ARCTIC SEA ICE –The Surge Snipped–

The Pole continues to make for interesting theater, though the drama has died down from what it was a week ago, when temperatures were soaring to 35 degrees above normal and the ice at the north edge of Barents Sea was retreating. Fueling this weather was a strong south wind from the Atlantic that at times pushed right past the Pole towards the Pacific, thus confusing everybody, because a south wind became a north wind without changing direction.  This flow achieved its peak around November 14:

By November 16 the flow was pushing an Atlantic low and its secondary up through Fram Strait, whereupon, due to the strict laws of this website, they are automatically dubbed “Ralph”. The southerly flow, while remaining southerly, had swung east, and was now coming less off the Atlantic and more off shore from Europe, but it nearly was able to push above-freezing temperatures to the Pole.

So strong was this flow that the sea-ice, which usually is expanding south as a thin sheet of ice, was pushed north by strong wind until it was briefly well north of Franz Josef Land, and unable to refreeze because temperatures were above freezing in that area. This produced a brief and unusual dip in the ice “extent”graph, which usually is rocketing upwards at this time of year. However the ice swiftly grew back down to Franz Josef Lands’s north coast as conditions began to change, and the graph resumed its upward climb.

dmi4-1123-osisaf_nh_iceextent_daily_5years_en

The surge from the south had raised eyebrows by raising temperatures to unprecedented levels (in a history that goes back 58 years).

dmi4-1116-meant_2016

However my eyebrows were raised by the steep decline that followed.

dmi4-1126-meant_2016

This interested me because, whereas other places can get colder air from lands further north, there is no place north of the North Pole. Therefore it must get cold air imported from colder tundra to the south, but I didn’t see any strong flow from such tundras. This meant the cold must instead be home grown. Or, to put it more scientifically, the heat was lost locally, radiated upwards into the unending winter night.

Still, it seemed odd to me that the warm southerly flow should just turn off like a spigot. My curiosity sought reasons, for the cessation was obvious as early as November 17, because the first and second lows, following a storm track straight north to the Pole, (incarnations of “Ralph”), weakened with surprising speed. It was as if they were cut off from their warm inflow of mild, moist air, while the third storm in the sequence came to a dead halt and refused to head north, and just sat off the coast of Norway and twiddled its thumbs, remaining fairly strong.

I wondered if the stalled low off Norway might be consuming all the available energy, but this didn’t satisfy me, for the isobars in the above map still indicate a strong flow from the south. Why wasn’t the warmth heading out over arctic waters? The temperature anomaly map still showed the above-normal temperatures moving north in central Europe, but then being bent east at the top. What was stopping the import of heat north to the Pole?

surge-7-gfs_t2m_anom_eur_21

I’d likely still be mystified, but dawn broke on Marblehead when I visited Joseph D’Aleo’s blog over at the Weatherbell Site, and during the course of one of his elegant descriptions of complex situations he turned on the light-bulb in my noggin.

Just as a meandering stream straightens its course from time to time, cutting across the neck of a loop and leaving an oxbow lake behind

snip-1-a8dcd06cd8cd3559b399ecc64af3a2032812ccf0

So too can a loopy jet stream decide to straighten up its act, and the “surge” was part of a loopy jet:

snip-2-screen_shot_2016_11_23_at_5_15_03_am

When a jet straightens up it act, the cut off part of the stream is not called an “oxbow”, but rather a “cut off”, (which shows that meteorologists are occasionally more sensible than geologists).  By November 23 the upper air maps showed the “cut off low” was sitting down over Spain. Over Spain a large part of the surge was no longer heading north, but caught up and going around and around and around, like a taxpayer caught up in a bureaucracy.

snip-3-ecmwf_uvz500_eur_5

You will notice that at the top of the above map the jet is basically zooming west to east. The surge from the south has vanished, making a mess of all my forecasts that calculated the surge would move east this far one day, and this far further east the next. The surge simply disappeared, or at the very least fell over and surged west to east. It was confusing. (Actually the same thing happens when I straighten up my own act. It confuses people who depend on me to be loopy.)  In any case, this morning’s surface map had a reflection of the cut-off-low stalled over Spain, but what about the North Atlantic low? It will plow west-to-east across Scandinavia in the jet, nothing like the lows that headed straight north, last week.uk-met-20161126-42268142

The tipped over surge can be seen giving some relief to central Asia in the temperature maps.

snip-4-gfs_t2m_asia_2

In the anomaly map the west-to-east surge looks like an arrow, making a layer cake out of the map (to mix my metaphors). The old cold is to the south, still capable of generating a few headlines, but likely to be slowly moderated out of existence. The new cold is along the top, and likely needs to be watched, for it seems likely to be a lasting feature. The “surge” itself seems likely to linger but weaken, but will remain interesting to watch.  At the very least it will give some Asians a break, after they have been through an autumn colder than some winters.

snip-5-gfs_t2m_anom_asia_2

But this is all off the point, which was (in case you can’t remember), that the mild air is not surging up to the Pole any more, and that the vast pool of mild air that was transported up there is slowly cooling, day by day.

