We are hunkering down, here in New Hampshire, in a blast of Arctic air transplanted south from the North Pole, as we wait to see if an east coast storm slips out to sea south of us, or clobbers us. That will likely be my next “Local View” post.

Of course, when the Pole is robbed of its very cold air we should expect a surge of milder air (by “milder” I mean -10°C rather than -40°C) to move in behind the departing cold air up at the Pole. And indeed this is what has occurred.

To state things in a simplistic manner, “Ralph”, who had wobbled over towards Siberia, allowing very cold, record-setting cold to settle in the Canadian Archipelago, came wobbling back towards the Pole, and bumped the cold down towards North America. (I’m certain my description causes some meteorologists to cringe, but I am Ralph-centric and, if I want to see all things in terms of Ralph, I am entitled, because this is my obscure blog and I’m boss here.) (Just for the record, one could also say the cold high pressure was the ruler of the situation, and rather than being “bumped” south, it “settled” south, and sucked Ralph back north in its lee, but that is not the Ralph-centric view.)

At this point I looked confidently towards the Atlantic, for that is where our surges have usually come from, but that never developed. Rather an impressive surge came north through the Bering Straits from the north Pacific, refueling Ralph and turning him into what I call a “Hula Ralph”, (because an adolescent part of me never grew up and the word “Pacific” always suggests ladies dancing in grass skirts to me.)  Dr. Ryan Maue’s great maps, over at the Weatherbell site, show this Pacific invasion clearly:

HR 1 gfs_t2m_arctic_1

This is the GFS models “initial” map, which is made up of current conditions fed into the computer, and is as close as a model ever comes to reality. My own sense was that such a surge of milder air, while no thaw, would interupt the influx of bitter air into Canada. However I was apparently utterly wrong. That “mildness” is lost to outer space with astonishing rapidity. Here is the forecast for 12 hours from now.

HR2 gfs_t2m_arctic_3

And here is the forecast for 24 hours from now:

HR3 gfs_t2m_arctic_5

In only 24 hours Ralph has consumed an amazing amount of heat. Some may say the milder air was merely “mixed”, with cold air sucked up from Siberia, but if that was true the Siberian air would be milder, but it isn’t. Others will say the milder air was “lifted”, and this is likely true, but lifted air gets colder and precipitates out water as cold snow (with the process releasing latent heat that helps the uplift of all the heat to the verge of outer space, where it is lost.) Lastly, some of the milder air has invaded the Canadian Archipelago, but let us look ahead a second day to see what happens to it there.

Here is the situation in 36 hours:

HR4 gfs_t2m_arctic_7

And here is the situation in 48 hours. What happened to the mild air in the Canadian Archipelago?

HR5 gfs_t2m_arctic_9

At this point I think it can be said that the Hula invasion didn’t warm the Pole, but rather squandered the planets supply of Pacific heat. This is bad news, because women will not wear grass skirts if it gets colder in the Pacific.

The model suggests Hula Ralph tops out as a 975 mb storm, and then starts to weaken. Three days from now all the “milder” air is used up, and some very cold air is pouring into northern Canada. (Further south some west winds may be bringing a Chinook over the Rockies, but the mildness that may occur further south in Canada is not due to the Pole being milder. In fact if you compare the 72 hour map below with the initial map above, it is incredible how much “mildness” was replaced by bitter cold. (Hula Ralph has managed to suck in a feeder band from the Atlantic, but it is so weak it is barely visible.)

HR6 gfs_t2m_arctic_13

Models diverge from reality increasingly, but it is tempting to peek ahead 12 hours to see if the cold at the top of Canada bulges south. Also to see if there is a hint where the next “surge” may come from.

HR7 gfs_t2m_arctic_15

Yes, that cold is bulging south (which is bad news for me and my plans to plant peas early). Also, besides the very weak Atlantic feeder-band, it looks like a feed might be pushing north right through the heart of Siberia. That, at least, is a sign of spring, as mildness has a hard time coming north in Siberia in January, unless it is Pacific air over towards Bering Strait.

As an aside I should note that this latest incarnation of Ralph will continue to generate west winds that will jam ice into the western approaches to the Northwest Passage, which is opposite what occurred last year.

Lastly, (and the actual point of this post), it should be noted that although the skies are brightening at the Pole, and sunrise at the North Pole is only a week away, the Arctic still has an amazing ability to squander heat. Even after the sun rises there is a net loss of heat, despite 24-hour-a-day sunshine at the Pole. The sun has to climb higher before the heat-loss ceases, and then there is only a brief period, roughly six weeks, when the Pole can help the planet at all, in terms of warming.

Stay tuned.



18 thoughts on “ARCTIC SEA ICE –Hula Ralph–

  1. Superb! At last a reasonable model of the loss of energy to space, before our very eyes. This should be a classic in its field. Erl might add some of Ren’s ozone to come down and help the uplifting experience……

    • It is interesting how much better the Arctic ocean is at losing t he airmass’s heat now that there is very little open water. The only open water is leads that seal over in a matter of hours. It is quite different in early October, when there is still open water left from the summer. Even though the days are as short or shorter, the airmass does not chill so swiftly.

      If you look back, the last “surge” that came from the Atlantic side also chilled quickly.

      • I guess there is more to get rid of then. Also water vapour, I think you may have mentioned before. The big mover the radiation nuts ignore. Loss rate comparisons with AA, with little liquid water inside the circle, would tell a story. May have seen some, somewhere.
        I just heard, you have frozen Merkel out.

      • Merkel is delayed but not denied…yet.

        I’d like to hear what they talk about.

