ARCTIC SEA ICE –Ralph RIP, or reloading?–

It is my understanding that RIP means “Rest In Poverty”, and is used to describe the state of torpor Christmas shoppers and cooks collapse into, after overdoing it. It is also an apt description of the Pole, which has also been whooping it up, to celebrate the solstice. The Arctic imported two major blasts of oceanic air, “Hula-Ralph” from the Pacific, followed by an Atlantic blast I guess I’ll name “Santa-Ralph”, as he was such a gift to Alarmists, who are never happier than when they can make children miserable at Christmas, by insinuating Santa is going to drown.

And, to give credit where credit is due, the ice did indeed retreat northward, first north of Bering Strait on the Pacific side, when it was blown nearly to Wrangle Island, and then along the edge of ice at the north of Barents Sea on the Atlantic side, where the baby-ice was again pushed north of Svalbard, and even briefly north of Franz Josef Land, (though it was interesting to see it was pushed northwest from Franz Josef Land, which actually would pile ice up and make pressure ridges towards the Santa’s house, at the Pole.

You can watch this process occurring here:

Hmmm. My computer is not doing well at supplying the animation from the NRL site. Anyway, if you go there and watch the 30 day animation you can see the ice pushed back, first on the Pacific side and then on the Atlantic side, which would have made a noteworthy down-dip in the ice-extent graph, were it not for the fact the entirety of Hudson Bay flash-froze over at the same time, in around ten days. Still, the Alarmists got a small Christmas present in the ice-extent graph.


Notice the earlier down-dip, from the last big surge of Atlantic air, earlier in the graph, and how swiftly sea-ice-extent recovered and resumed its normal climb. The same thing will happen again. The sea-ice is swiftly reforming in the north of Barents Sea, and has already sealed off the waters north of Bering Strait, so the sea-ice graph will  quickly perk upwards to more usual levels.  Already the temperatures north of 80° North latitude is starting to crash from the last big spike:


The above graph’s red-line has dropped down to the high point of last (2015) Christmas’s mild surge (which was aimed more directly at the Pole, and didn’t cross to the Pacific side as much). Therefore an Alarmist can celebrate the fact that this Christmas had a warm spike nearly 5°C warmer than last year. They seem to fail to consider the simple fact this likely means our planet is squandering more heat to the dark, arctic skies than it did last year.

Let us check out the change in the SST anomalies, especially in the Atlantic, where a lot of this mildness came from. We should be able to see some change. (November 24 is to the left; December 22 is to the right).


To me it seems the warm anomaly off Newfoundland is weaker. Perhaps that is like a Christmas shopper’s wallet getting thinner after a splurge. The arctic night spent our planet’s warmth like a drunken sailor. (It is important to remember these are anomaly maps; actual temperature maps show all the water north of 40° latitude getting colder, as it tends to do in December), (it being frickin’ winter, after all.) Also the map shows a slight cold anomaly spreading southwest of Baja California, as if the signature of a “cold” PDO is attempting to reform.

In any case, it pays to take a world-wide view, and not merely focus on where our pet bias is confirmed, which seems to be what Alarmists are doing. This is liable to trick one onto the slippery slope of wish-casting, which I have done, and which can be very embarrassing, when you wake to the fact the person you fooled the most was yourself.

Right now I am attempting to avoid forecasting at all, because two different solutions are possible. Last time we saw the Atlantic surge, it was followed by a weak Canadian Archipelago surge and then the Hula-Ralph surge, which, after it pressed north to the Pole, flung a bitter cold arctic high in its wake from Siberia to Canada. High pressure is again building out over the Arctic Sea from Siberia, but I’m not so sure it will slip across to Canada and allow the Atlantic surge to occur again on its rear side. This time it may just stop on the Pole, and change everything. (For one thing, Ralph would be dethroned, and RIP.)

When a high just sits on the Pole the winds circle around it, and for a while there is no export of cold air, as the Pole harbors its resources, and just gets colder and colder. However neither Siberia nor Canada actually need imports from the Pole, as they are covered with deep snow, and able to breed their own arctic highs. In the case of Canada there are many open bodies of water, (uncountable small lakes, the northern Great Lakes, [Great Bear, Great Slave, Lesser Slave, and Winnipeg),and Hudson Bay,) and this open water can moderate Arctic Air at the start of December, but which freeze over by the end of the month, and the fact waters are ice-covered allows the cold to get colder in the dark of the arctic night.

(By The Way:  Besides showing the growth of ice on Canadian Lakes and Hudson Bay, this animation also shows how the sea-ice retreated north and then grew back, first north of Bering Strait, and then in the north of Barents Sea.)

There are now three major areas producing arctic high pressure: The enormity of Siberia, the Arctic Sea, and the Tundra and Taiga of Canada and Alaska. It is a sneaky triple whammy, when things get calm and nothing seems to be happening, for what the arctic is actually doing is reloading a triple-barreled shotgun.


Just for your reference, when we talk of temperatures-north-of-80°-north-latitude, we are talking about the smallest circle at the middle of the above map. The Arctic Circle is at around 66.5°, or just inside the second circle out from the center of the above map, and the sun never shines in late December, inside that Arctic Circle.


