In the last post I noted how a low I dubbed “Ralph” had looped up to the Pole, in essence reversing the Beaufort Gyre. It looked like it it was going to weaken and fade.
However Ralph persisted. Twelve hours later we can see noon has warmed the top of the map, but the warming to the south of Barents Sea is occurring at midnight and is due to an influx of less cold air, even as the below freezing patches of air increase north of Greenland and Svalbard. This is going to create a clash, and reinforse Ralph with low pressure moving up from Scandinavia.
Twenty-four hours later we see the area of sub-freezing air has increased as the less-cold air has decreased (likely because it is rising) and Ralph is reinvigorated.
Twelve hours later midnight has moved up to the top of the map, which explains the sub-freezing temperatures reappearing up there, but the sub-freezing temperatures down to the north of Barents Sea are due to Ralph, and are occurring at noon, when the midnight sun peaks highest near the arctic circle. Ralph is pulling more energy up from Siberia and his winds are strengthening towards gale force. How due I know this?
I know the winds are gale force because I hurry over to the Weatherbell site (week free trial available) and look at Dr. Ryan Maue’s maps. One shows surface pressure and winds. Here are the GFS model’s guess at what Ralph will do. (The area of green is winds over 20 knots, and towards the center of those blobs when the green tints towards yellow the winds are over 30 knots.) (I don’t know why they insist on sticking Iceland at the top of their maps.)
INITIAL (0000Z JUNE 21)
The models agree that Ralph will head toward the Canadian Archipelago and weaken, but even after only 36 hours discrepancies start to appear. The GFS sees temperatures hovering around freezing in 36 hours:
But the Canadian JEM model sees Ralph has created sub-freezing temperatures: (Iceland back at the bottom.)
The Canadian map shows a greater clash in temperatures, which may explain why the Canadian model tends to create storms where the GFS sees none, but all the models seem to agree that Ralph will not be replaced by high pressure, and instead Ralph will linger about the Pole for over a week.
As I explained in my last post, this counters the idea of a Polar Cell creating high pressure at the Pole, and also reverses the Beaufort Gyre.
As I also explained in my last post, this will tend to spread out the ice that was piled up last winter. It may even create an uptick in the extent graph. It will be the same amount of ice, but spread out like a pat of butter over bread. The chunks of ice will still be as thick, but they will have areas of open water between them, so the “average” thickness will abruptly be thinner.
This likely will create a hubbub, especially among Alarmists, who will assume the ice is melting swiftly, like it did in the Gale of 2012, which occurred in early August. The ice did not melt in the gale of 2013, which occurred when the ice was at its minimum in late September. This Gale, occurring in June, is an entity all its own, and it is risky to guess what it will do. My assumption is that the response (whether the melting will be sped up) largely depends on how cold the water under the ice is, and I have no reliable source to turn to, so I am going to zip my lip and just watch.
One interesting effect is that the ice will be pushed back down into parts of the Beaufort Sea that were open water. That is also an area the Canadian JEM-model map shows will have sub-freezing temperatures as Ralph weakens.
Our only on-the-ground reporter is O-buoy 14, which got a glimpse of sunshine and showed open water in the distance, with pressure ridges to the right, a bit like the North Pole Camera of three summers ago.
However O-buoy 14 is much further south, (at 77.5 degrees latitude rather than at 86 degrees), and heading further south as the sea-ice spreads out.
It registered a surprising cold-wave as Ralph first weakened. We’ll have to see if it happens again.
One thing I have noticed is that the sunshine never lasts for long.
This does make me wonder a bit about Svenmark’s idea that the Quiet Sun is allowing more cosmic rays to make more clouds. One part of Alarmist theory assumes that more open water will absorb more sunlight, which will warm the water, which will hurry the melting of the ice, but it is hard to see how that can happen if the sun seldom shines.
The temperatures up at the Pole did register a dip as Ralph weakened the first time. The thaw is continuing but temperatures are below normal.
The extent graph continues its yearly plunge.
However there is a bit of a hubbub about the above graph, as it may be missing some of the ice in the south of Hudson Bay.
(Picture credit: http://realclimatescience.com/2016/06/more-on-the-fake-dmi-ice-graph/ )
Judging from the NRL thickness map, some fairly thick ice is pushed up against that coast. Also some thinner ice has been pushed south into the polynya that opened in April northwest of the Mackenzie River Delta and northeast of Alaska.
These sort of discrepancies do occur, due to the varying sensitivities of instruments and problems with clouds, however Tony Heller will be flying over that area and able to give a first-hand report, weather permitting.
These are interesting times, which is unusual, for usually Junes are pretty boring, in the world of watching ice melt.
I should have mentioned something I noted in an earlier post that shows how difficult it is to gauge the amounts of sea-ice. Susan Crockford dug up this news with her excellent reporting here:
Basically some walrus hunters got trapped by sea-ice thicker than they expected, and needed to be rescued. I myself thought the sea-ice looked thin in the area they hunted, but then I don’t hunt walrus, and I’d expect those fellows to be smarter than me. Here is a video of their rescue.
The time lapse movies made by the various O-buoys have been a very good way to get a sense of what summertime sea-ice is like. In several cases the buoys have bobbed totally free of ice one day, and then are totally surrounded by ice a few days later. If you have the time, move the slider along the bottom of last summer’s O-buoy 9 film to the 25 minute mark, and spend ten minutes watching it slide along the north coast of Greenland, with mountains occasionally visible in the background, and then out into Fram Strait and then south. The amazing thing is that it wound up totally surrounded in thickening ice, just before its demise.