ARCTIC SEA ICE –Ralph the Elephant–

I tended to dream, withdraw and avoid a lot, looking out windows and studying clouds rather than the blackboard, when I was back in school,  and I’m still prone to focusing on writing rather than riches, as an adult, but at times such avoidance catches up with me, and my avoidance has to avoid other things.  Recently I’ve been busy avoiding bankruptcy, which tends to put a subject such as sea-ice on the back burner. However, Thank God, I eked out a way to pay bills, and can now reward myself with a bit of time gazing at clouds and sea-ice.

Not that I didn’t peek at the views from O-buoy 14 even when avoiding bankruptcy, but I couldn’t post on them. The buoy went through a loop in Parry Channel, first moving northeast, then northwest, and then a long way back west. The westward movement meant the ice, which had been compressing in the channel, spread out and leads of open water appeared. obuoy-14-1001-webcamAfter moving west the camera again reversed, moving southwest, southeast, and then due east. The camera very nearly was destroyed as the ice crunched up again, at one point tilting and looking down, but it survived and now has crossed its own track and continues on east in Parry Channel, with the days getting shorter and the temperatures dropping towards 0°F (-18°C), and the views often gorgeous.obuoy-14-1006-webcam


Of interest were the surges of milder air heading north over the past month, even as the temperatures fell.


These surges were part of a truly remarkable occurrence at the Pole, which I have jokingly dubbed “Ralph”. Low pressure has persisted, and seems to be to some degree persistently ignored, as a sort of elephant in the room, despite the fact the warmth ought to get Alarmists rejoicing, for it is producing the mildest DMI temperatures-north-of-80°-latitude graph ever, for the start of winter.


Each recent peak in the above graph represents fuel, as a sort of “feeder band” of mildness and moisture, for “Ralph”. Ralph represents a drain of heat from our planet into outer space. It is a new and interesting pattern, and seems worth more attention than it has received. It is different from other examples of the AO in a negative phase.

The surges of mildness have also effected the ice-extent graph, which has slowed after a fast start to the sea-ice-growth season. (Unfortunately these graphs have been “adjusted” by DMI, which has disgraced itself by succumbing to the pressures that always “adjust” graphs to make Global Warming look more significant than it truly is. These “adjustments” are a topic for some other post. Let it suffice to say that, where I focus on writing rather than riches, some focus on riches rather than science.)


One reason for the diminished ice-extent is that the growing cold of East Siberia hasn’t been pouring north, as it usually does, and isn’t freezing the coast of Siberia. The snows have grown over East Siberia as they usually do:snowcover-pole-20161018-cursnow

Usually the developing cold air over East Siberia clashes with the relatively milder coastal waters of the Arctic Sea, and lows tend to scoot along the coast, and ahead of the lows the south winds are not mild, but frigid. This year the cold over Siberia has tended to head east rather than north, which is nervous-making for Europe, for Europe’s coldest winds come from the east during the winter, (from Mordor, if you read too much Tolkien.) The map below shows the building cold over Asia (gray is below zero, Fahreheit. (-18°C).

asia-temp-21061018-gfs_t2m_asia_1The above map shows how much colder it is over the land than over the Arctic Sea. It doesn’t show whether temperatures are above normal or below normal. That map is below:

asia-temp-anomaly-20161018-gfs_t2m_anomf_asia_1As is usually the case, when it is milder-than-normal over the Pole, we see the cold has been displaced further south. (Credit to Dr. Ryan Maue at the Weatherbell site, who makes these maps possible, along with thousands of others. Free week trial available.)

In essence, our planet is sucking warmth north to the Pole, and losing it to outer space, even as it is pumping cold south. My sense is that this is a sort of over-reaction to the past El Nino, which was a sort of over-reaction to the Quiet Sun. Even though the sways in one direction and then the other tend to balance out, (and are in fact part of the balancing process), they can be impressive. Exactly how the current sways play out remains to be seen, and I’ll leave it to braver fellows to forecast.

I don’t currently have time to go through a month’s worth of polar maps, but will stick them below, hoping I have time later to update this post with individual comments about the individual maps.

The thing to note is how the high pressures can’t conquer the Pole and how low pressure (“Ralph”) persists, and also the plumes of mild air the temperature maps show swirling up to the Pole. (The growth of the Scandinavian High is also interesting. Maybe I should name it.)



6 thoughts on “ARCTIC SEA ICE –Ralph the Elephant–

  1. I was wondering when u would get back to posting 😉 I too had been watching O’buoy and seeing the temps get close to -20 only to bounce back and stay around the -10 level.
    Meanwhile in Calgary winter has come early and we have had lots of snow that luckily doesn’t last but seems to be an omen that this winter will be a real old fashioned cold and snowy one … we shall see. With about 40 more sleeps until I am back on skis at my home hill I am getting anxious. The next several weeks will be interesting from a temperature and storm track point of view in the Rockies since we sometimes get the cold but the arctic high is moisture free or we get the moisture off the Pacific but just a few degrees too warm and it is all rain. Recently we have had snow above 4,000 feet and the mountains are looking good. My Fernie condo is at about 3,600 feet.
    Good luck with your avoiding bankruptcy challenge.

    PS …. I too am pissed to see DMI start to provide nonsense – adjusted graphs 😦 and I even wonder about the temps north of 80 plot as it seems to be totally out of character with any past years and I looked at a lot of the past to try and find a similar start to winter. It makes me think they may be leaving off thermometers or weighing certain thermometers more than others. Figures don’t lie but liars figure stuff. But maybe u are correct in the blowing off the El Nino warmth through the arctic escape hatch.

    • This mornings check of DMI found the temps dropping like a head shot duck …. this is going to leave a mark 😉
      Weather in the west is a nice mix of chinook warmth on the plains and cold and snowy in the mountains with the snow line dropping all the way down to most hills base areas. Still too early to get excited but it is promising for a good and early start to the ski season. May the force be with us!

      • That is quite a drop, but to be expected, as it was so far above normal. Even with the drop it is still above normal, and likely will remain so until high pressure can hit and hold up there.

        The real cold is down in Eurasia. Some warmth may get into western Europe, but a new wave of cold will make it to the east of Russia, and we’ll have to wait and see what comes of that clash.

        It looks like D’Aleo and Bastardi are expecting some sort of flip in the pattern in November, when you may see the east side of some sort of Pacific ridge bringing you some genuine cold down the east slopes of the Rockies from the arctic. We’ll have to see where that south-bound cold air swings back around to the north. Of it does it in the central USA I will get south winds and rain, but if the axis if further east we get cold and snow (and you have a better chance of Chinooks.)

        Currently we have a misty morning, fairly mild, with all the colors of the changing leaves brought out by the fact they are wet (sort of like pebbles on the sea-shore.)

        I’m trying to keep my mind off the election, but confess to having a nervous gut. I have a sense it is strangely like a revolution rather than an election.

  2. I don’t know for sure, but my impression is that both Siberian and North American snowcover is above normal for so early in October. I certainly don’t think that is a bad sign for those of us who look forward to a cold, snowy winter.

    I have also been of the belief that for us in the mid-latitudes, the snow covered land between 50-70 N is much more the cold source in Winter than the areas further north where the sea ice resides.

    Anyhow, hope you have put you money problems behind you. I once heard a wise man say that the best thing about having money is not the material possessions it can buy. The best part of having money is not having to worry about money. The ability to give the rest of the world the big middle finger, if you choose to do so!

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