ARCTIC SEA ICE —Ralph ‘s Rebound—

While attention has been diverted to hurricanes to the south, a gale has blown up at the Pole.


This storm has characteristics of the persistent low pressure at the Pole I dubbed “Ralph”. Milder-than-normal air has fed up to the Pole, like it did last year, indicative of a meridional flow rather than a zonal flow.

DMI4 0921 meanT_2017

This sort of loopy jet stream often bring cold air south, and indeed there are unseasonably early snows in Norway:


And in the West of USA:

Mount Hood Screen-Shot-2017-09-19-at-2.59.45-PM

This is the same western area that the loopy jet-stream was bringing blazing heat and forest fires three weeks ago.  Now snow is quelling the blazes, as the east of the USA gets heat. Three weeks ago our higher peaks were getting an unseasonably early dusting of snow here in my home state of New Hampshire, but now our forecast is for temperatures of 88°F Sunday and Monday (31°C), the moral being a loopy jetsream does not mean the cold will lock in at any particular spot. The irony is that the cold and heat will likely balance out, and a month of extraordinary extremes will wind up looking “average.” (Although I cynically imagine certain Alarmists will tweak and adjust the data to make the month look 0.02 degrees above normal.)

At this point I should likely confess I was expecting to see “Ralph” fade at the Pole, and a more zonal jet stream to manifest and build high pressure. Indeed there did seem to be a struggle between high pressure and low pressure at the Pole, but now “Ralph” has reappeared in a big way.

My reasoning was based around the fact the lagged effects of the major El Nino of 2015 have likely faded, and I think the appearance of Ralph was largely due to the difference between a colder Pole and warmer tropics. With the tropics cooler I figured the cause of the meridional flow would weaken.

El Nino Sept 2017 nino34_short

However perhaps that poor excuse for an El Nino last summer was enough to keep Ralph going. Or perhaps the fact the sun became briefly became very noisy at the start of September threw a wrench into the works.

Sunspots 20170906 latest_512_HMIIC

In any case, we have a gale churning away up there. It will not have the effect of an “Gustogale” because it isn’t August. In August it is hard to find temperatures below freezing over the sea ice, but now temperatures are well below freezing, and the -10°C isotherm has appeared north of Greenland.

Not that the ice-edge might not retreat in the face of southerly gales north of the East Siberian Sea, but also the Laptev freeze-up might be hurried as cold wind sweep around and chill its shallow waters.

Comparison of this year (right) with last year (left).

Last year’s storms left the ice far more scattered and shattered. Also the Northwest passage appears more frozen up this year.

Yesterday’s extent graph does not yet show the storm causing a downward blip. We will have to keep an eye on that. There may be a late minimum.

DMI4 0921 osisaf_nh_iceextent_daily_5years_en

There does seem to be a lag between when things happen in the tropics and when the effects reach the Pole, so another thing I’ll be keeping an eye on is whether the lagged effect of the developing La Nina reach the Pole in the second half of the winter. I’ll be expecting the zonal flow. I figure if I forecast it long enough, eventually I’ll be right!

Stay tuned.


3 thoughts on “ARCTIC SEA ICE —Ralph ‘s Rebound—

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