ARCTIC SEA-ICE –The Plunge–

Now is when the blush of twilight is growing at the Pole, and temperatures up there start to rise, fostering the illusion it is warming when it is still bitter cold. (The rise, at first, is from -30°C to -25°C). The Pole continues to squander the planet’s heat.

How is the warming an illusion? Perhaps it is best explained by an analogy.

Suppose your car was headed towards a brick wall, and you applied the brakes. The speed at which approached the wall would decrease, and you could produce a graph that showed the rate at which you approached the wall was rising towards zero, but you would still see considerable damage to your car (and the bricks) if you took your foot off the brake.

In like manner, a considerable amount of freezing is still occurring at the Pole, and a considerable amount of heat is being lost to space, though spring “warming” is occurring. This will be especially obvious when we start to get reports from up there, as they start to ready the Barneo scientific base, military post, and tourist trap in March. Though “warmer”, the sea-water still freezes when they chop holes.

(By the way, those of you who want to do my wife a favor by sending me to the North Pole will be sad to learn the price has nearly doubled.)

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Besides traveling up there to see for yourself, another way to envision how the Pole continues to lose heat despite springtime “warming” is to pump a huge amount of above-normal temperatures up there, and see if the spring “warming” warms it, or if it loses heat. I was going to do this, but, just before I brought six billion party-balloons of air to the Pole, nature did it for me, and I was able to skip the bother.

Back in mid-February the air atop the earth shifted south and west in Siberia (“The Beast From the East”) at the same time it shifted south and east in Canada, (a little-noticed outbreak of arctic air into the Atlantic south of Greenland), and these two movements created a vacuum between them, and into that vacuum rushed air from both the Pacific and Atlantic, and temperatures rose to 25-30 degrees above normal at the Pole. But what then happened to that air? Did it remain at the levels it was at? Were those temperatures nudged further upwards by springtime “warming”? The DMI temperature graph tells the story:

DMI5 0314 meanT_2018

This “plunge” in temperatures didn’t occur because the imported air was exported south again, but rather because all that imported air was chilled 20 degrees over the course of two weeks. The Pole actually is now at the coldest temperature it has been all winter, despite the imports of huge amounts of maritime air. As this air chilled it grew heavier and sank, pressing down and creating high pressure.

The high pressure at the Pole is the closest I’ve come to redemption for my utterly botched forecast, which was for a “zonal” situation to lock the cold air up at the Pole so we could have an earlier spring. (To bottom-left in sketch below.) However, having been embarrassed once, I have my guard up, and I’m on the look-out for a “Ralpheena” situation, which led to arctic outbreaks. (To bottom-right in sketch below.)

Ralpheena FullSizeRender

What the “plunge” means is that the Pole has built up a supply of cold. What it will do with that cold remains to be seen. So let’s look at the maps and see if we get any hints.

When we last looked, a very weak version of “Ralpheena” was seen, with weak Atlantic imports forming a weak “Ralph” north of Greenland, and weak Pacific imports forming a weak “Hula Ralph” north of Alaska.

 

The weak Atlantic and Pacific imports never establish themselves, in the manner they did in February. We are left with a unsatisfactory hybrid, sort of half-way between “zonal” and “Ralpheena.”

(I’ll add the intervening maps later. They are on my old laptop, which is elsewhere.)

Leaping ahead, we arrive at the current situation, which is a continuation of the unsatisfactory hybrid. However, to soothe my damaged ego, I think I’ll call it “zonal”. That way I can say my botched forecast did “verify”, (although it was tardy in verifying).  (But now, just you watch. As soon as I say something the weather has a way of hitting me in the face with a pie. )

One thing I’m noting is that slight Atlantic inflow is nudging towards the Pole. In February that bumped the cold down into Siberia and created the “Beast From the East.” So I’m watching for any sort of repeat of that situation in Eurasia.

For the moment the cold is to some degree “locked up” at the Pole, but is a reality we should be wary about.

In terms of sea-ice, the extent graph continues to show low levels.

DMI5 0314 osisaf_nh_iceextent_daily_5years_en

With the cold locked up at the Pole, the sea-ice in the Central Arctic will continue to be thicker than last year, which will make the “volume” graph higher than last year (and higher than 2008, in the PIOMAS graph.) However Alarmists will take some solace in the above extent graph, and ignore the “thickness” and “volume” information below.

I tend to be interested in the “extent” graph this time of year not because it teaches us much about the Central Arctic, but rather because of what it teaches us about the edges of the sea-ice, which are outside the Arctic Sea, in the Atlantic and Pacific.

One thing to watch for, is to see if we have a late peak in the “extent” graph. This is a phenomenon we’ve seen in recent years.

Notice the abrupt rise in the “volume” graph below. It surprises me a little, and puts us well above the past two years. Do you suppose it is due to the cold being “locked in” over the Pole, and the Plunge?

DMI5 0314 CICE_combine_thick_SM_EN_20180314

There are many interesting details I’m planning to comment on, but it will have to wait until I’m done my taxes.

Stay Tuned.

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6 thoughts on “ARCTIC SEA-ICE –The Plunge–

  1. Caleb on my internet wanders yesterday I came across a Russian ice thickness map and there is a lot of thick ice in the Arctic now …. I will look for it today or perhaps u know of what I speak.

    • I’ve seen the Russian maps in the past, but would not mind a fresh link. When people are attempting the Northeast Passage you see those maps a lot.

      I saw a person comment on the Ice Age Now website that Calgary set some sort of record, for total snowfall. Did it build up, was it here-and-gone snow?

      • U need to ask my wife since I took off for my gravity research work at Fernie and have hardly been home this winter 🙂
        Seriously there was very little melting until the beginning of March and so huge snow banks and nowhere to shovel the new snow. Just like the winters in Calgary in the ’70’s according to the old timers. I moved west in 1980.

        Fernie is at 10.4 metres for the season and so slightly above the long term average of 9.7 but still almost a month of ski season left to go and so it could be epic ( or a lot of friggin’ rain )

      • Researching gravity can get interesting as you get older. My observations have been that I feel eighteen years old until I fall down.

        I have heard others compare current situations to the weather of the 1970’s, and also the 1960’s and 1950’s.

  2. I think a better analogy than a car and brick wall is a swamp cooler. As warm air is pumped into the cooler, the evaporation cooling makes your whole house cooler. IN this case, the coling isn’t evaporative, but rather radiative, but same thing. I guess another analogy would be having one of your house radiators outside. Sure, it would warm up when you pumped hot water into it, but that doesn’t mean your house is getting warmer, quite the opposite.

    • I like your analogy of the radiator outside of the house, for not only would it make little difference to the outdoors (IE thickness of sea-ice at the Pole), but it would raise your heating bill a lot when the cold radiator’s water was pumped back into your heater (IE arctic outbreaks bringing cold to unlikely places, such as the Sahara). That is why I always speak of the surges of milder air to the Pole as a “squandering” of the planet’s heat.

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