I should note that Joseph D’Aleo mentioned that when a jet really gets roaring west to east it can act downright human. (After humans have straightened out their act, what tends to happen next? Answer: Their resolve buckles.) In like manner, we should be on our toes, watching for where the jet will next buckle, and get all loopy, (like a human falling off the wagon after keeping a New Year’s resolution as long as they can bear it).   However, for the time being, up at the Pole, “Ralph” has little hope of reinforcements from the Atlantic.

Not that “Ralph” has vanished completely. Largely he has retreated to the Canadian Archipelago, as high pressure dominates the Arctic. At the end of my last post there actually was a small ghost of Ralph by the Pole, and hint of Ralph’s “signature” in the temperature map, hooking mildness towards the Pole, despite the power of the expanding high pressure. (See the tiny low by the Pole?)

The next day Ralph’s ghost was just a dent in the high pressure’s isobars. Freezing temperatures had snuck down to the northeast coast of Svalabard.

 

The next dawn Ralph, like all good ghosts, was vanishing, because that is what ghosts do at dawn. (If you you squint you can still see a microscopic low under the Pole.) The only real import of air towards the Pole was from central Siberia.

The following dawn saw an odd dimple in the high pressure’s isobars, on the Canadian side. It looked like (if you use your imagination) a face, that the ghost of Ralph had punched. Freezing temperatures were engulfing Svalbard. By evening the ghost of Ralph reappeared, (as good ghosts do at dark), just north of the Canadian Archipelago.

Today saw the freezing isotherm slump well south of Svalbard, and Ralph retreat and regroup north of Canada. Models are suggesting Ralph will soon start attacking the Pole from the Canadian side, though with colder air than before. The North Atlantic flow is totally from the north, and Scandinavia looks likely to get a dose of north winds.

The north winds are allowing the sea-ice to build south again where the “surge” had forced it to retreat, in the north part of Barents Sea, and sea-ice is again touching the north coast of Franz Josef Land. There was also a slight reduction on the Pacific side, due to strong south winds and a brief mild inflow a week ago, but that has been more than made up for by regrowth, which has now engulfed Wrangle Island.

concentration-20161125-attachment-1

A major difference from last year is that Hudson Bay was half skimmed-over last year, and the refreeze hasn’t even started this year. I think this will soon change. The Bay’s waters are shallow, and it tends to freeze over with remarkable speed, which contributes to the speed of the growth of the “extent” graph.  I’ll bet a nickle the Bay is entirely frozen by Christmas.

Even though the flow from central Siberia has been weak, it appears to have nudged the thicker ice just off shore, in the Laptev Sea. Watch for the formation of polynyas along the shore there, for that is indicative of the export of ice into the Central Arctic Basin.

Baffin Bay is swiftly icing over, but remains behind last year’s rate of growth..

The Kara Sea’s sea-ice shrank back before the “surge”, but that sea has since swiftly grown sea-ice on its eastern side.

The reversing winds have seen multi-year ice start down through Fram Strait, along the east coast of Greenland, but the ice down towards the coast opposite Iceland in Denmark Strait is largely home grown.

thickness-20161125-attachment-1

I’m not sure how it is possible, but some models see a colder version of Ralph moving up from Canada to regain complete control of the Pole in a week to ten days. Stay tuned.

ARCTIC SEA ICE –Yet Another Swirl–

Well, it is happening again. Warm air has swirled up to the Pole, where of course it rises, and forms low pressure right where the textbooks say the air should be sinking, and there should be high pressure. At the risk of boring those who visit this site often, here is the textbook idea:

Polar Cell cells_mod

This winter there has often been rising air, rather than descending air, over the Pole, because the Creator doesn’t need textbooks. In fact He never bothered go to college, because according to stuff I’ve read He was something called “omnicient” even back before He invented time. I wouldn’t know about that, because I do need to study, and even then I don’t know all that much. But I do know when the textbooks are wrong.

I think they have been wrong this winter because the El Nino pumped a lot of extra heat into the atmosphere, and, because our planet is always trying to smooth out the difference between hot places and cold places, the jet stream had to become more “loopy” (meridienal) to transfer the heat to the Pole. Rather than low pressure parading around the Pole in a nice, orderly “zonal” manner, lows have headed right up to the Pole itself.

At times it is possible to use the above textbook diagram, even with a low sitting atop the Pole. You just assume the descending  air has been displaced, and look for a high pressure area away from the Pole, and call that the “new center” of the above diagram. But the problem is that sometimes there are two, three or four high pressure areas, and they actually seem to be parading around the low pressure at the Pole, as if the above diagram needs a fourth circulation and a fourth cell, (to the left of the polar cell) called the “super-polar cell”, for at times the theoretical “high pressure at the Pole” has a hole of low pressure in the middle, like a doughnut.

Other times I think that towards the Pole the Coriolis effect is different, and the atmosphere can’t be bothered parading around in circles. If it has a job to do, it takes the shortest route. If it has El Nino heat to be rid of, it just heads to the Pole and gets rid of it, and to hell with the textbooks.

The current map has a bit of the “doughnut” look, with a ridge of high pressure being pumped across the northmost North Atlantic behind the polar swirl, though the storm will not linger at the Pole long. The “swirl” shows up nicely in the temperature map.