In other words, as I now prepare to go through my maps of conditions-north-of-60°-north-latitude, you need to keep in mind there is no warming sunshine involved in most of the maps. Only around the edge of the circular maps is there a brief bit of daylight, moving around and around clockwise, like the hand of a clock, and on the ground those daylights are so brief the sunrise is indistinguishable from the sunset.

At the end of my last post we were seeing the peak of the “Surge”.

It was difficult to attend to my Christmas duties, with such interesting things going on at the Pole, but my wife kept giving me a certain look when I seemed to be slowly gravitating away from in-laws to my computer, so in actual fact I had to be very sneaky to save these maps. The sheer size of Ralph’s circulation impressed me, as did the fact the storm track again deviated north and initially came right up through Fram Strait.  A very clear “signature” of Ralph hooked milder air right up to the Pole.

After a while the sheer enormity of Ralph seemed to swivel the storm track; the south side of Ralph had west-to-east winds which sent following storms west-to-east, along the more normal North Atlantic route towards Norway.  Meanwhile the east side of Ralph swung further east, until rather than drawing oceanic air north it was drawing more continental air north. But by this time Ralph had already brought an enormous slug of mild air north, and rather than just a signature curl at the Pole the temperature-map shows Ralph began to stream mild air all the way over to the Pacific. Call it “the Stripe.” Watch how it cools. When we start thaw is bathing Svalbard, but the freezing isotherm backs steadily south.

By Christmas morning it was below freezing in Svalbard, so perhaps it was snowing there and they were getting a White Christmas, but because the sun never rises they likely stayed inside in bright lamplight and didn’t notice. The “Stripe” continued to lose a lot of the imported heat to the dark skies, and imports had ceased,  as Atlantic lows were now moving east and crashing Norway’s Christmas parties, rather than heading north.  Cold high pressure was starting to bulge north from the Siberian coast, and was wearing a mean face, as if it intended to challenge the champ, and knock Ralph off the Pole.

Today we see all that nice, mild air Ralph brought north is simply fading away. The CO2 is doing a lousy job of holding it down. The greenhouse looks like it has broken windows, for there is no Greenhouse Effect,  and I suppose this demonstrates to Alarmists that “people in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones”.

For the time being the defeated Ralph is retiring down to Norway, Sweden and Finland, perhaps because those folk know how to make winter fun.

I figure the air will continue to get colder, under the upstart high pressure that looks like it intends to be king-of-the-mountain at the Pole, but beyond that I’m befuddled about how things will proceed. I don’t think the surge-pattern can repeat, because Hudson Bay is frozen over, so it seems unlikely we can get a Ralph-reinforcement of mild air coming up through the channels and fjords of the Canadian Archipelago, like we did last time. That alone could be like a butterfly flapping its wings, and changing the consequences of chaos.

Looking at tomorrow’s map, it looks like the next Atlantic Low might turn north, but be so far south, as it bombo-genesis’s into a 950 mb low, that it loop-de-loops into Southern Greenland. This is too far south to be “Ralph”, so I guess I’ll call it “Hillary,” because the more it storms the more it disproves its points.


Judging from Hillary’s isobars, a huge slug of Atlantic mildness and moisture is going to be slammed into Greenland, hoisted higher than 10,000 feet, precipitate huge amounts of snow, and perhaps descend as a lovely, mild Chinook into Baffin Bay, but then turn the mildness south along the east coast of Baffin Bay, rather than north to the Pole. This will likely continue the amazing snows over Greenland, which is suppose to be melting away according to some Alarmists, but seems to be gaining a record-setting amount of ice and snow, according to this:


I suppose I should name the new high pressure dominating the Pole, so I guess I’ll call it “Trump.” What else could knock both Ralph and Hillary off the top?

I’m not too worried about Hillary, but I know Ralph is crafty, and will seek to send new feeder bands north to brew up a new incarnation of Ralph at the Pole. Looking at the upper atmosphere maps, (which Dr. Ryan Maue produces at the Weatherbell Site), I see one 500 mb curl of mildness attempting to sneak north in two days, but being deflected north of Greenland.


A second attempt attacks north from the Pacific, but curls west far short of the Pole, four days from now.


In fact, looking at the surface map forecast a week from now, despite an Atlantic storm crawling up the east coast of Greenland, and an Aleutian low slamming north of Bering Strait, Trump still sits on the Pole.


This does seem to be a situation unlike what we have seen in the recent past, and therefore it is likely wise to abstain from prophecy. We shall see what we shall see, and that is that.

But I likely should not deny you the autumn’s data, concerning snow-cover, now that autumn is officially over. This is not a forecast. It is a fact.


Now, if sea-ice extent of 12 million km2 matters, should not snow-cover extent of 21 million km2 matter? Furthermore, if the “albedo” of sea-ice matters, up where the sun doesn’t shine, shouldn’t the “albedo” of snow-cover matter, further south, where the sun shines all winter long?

Just a couple things to ponder, as we await a New Year. May it be a good one for you, and your family, and friends.

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