        I think Antarctica is a completely different bit of engineering by the Creator. I’d like to study it more. It seems maritime air gets swirled around the periphery and has a very hard time penetrating inland, so an antarctic “Ralph” would be difficult to form.

  2. Good luck with your coming storm. We have a chinook building and temps have jumped about 20 C overnight and sit just above freezing. Very nice after a long period in the deep freeze.

    • What does it do to the skiing?

      Enjoy the thaw. I have a hunch another wave of cold will be heading south from the Yukon, though some models show it deflected east towards Baffin Bay.

    • No, I haven’t researched that. I have only heard a little about the idea, and am not qualified to comment. I wonder what the mechanics would be? How could magnetism effect air?

      I have heard that sunspots seem to be in some sort harmony with volcanic eruptions. That’s another case where I can’t claim to fathom the engineering. I suppose it would have to involve gravity.

    • Yes Macha, Ren taught me about connections from above (like Erl from below. They work sort of in tandem,maybe.
      “ren says:
      July 4, 2014 at 8:21 am
      Brett Keane
      For blocking (polar vortex) occurs exactly in the southern magnetic pole. See declination. There is the highest ionization by GCR (during the winter).

      In case they don’t show, the blocking high is on the Sth Magnetic pole. GCR flows down along the magnetic field lines. I guess that GCR helps energise the High, and stabilise it. Energised ie heated, ozone does work on the jetstreams as per Erl, roughly speaking. Pressures are lifted too, and destabilisation eg SSW may follow.
      Muons, heavy protons eg of iron, may penetrate and trigger magma shift at least where it is near to doing that, so some vulcanologists think..

    • Thanks. That is a great link to “ren’s” ideas.

      Ren has visited this site and shared links to data involving cosmic rays and ozone, and I joke that the upper atmosphere at that level is “above my head”.

  3. “How could magnestism affect air?”

    It cannot – directly.
    No material affects, or insulates from, magnetism. The effect of one magnet on another is completely indifferent to the interposition of whatever substance you like to try.
    Thus, it differs fundamentally from electricity. Electric influence is affected by conductors (which cannot sustain any electric stress*) and dielectrics or insulators which CAN sustain electric stress. A “dielectric” means that electric influence is carried over and through it, for “di” means “through” in this context.

    A “stress” means the combined concept of the primary force and the equal reactionary force demanded in Newton’s Third Law, which two forces, of course, act on different bodies.

    In the days when people tried to make sense of things using the concept of the ether, the distinction between electricity and magnetism was sometimes hypothesised as “stress on the ether and a consequent strain in the ether” and sometimes as “stress on the ether and consequent vortex movement in the ether.”

    *because free charges move to equalise the voltage.

    • The vacuum is a dielectric. Sometimes, common usage fools people into thinking a dielectric is essentially a substance.

    • Thanks for the explanation.

      My understanding is that the “lines” that magnetism makes (whatever they are) provide “channels” for cosmic rays, which then bombard the earth and have various effects.

      • “…(whatever they are)…”

        It is actually fairly simple; the specialist scientists who first used these terms in the 19th Century did not realise that they would inevitably confuse lay people. Or perhaps they did, and therefore relished the use of jargon!

        A North pole of a magnet , N1 , has/makes/sustains an influence around it such that another North* pole , N2, in a particular relative position to N1, WOULD (note the conditional) experience a repulsive force. And, symmetrically, N1 WOULD be repulsed by N2. It takes TWO magnetic fields to make an ACTUAL pondero-motive** force but you can imagine the layout in space*** of the field of a single pole in terms of what a “test” pole would feel in magnitude and direction****.

        The basic idea is that a test pole would whizz away and follow “a line” (not necessarily a straight line). However, since any real pole would be enveloped in a mass, you have to imagine the physical test pole being stopped from moving fast – so that inertia does not cause the line of actual motion to stray from the theoretical line.

        Therefore, it is not really a line OF force; it is a line that can be mapped out in theory by ELICITING force.

        Obviously there is an infinite number of “lines of force” as space is (thought to be) continuous. It became useful to change the picture so that a finite number of lines emanate from a pole. Through a tiny bit of surface is imagined a single line which tells you all you need to know about the magnetic influence of a somewhat bigger bit of surface thereabouts. Then, once you have decided on the units, a greater number of lines means a stronger magnetic field. It is very simple then to describe the magnetic field between the poles of say an electromagnet as “one million lines” per square cm, cutting through a plane aligned with the jaws in a uniform way.

        “Lines of force” are defined in a similar way for electric fields.

        One can see that this has very little to do with the “force-field guns” of science-fiction!

        An electrically charged particle does not interact with a magnetic field. BUT an electrically charged particle that MOVES with respect to a magnetic field DOES.
        Yet it does not follow the line of magnetic force; the interaction is more complicated.

        But certainly the reactions between a varying solar wind, cosmic rays, and earth’s magnetic field might have have effects on ordinary weather, and on global climates.

        I hope this hasn’t bored you too much.

        * A South pole would be attracted.

        ** A force which can move ponderous things, i.e. masses.

        ***EXACTLY where in space, needs further definition; let us just say, for the present, AROUND the physical magnet one sees and touches.

        ****For directions, let us use “the fixed stars” (i.e. our galaxy) as our once and for all frame of reference, since the galaxy is rotating so slowly – once every 200 million years.

      • Thanks. I have interesting stuff to ponder as I clean up after a blizzard. (Your fault, if I run the snowblower into a tree.)

  4. Pingback: ARCTIC SEA ICE —2017 MAXIMUM— | Sunrise's Swansong

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