Be that as it may, everything is about to change. Even before we have figured out what happened we’ll be busy figuring out a new thing that is happening. First, we are approaching a very small window of time when the Pole isn’t constantly losing heat, but briefly gains heat from 24 hour sunshine, (and winds have to alter to get rid of the extra heat, for a few midsummer weeks). Second, the El Nino is no more, and a La Nina is rapidly appearing, which will greatly decrease the amount of heat the atmosphere has to get rid of, by sending it north to the Pole. If less heat heads north, what might the effects be?

In other words, the swirl we are seeing may be the last one. One feels a certain melancholy, as if saying goodbye to an old friend.

As this low swings up to loop near the Pole and then falls away towards Siberia I’d like to point out a few things Alarmists seem to miss, in their joy over El Nino effects. (They are pleased because the meridienal flow brings warm air up to the Pole, and slightly decreases the extent of sea ice at the edges. This seemingly, and perhaps only briefly, verifies their theory that the Pole is warming, is in a “Death Spiral”, and the Arctic Ocean will be ice free and absorb so much sunshine that we’ll all suffer terrible consequences.  Why this pleases them I don’t know, but it does.) (Maybe “misery loves company”.)

The problem is that a meridienal flow doesn’t just bring warmth north, but also brings cold south.  There have been snows in places that don’t see much snow, such as Saudi Arabia and Mexico, the past winter. And even when such places melt away the snow in a single day, the “albedo” of snow is particularly gigantic in southerly places where the sunlight is intense. In fact Saudi Arabia reflected more sunshine back to outer space in five minutes last January than the entire North Pole did in the months of December and  January. When this data was plugged into an Alarmist computer model, the government threatened to cut off their funding, (or so I have concluded, perhaps unfairly.)

This last fling of the fading El Nino, with its final low at the Pole, seems to not only be bringing snows to France in April, but even to me, here in New Hampshire in North America. Even if the snow only whitens the landscape for an hour, the amount of sunshine reflected as it melts will make all the “albedo” models change their conclusions, or they would change their conclusions, if the people plugging in the data were allowed to include all the data.

For what its worth, here’s the radar shot of the  snow and sleet  over New Hampshire this morning.

20160426 rad_ne_640x480

And here’s a forecast map of the frost (pink) over Britain, France and Germany tomorrow (Wednesday) morning.

Europe Frost April 27 gfs_t2m_eur_5

The simple fact of the matter is our planet has myriad ways of balancing things out.

The meridienal pattern has also made the arctic stormy, and winds have shifted the sea-ice about and caused much cracking of the ice. Open water has appeared even when temperatures were down at midwinter depths, approaching -40°.  Alarmists like this, as they assume this shows the ice is weak, and will melt more easily in the summer. In actual fact exposing the sea to the cold may warm the midwinter air, but it cools the sea, and also creates more sea-ice.  You see, a lead five miles wide cannot form without piling up five miles of ice at some other spot in the arctic, and at the same time exposing sea-water to freezing, forming five miles of new ice in an area which, if it was protected by a roof of ice, would have formed far less ice. In actual fact, in the past we have seen that a lot of lead-formation (which seems to prefer the Beaufort Sea), actually creates so much extra ice and so cools the waters that the summer melt is reduced, not increased.

Lastly, Alarmists seem to rejoice when north winds flush sea-ice south into the warm tendrils of the Gulf Stream that enter the arctic either side of Svalbard. They are happy because you can see the sea-ice melt very quickly, with satellite views. What they do not seem to calculate is how much colder these currents become, if forsed to melt so much ice, and what effect that may have on the current’s ability to melt the bottom of the sea-ice, when the current gets farther north. Furthermore, the same north winds that bring the sea-ice south to the milder currents are bringing cold air to ruffle the top of the currents, not only chilling the top-most water, but reversing the direction of the topmost water.

Alarmists should hope for south winds between Norway and Svalbard, to hurry the tendrils of the Gulf Stream north. When those waters see north winds, as are blowing now, the Gulf Stream is not being assisted. Its waters are being chilled, and the topmost part of the current is actually blown south, which creates all sorts of interesting turbulence between south-moving surface waters and north-moving depths.  It is not a situation conducive to hurrying warmth north and speeding the melt of sea-ice.

In Conclusion, I’d say the effects of the El Nino are nowhere near as simple as some make them out to be. Already I’ve been proven wrong about some of my assumptions. Who would ever assume increasing the heat in the atmosphere would give Kuwait its first snowfall we have records of?

And, if increasing the heat can increase the snowfall in an ordinarily hot desert, might it not increase the sea-ice in an ordinarily cold sea? I’m not saying it will, but I am being humble and saying I’m not sure the after-effects of the El Nino will decrease the sea-ice extent this summer. In fact I’m betting my nickle that the sea-ice extent minimum will be the same as last year, next September, (and I think anyone who bets more than a nickle is a fool.)

The coming La Nina will decrease the heat. We need to be humble about our certainty (or lack of it) about the effects that will have, as well. If the atmosphere becomes more zonal, than general cooling will make sub-polar regions warmer.

By the way, O-buoy 13 shows moisture is being drawn north through Bering Strait. This will dust the black-ice of the new leads with white snow.

