangerous situation, but I been by the tiller of a boat when I myself misjudged the weather and got myself into situations I was lucky to survive. In such situations you see blaming does not one bit of good. All you can do is your best, and the rest is up to God, (who you oddly find yourself talking to even if you are an atheist…or so I observed in myself, through personal experiences of storms at sea.)

  3. Caleb,
    I think the dates on your two recent ice coverage maps are off by a month, shouldn’t that be September and October vs August and September?

    BTW, keep up the good work, this is an interesting season – note that DMI 30% graph looks to set a 10 year record, and volume is increasing year over year as well, per PIOMAS

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