ARCTIC SEA-ICE –Ralph’s Return–

The storm I’ve been watching looks like it is heading north and will cross right over the Pole, continuing on to Canada.  “Ralph” (anomalous low pressure at the Pole) is back!

You can’t get much less “zonal” than to have storms crossing over the Pole. So my forecast is shredded. Time to go back to the old drawing board. Arno Crawing Board 2a5c1bb996b52b84daf9c5c70d02864a

My theory was that what made the flow zonal was the atmosphere getting things back in balance, and what made the flow loopy (meridional) was things being put out of balance, which would require a greater exchange of heat from the equator with cold from the Pole. Therefore an El Nino’s warming should require greater looping of the jet, while a La Nina’s cooling should flatten the jet and make things more zonal.

This definitely isn’t happening. Perhaps it is the “Quiet Sun” making the Pole cooler, and keeping things out of balance even when the La Nina cools the tropic a little. For the Pole is cooler than normal.

DMI5 0607 meanT_2018

The storm hasn’t yet made the sea-ice “extent” graph plunge all that swiftly. It continues below normal.

DMI5 0606 osisaf_nh_iceextent_daily_5years_en

The storm hasn’t yet caused the “volume” graph to crash either.  It continues unexpectedly higher for this date than at any other year of the past five.

DMI5 0607 CICE_combine_thick_SM_EN_20180607

Watching the Nullschool “winds” map, it looks like the storm is pushing the sea-ice across the top of Fram Strait, west to east, rather than flushing it south through the Strait. A polynya should form in the Kara Sea, with strong winds pushing the sea-ice north.

Null 1 FullSizeRender

But one thing fascinates me. Looking at the Nullschool sea-currents map, it looks like an eddy has formed just south of Fram Strait. For the time being this diverts a milder current, which usually heads up the east side of Fram Strait, hugging the west coast of Svalbard, and wheels it about to the south. If less mild water enters the Arctic Sea this could slow the melt.

Null 2 FullSizeRender


I’m not sure how accurate the Nullschool maps are, but they are something to keep an eye on. I’m also not sure why it took nearly to June for NOAA to update its AMO graph for April. Perhaps they don’t like the fact the AMO is trending colder.

AMO April 2018 amo_short

We will have to keep a sharp eye on the currents in the North Atlantic to see if a shifting AMO changes them. In the past there have been large changes, with fishing grounds shifting hundreds of miles further south. However the main thing that fascinates me is the loopiness of the jet stream. It has brought storms crashing into Greenland later in the spring than normal, and though some thaw has started at the edges of the ice-cap, that decrease is countered by snows at higher altitudes towards the center.

Greenland MB 20180607 todaysmb

For a while the increase in total mass resembled years where the increase fell off sharply, but now it has separated on the graph from those years, as it just keeps rising.

Greenland MB 20180607 accumulatedsmb

Last but not least, a cold AMO would tend to make it colder in eastern Canada, so we should keep an eye on Hudson Bay. Currently the melt at the edges is keeping pace with last year, but the ice in the center of the Bay is far thicker. (2017 left and 2018 right.)

All in all it is looking like it could be a fascinating summer, even without cameras. It would be indicative of a “Quiet Sun” effect, I imagine, if “Ralph” continues to reappear before the El Nino.

All we need is a volcano to blow up there to really get things crazy.

Stay tuned.

5 thoughts on “ARCTIC SEA-ICE –Ralph’s Return–

    • Yes, Real Climate Science is a site that will not allow any Alarmist Bull. Tony has the tenacity of a bulldog.

      On this site I’m more interested in what is going on, though I definitely am of a skeptical bent. I got tired of the Alarmist B.S. years ago, and started just figuring things out for myself. The Arctic is a fascinating place, and I think may be a good indicator of what we can expect further south. I wish it was warming, but think not. Another Mauder Minimum seems more likely.

      • From watching the polar regions from just after 2007 I can definitely say that short term predictions end up on the rocky shore when it comes to both Antarctic and Arctic and it is best just to watch and puzzle on these amazing and remote last bastions of the wild earth.

        On RCS I get painted as an alarmist but actually I am neutral, I just like adding the opposite viewpoint as all good science should have.

        It’s a non-trivial problem 🙂

        Will visit your blog more often. Given your background will double check punctuation and grammar. I have a journo friend and my its and it’s drive him mad.

        Have a nice weekend.


  1. Forgot to say, the storm up there is very unusual. The 2012 one happened in August, this a lot earlier, so it will be interesting to see what happens and contrast. Of course the ice is more interlocked now so maybe not the same effect as 2012. It will be bringing warm winds up from middle Siberia right onto those polynya that always develop in that sector. Ice is thicker on that side this year so it will be interesting to see which has sway.

    Been a good interesting start to the melt season in 2018.


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