Obuoy 13 0426 webcam

The moisture hasn’t made it further east to O-buoy 14, so new leads near it will still have black ice.

Obuoy 14 0426 webcam

With black ice here and white ice there, can you imagine how difficult it would be to create an “albedo” model that was truly accurate?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ARCTIC SEA ICE –Insomnia Cure–

I was laying in bed last night contemplating customers, carrots and other things I’m suppose to consider, during the spring on a Farm-childcare, when sea-ice came drifting through my consciousness. It’s usually a sign sleep is creeping up, and worldly worries are melting away. Last night it led to some delightful, dazing dreaminess I doubt I can fully replicate, but which show the complexity of even a thing as simple as water.

Yesterday I was briefly discussing how a tendril of the Gulf Stream, coming north, for a time rides at the top of the ocean, but then takes a dive under the colder waters. For a time it is less dense than surrounding waters, but then it becomes more dense.

This occurs because there are two variables involved. First, there is temperature, and second, there is salinity. The Gulf Stream is more salty than surrounding waters, because it was subjected to a lot of evaporation down in the hot tropics before it came north. Salty water wants to sink. However the Gulf Stream is much warmer than surrounding waters. Warmer waters want to rise.

An analogy is needed. Imagine the water coming north is a bunch of hot air balloons. As long as the air in the balloons is hot, the balloons remain high, but gradually they cool, until they reach a momentous occasion where they take a dive.

It is a simple enough thing to model this on your multi-million dollar computer. First you need to loot the wallets of drained tax-payers, and then you convince the government to print up some extra money. Easy as pie, when you are falling asleep and in a dream world, but I find it easier to command the non-virtual reality in dreamland, and to model the two variables outside computers in the fresh air.

Instantly Fram Strait is experiencing complete calm. What’s more it has been doing so for weeks. The Gulf Stream, coming north, does so in a glassy stillness, and the point where it dives beneath colder water can be seen by the way sea-gull feathers drifting north in the current come to a halt.  The waters to the north are still, even stagnant.

IE:  In dreamland we have simplified things to a degree where slowly moving water is sliding beneath still water. If course we can’t have water coming in without water going out, but let’s have that happen someplace else, so it won’t mess up our dreamland model. Also, of course, you can’t have a fluid in motion moving past a still fluid without this annoying thing called “turbulence” making little whirls along the boundary, like little storms along a front. Fortunately our dreamland model has a “mute” key that dampens that stuff away. In the end we have a nice simple scenario.

Now, as we slip deeper into dreamland and our brains gain super-powers, let’s have a little fun by adding another variable or two.  Let’s reduce the amount of warming due to sunlight, as winter comes and the sun sinks  low.  Or let’s chill the air. This cools the Gulf Stream tendril coming north more quickly, so it reaches the magical point where salinity trumps heat five miles further south.

Oh oh. Problem. If the water sinks earlier, the completely static water which it is sinking under has to move, doesn’t it? Doesn’t it have to move south to fill in the space above the sinking water?

Or suppose we change the salinity of the Gulf Stream heading north. How?  How about a tropical storm dumping a foot of warm rain. Now the tendril wants to come further north before sinking. Would not it plow into the static surface water, and make it move?

But how about both chilling the water and reducing the salinity? How are we going to manage that?

What’s that you say? Why don’t we redirect all the sea-ice heading south along the east coast of Greenland, in that cold current, and push it across Fram Strait into the warm current heading north?  That will both cool the northbound tendril of the Gulf Stream, and make it less salty, you say?

Funny you should say that, for that is exactly the scenario we were looking at yesterday, as vast amounts of ice were melted just west of Svalbard. Svalfloe 3 svalbard 15

Ordinarily it is at this point I get a headache, but when I am falling asleep the implications have a nice way of knocking me over the brink into unconsciousness. Sort of like an uppercut to the jaw. As I pass out, I am usually pondering one of three things.

First, if you cool the water heading north, and lower its salinity,  how will this effect the melt from beneath to the north? In Theory, if you dumped enough ice into the northbound water, you could so cool and so dilute the current that it wouldn’t be all that different from the water to the north, and could skip the bother of sinking beneath it. What effect would that have on surface currents, and submarine currents?

Second, how many more buoys will the taxpayers allow before they come with burning torches? We don’t need a mere string of buoys across Fram Strait. We need north-south strings. We need surface reports and reports at depth, so we can have a 3-D picture of the daily fluctuations of temperature, salinity, and the speed the water is moving, like the weather-maps we get for the air above.

Lastly, what does it mean if ice does not travel in the cold, southbound current to the southerly tip of Greenland? Through much of the winter the ice levels were low, because ice was held back at the Pole, and much of the ice off the east coast of Greenland was “home grown”. Now even more ice is being deprived of it’s right to take the normal route because it has headed across to the wrong lane of the two-lane highway in Fram Strait. Will less ice off the south tip of Greenland make that water warmer?  (Currently there is a fringe of warmer-than-normal water right along the Greenland coast, but then waters are colder-than-normal clear across to Spain.)

Usually thinking about all this is quite enough to cure insomnia. If necessary, you can add another variable: Wind.  A strong wind can move surface water. What effect does a cold north wind have on a current coming from the south? Do you have a current heading south at the surface even as it heads north deeper down? Oh oh. Time to hit that “mute” key again, as I see turbulence rearing its head.

In the end I think very few things travel in the nice neat lines shown by textbooks. I am old enough to remember the way the Gulf Stream was portrayed in textbooks before we could see the surface with heat-sensitive satellites. It was nothing like this:

Gulf Stream images

I have a vivid memory, from back in those pre-satellite days, of attending a class held to make the general public more aware of beach erosion and why we should alter our attitudes about where we built marinas and beach houses. It was taught by a knowledgeable young scientist, and in the audience was a garrulous old fisherman. For some reason the subject got off the topic of beaches and moved out into the Gulf Stream, and at that point the fisherman began to talk about “warm whirlpools” and “cold whirlpools” and how he’d use them to hunt the best places to fish, and the young scientist rolled his eyes, as if the old man was talking nonsense, and finally the young man cut the fisherman off, making it obvious he felt the man was inventing tall tales. Later I always wondered what the scientist thought, when he saw the first satellite images come in, showing exactly what the old fisherman had described.

Perhaps it is for this reason that I, meaning no disrespect to scientists, am less than certain the map below is fully accurate.

Svalfloe 4 svalbard current

The thing I am watching for are the changes fishermen described the last time the AMO shifted from “warm” to “cold”. They were dramatic.

In any case, I highly recommend thinking about this stuff next time you have trouble sleeping.

In more mundane matters,  The DMI maps continue to show the high pressure over towards Bering Strait, and the low nudging toward the Pole, but weakening.

I’m worried they may have had troubles with the airstrip at Barneo, as there have been no reports since the 18th. You can see the ice is “active” across the Pole in the NRL “Speed and Drift” map from yesterday.

Speed and Drift 20160422 arcticicespddrfnowcast

This map also shows ice is likely moving away from the northwest coast of Hudson Bay.

In terms of the Northwest Passage, the western approach looks like it is opening up nicely, with ice moving away from the coast of Alaska. However the ice in Baffin Bay seems to be being crammed north into the eastern approaches.

Lastly, it looks like ice continues to be exported to the “wrong side” of Fram Strait.

The thickness map shows an odd little mountain range of thicker ice crossing right over the pole. (Not really a mountain range, but worth noting: 9 feet thick rather than six feet thick.)

Thickness 20160422 arcticictnnowcast

 

Lastly the “Race Against Time” expedition has been reporting struggling over a lot of pressure ridges as they approach the Pole from the Russian side. Mark Wood mentioned the ice was much flatter when he skied the route two years ago. At last report they had crossed 89 degrees north. Unfortunately they only report by satellite phone, without pictures.

 

 

ARCTIC SEA ICE –Killing Fields–

The true “Killing Fields” were places in Cambodia where innocent people were slaughtered by the insanity of the Khmer Rouge genocide, back when I was in my early twenties. It was a horrible place and time, and a bitter disillusionment for those who felt peace would come if American forces withdrew from Southeast Asia. “Killing Fields” are two words which should be accorded respect, not because genocide has a shred of dignity, but out of respect for the more than a million innocent people who died. “Killing Fields” are not words which should be used to describe an area where sea-ice melts.

But Certain Alarmists are not known for having good taste. John Cook, creator of the Skeptical Science website, and creator of of the preposterous “97%-of-all-scientists-believe-in-man-made-Global-Warming” soundbite which even the American president quotes, seems to find the Nazi uniform either humorous or attractive. There used to be plenty of examples of this “humor” at his website, but they were removed due to embarrassment, but the web never forgets, and they were preserved here:

Skeptical Science takes ‘creepy’ to a whole new level

However a single picture of John Cook from his own website will suffice to make my point about bad taste.

John Cook Nazi1_herrcook

Considering one reason I was originally attracted to the subject of sea-ice was because of the sheer beauty of the snowscapes, there is something repellent in the connection some Alarmists make to the most foul episodes of human history. The simple fact I am dubbed a “Denier” epitomizes the bad taste, for that word formally was reserved for those who denied the foulness of the Nazi genocide.

In actual fact I think associating those-who-point-out-the-obvious (that the sea-ice has failed to melt away as predicted) with mass murderers is more of an example of “denial” and “fascist behavior” than any of my own many examples of bad manners, (due to my short temper). It denies there is a difference between the honesty involved in being forthright, and the brutality involved in killing those who disagree. Nor does it just water-down this difference. It becomes the very  ugliness it accuses others of being.

I can endure being told I’m mistaken. In fact, once I smooth my ruffled feathers, I actually admire the people who correct me, for I am big and can have a fierce face, and sometimes the people correcting me have been quite small and by nature timid. The fact they have the courage to tug at my sleeve and, in a most polite manner, tell me I’m a fool, is something that touches my heart. It moves me.

I am moved in a different manner when Alarmists say Skeptics should be prosecuted, imprisoned,  and even shot. I understand they think they are saving the world, but so did the Khmer Rouge.

Therefore, besides mentioning it to make the above point, I am not going to use the words “Killing Fields” to describe places where the sea-ice melts. To do so seems bad taste. Why? Because the Khmer Rouge took pictures of their fellow Cambodians, who they were about to kill; their actual neighbors who might be guilty of only having a writer’s-callous on their middle finger (which proved they were “guilty” of being “polluted” by Western concepts), and I have seen those pictures, and the eyes of those innocents haunt me.

We need to remember them. We need to stand up to bullies, even when they claim they are “saving the world”. This is not a time when silence is golden. Rather silence is a sin.

To avoid losing my temper and raving like a lunatic, what I am going to try to do is simply point out the beauty inherent in the Truth.  I’ll start by avoiding using the phrase “Killing Fields” and instead using something that means “Areas conducive to sea-ice melt.” I suppose I could use the acronym ACTSIM, but we already have too many acronyms.  I’m just going to call them “melt-areas”.

The best way to become aware of where they are is to go lurk at Alarmist sites. Doing so is sort of amusing, because Alarmists huddle over sea-ice maps like generals over maps of a battlefield. It is as if they are waging a war over sea-ice, and cheer the melt of the smallest ice-cube. (It has never made much sense to me, as they also assert less ice is a bad thing.)

There is often a bit of confusion apparent, as open water can appear in the arctic that involves no melting at all. A wonderful example is currently occurring off the northwest coast of Alaska. High pressure has been parked over the Beaufort Sea for a fortnight, bringing that area winds steadily from the east.

The movement of the ice can be seen in the NRL map:

Speed and Drift 20160420 arcticicespddrfnowcast

Strong winds like this do not melt ice. They move it. When it moves away from shore an area of open water forms. It is called a “polynya” if it is close to shore. In the dead of winter it swiftly skims over, but now, with the sun up and days longer than the nights, temperatures are not so cold and the open water skims over more slowly.

In the past, north of Alaska this has tempted adventurers to make an early start at the Northwest passage. The only problem is that, if the winds shifts, the ice can come right back to shore. A couple of springs ago one such gutsy sailor found his boat suddenly surrounded not only by sea-ice but by curious polar bears. He stuck it out much longer than I think I could have managed, but after a harrowing ten days the coast guard sent out an ice-breaker to rescue him.

That being said, a look at the NRL map shows the pocket of light purple northwest of Alaska, indicating a skim of thin ice six inches to a foot thick (and likely slushy “pancake ice” as well).

Thickness 20160421 arcticictnnowcast

What is less apparent is that the “missing” ice hasn’t melted. It has been crunched up over towards Russia. The Alarmist sites are not big on mentioning this, and tend to crow about the thinner ice, and how swiftly it will melt in the summer.

It may, but we shall see. As soon as the ice gets dusted by snow it is just as white as thicker ice, and reflects sunlight just as well. The real melt comes from below, from the Pacific, and the Pacific is two degrees colder than last spring, south of Being Strait.

Another interesting area is the northwest side of Hudson Bay. There the ice has been pushed away from the coast as well, and the new ice is thin. However, like last year, all that moved-ice is crunched up to the southeast.

But none of these areas involves melting, this early in the spring.  If you want to see a real area of melting you need to travel to the east side of Fram Strait, right off the west coast of Svalbard. A warm tendril of the Gulf Stream moves north there, often keeping the east and northeast coasts of Svalbard ice-free even in the dead of winter, even when the north winds are cold and bringing the sea-ice south. This is a true “melt-area”, where you can watch sizable ice floes dissolve. (You can see the streamers of cloud made by the cold winds as they shift from west to north, in the pictures below.)

Svalfloe 1 svalbard 11Svalfloe 2 svalbard 13Svalfloe 3 svalbard 15

It should be obvious the melt is not due to the very cold winds, nor to trace amounts of CO2. It is due to the marvelous meanderings of the Gulf Stream, and the fact a tendril passes that way.

Svalfloe 4 svalbard current

 

The yellow dot in the above map is where the warm water takes a dive, and starts flowing under the cold water. If you wonder how warm water can sink and cold water can rise, it is due to the salinity. Salty water sinks and more brackish water rises, and the yellow dot represents where the salinity starts to trump the temperature.

What is fascinating is how variable this “yellow dot” can be. If more ice moves over that warm current it makes the water both fresher, as it melts, and colder.

This is what people should be focused on, and not the obscure and likely inestimable amount CO2 effects the temperature of ocean currents. Why? because, with the AMO wavering on the verge of shifting from the “warm” to “cold” phase, the ingredients that go into where the current takes a dive and the “yellow spot” will be located  will also change.  That in turn will effect where ice forms and where it melts, which in turn will effect the weather, and where fishermen can fish, and even where the fish will be.

Some big changes are already starting to appear in the sea-surface-temperature anomaly maps. The biggest is the bit of blue just off the coast of Peru, indicative of the El Nino fading into a La Nina.

SST 20160418 CgahiESWwAAuZoW

Also notice how the “Warm Blob” in the north Pacific has eroded, and now in some ways is becoming a “Cold Blob”, while the odd “Cold Blob” south of Iceland has spread over to the coast of Spain. The AMO is still “warm” due to the milder waters north of Norway, but this is not a typical “warm” AMO.

Lastly, look at the chart of the AMO below, and consider the year 1975. What changes might we expect, if those conditions return? How might the “yellow spot” by Svalbard shift?

AMO 201603 esrl-amo-thru-mar-2016

 

 

 

 

ARCTIC SEA ICE –A Changing Pattern–(Updated Sunday Night)

The DMI maps are available again at long last, and seem to indicate the low pressure over the Pole is filling in, and the cold is starting to rebuild.                          DMI3 0122 mslp_latest.big DMI3 0122 temp_latest.bigDMI3 0122B mslp_latest.bigDMI3 0122B temp_latest.big

Deep low pressure continues to stall between Iceland and Greenland, creating a southerly flow up through the North Atlantic, but the associated fronts and lows aren’t making the same progress past Fram Strait towards the Pole. The UK Met maps show the current storm weakening as it crawls from Denmark Strait up to Fram Strait, as a new Gale replaces it by midday Sunday down in Denmark Strait. Note all the fronts occlude and tangle to the north, failing to progress north. (Click maps to clarify and enlarge.)

UK Met 20160122 31143270 UK Met 20160122 2 day for 31146915

The Atlantic flow is expected to slowly collapse south and east, until it pours across Northern Europe.  (Jospeph D’Aleo has an excellent post about this shift at the Weatherbell Professional Site.) This will squeeze the cold currently over Europe back down over poor, snowbound Turkey (and any Syrian refugees) and then down to the Middle East, as western Europe gets a break from its current cold, and even may get some rain, but eastern Europe and Russia gets yet more snow. This developing spear of milder temperatures shows up especially clearly in Dr. Ryan Maue’s Canadian JEM model map for temperatures next Monday.DMI3 0122B cmc_t2m_asia_11It is not particularly “warming” to increase the Siberian snow-pack, which has been generating a copious supply of cold air this year. It’s to be hoped that the spear of mildness is bent southeast down to Mongolia, which has been suffering bitter cold, as the cold generated over Siberia’s snows escaped south towards China. The excellent researcher and contributor the Ice Age Now site,  Argiris Diamantis, found this press release about Mongolia’s plight, (which I haven’t seen mentioned in the mainstream media):

 Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF) to support Mongolian herders facing severe winter. Published: 19 January 2016
The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) has released 158,000 Swiss francs (157,686 US dollars) from its Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF) to assist 1,500 herder families (7,500 people) in Mongolia who are at risk of losing all their livestock to extreme sub-zero temperatures and heavy snowfall.
Based on the latest assessment report released by the Mongolian Government in early January 2016, 50 soums (districts) in 16 aimags (provinces) are currently categorized as being affected by dzud (the Mongolian term for severe winter conditions), while 120 soums in 20 provinces are facing a winter situation that is very close to dzud.
Snowfall and snowstorms are expected to continue unabated in the coming weeks with average temperatures of below -25 degrees Celsius during the day and around -40 degrees at night. This will potentially affect more than 965,000 people, especially vulnerable herders. The herders, most of whom are now facing difficult weather conditions and shortage of hay and fodder, are expected to start losing their livestock in the coming weeks. In order to obtain cash to buy food, hay and other necessities many herders have started selling their animals before they perish in the severe weather. However, the oversupply of livestock resulted in very low market prices, forcing herders to sell at abnormally unfavourable prices. This situation will have the worst consequences for vulnerable families with smaller herds.

(From http://iceagenow.info/17683-2/#more-17683 )

(This sad situation introduced me to a new word, “dzud”, which is a Mongolian word for the mass death of livestock.)

Besides the cold air escaping south, it is pouring east into the Pacific, giving Korea its bitterest cold of this winter, and speeding the freeze of Pacific coastal waters to the northeast, the Sea of Japan and especially the Sea of Obhotsk further north. These waters, outside the Arctic Ocean, have had below-normal-sea-ice so far this winter, and are one reason the ice extent graphs show “less than normal” ice. (Map from Wikipedia)240px-Sea_of_Okhotsk_mapWhile ice in these waters likely has a part to play in the intricate engineering of the PDO, it is likely wrong to put too much weight to the up-ticks in the extent graphs any increase here might create, (especially as ice on Chesapeake Bay and Delaware Bay were not included in “sea-ice extent graphs” last winter.) Also, in terms of the reflected sunlight and “albedo” equations that mean so much to some Alarmist theories, the amount of snow over Siberia (and Canada) should be factored in, as it far exceeds this possible increase of ice, but the albedo of snow-pack often isn’t included.

The thing I’m noticing more and more is how Siberia generates cold air masses, and what a huge factor this is all over Eurasia, and even across the Pole in Canada. Siberia is a gigantic region, and even the snow currently blocking the mountain passes in the North African nation of Tunisia can be traced back to the Steppes.

In any case, to return from Africa to the subject of the Arctic Ocean, some of the Siberian cold seems to be pouring north, and I am going to be keenly watching to see if the temperatures up at the Pole take a dive, after being relatively high during the time Atlantic air was flowing up that way. (The DMI has finally posted a new graph, for the mean temperatures north of 80 degrees latitude.)DMI3 0122 meanT_2016While temperatures have been as much as ten degrees above normal at the Pole, it should be noted this is no heatwave, and represents a mean temperature of -20C, at the “mildest”. This is “below zero”, for people like me who use Fahrenheit, and quite obviously no melting has been going on during this “heat wave”, (except for a brief thaw on the Atlantic side, that lasted only a matter of hours.)

I will also be keenly watching to see if a rebuilding of cold at the Pole is accompanied by a break from the cold, a so-called “January Thaw”,  further south. As it is, when milder temperatures push north colder temperatures seem to be pushed south, and, even as I write, a nor’easter is blowing up on the eastern coast of the USA, creating quite a hubbub, as the snows are falling further south than they did last winter, and Washington D.C. is getting clouted.

In a sense it seems to me almost as if the Arctic is breathing. It breathed cold out, and had to breathe warmth north to replace that cold, (or perhaps vice-versa). Now it is breathing the other way. The cold is refilling the Arctic Sea, but likely will be again exhaled, leading to the next outbreak of winter storms.

Spring seems a long way away, but we are currently at the depth of the cold, the bottom of the bottom. The coldest surface temperatures are usually around January 20, down where I live in New Hampshire, and the coldest temperatures aloft occur around February 1. I even saw a true sign of spring today, which was the first advertisement by “Quark Expeditions”, for people like me who would like to travel up to the Russian Barneo Base, a yearly airbase (and military exercise) that exists for roughly 45 days on the sea-ice at the North Pole. (Unfortunately I lack the $15,000.00 needed for a ticket, but surely some good reader will fund my research). (I want to meet and interview the fellows putting up next year’s North Pole Camera.)

http://www.quarkexpeditions.com/en/press-releases/2015/02/north-pole-land-or-sea-barneo-ice-camp-and-icebreaker-expedition-voyage-0

The sea-ice will keep expanding at the edges for another month, and in some areas the ice keeps growing thicker right into the spring, so there is still much to watch. Besides watching to see if there is late growth in below-normal Pacific areas such as the Sea of Okhotsk and Bering Sea, it will be interesting to watch the below-normal parts of Barents Sea on the Atlantic side, especially around Svalbard.Concentration 20160120 arcticicennowcastOf course a lot concerning the ice is very difficult to gauge. Is the ice tortured by storms, and crammed into pressure ridges? Is it thinner, due to greater snows acting as a muffler? The Navy’s thickness map attempts to measure this, but has some shortcomings.Thickness 20160121 arcticictnowcastOne thing I’ve noticed about the thickness map is that it can’t really tell you whether or where the ice will or won’t melt in the summer, as that is partly caused by where the ice moves, and also is dependent on the temperature of the water moving in, under the ice. Water temperatures are important, and it is great fun trying to figure out what the oceans are up to.

One of the most important factors in the flow of the currents involves the antics of the AMO and PDO, so I try to watch what they are up to

The AMO is still staying up in its “warm” phase (whereas last year it was taking a dive, in January). AMO January amo_short

The Pacific, on the other hand, seems likely to become colder, with the El Nino starting to fade, the so-called “Warm Blob” looking less robust, and the PDO starting down.PDO January pdo_short

One thing becoming apparent to me, as I try to fathom something as huge as even one of the oceans, is that the sloshes represented by the AMO and PDO are brought about by some mighty big butts in the bathtubs. Things such as the magnificent moods of the Sun, and the bigger volcano eruptions, can take a nice predictable cycle and knock it all out of whack. As I look back in time I can see all sorts of evidence of a sixty-year-cycle, but also times when a world shaking event, such as the eruption of Tamboro in 1815, threw some cannonballs into the bathtubs, and added sloshes to the sloshes. Considering some of the ocean’s up-wellings contain waters that are over a thousand years old, I wonder if some events occurring now had origins in calamities that occurred to Earth a thousand years ago. My sense of wonder grows and grows, the more I study.

One small comment at the end of a recent post by Joseph D’Aleo really got me thinking. He mentions, in an off-hand manner, “In upcoming winters as the sun goes into its deep slumber including geomagnetic activity which has a cycle that trails the sunspot/flux cycle, expect more persistent cold and the return of record snows further west as the AC/NAC become very negative. High latitude volcanoes seem to get more active in these periods and they help enhance blocking in winter and the cold.” (My bold).

I found this statement a bit disconcerting, because it exposed my own dismissal of the idea the Quiet Sun could have any effect on things such as earthquakes and volcanoes. I just took a practical view that sunshine might effect the temperature of the air and the surface waters of the sea, but sunshine couldn’t cause the continental plates to shift or volcanoes to explode. Sunshine just plain didn’t seem strong enough.

However I dismissed this idea without bothering to investigate the idea or look at data. Considering I’ve spent (and perhaps wasted) ten years investigating whether trace amounts of a trace gas could have earth-shaking consequences, including boiling oceans and the extinction of the human race, it doesn’t seem fair that I dismissed another idea off hand. But I confess: I did exactly that.

My study of the trace gas CO2 has taught me an amazing amount, and I am far more aware of its effects than I formerly was. Formerly I was only aware of CO2 when tried to see how far I could swim under water, and the CO2 levels in my blood told me it was time to come up for O2. Now I know all sorts of fascinating trivia. For example the CO2 levels in my garden spike during the night, when no photosynthesis is occurring, while a lot of fungus is contributing to a lot of CO2-producing rot. Therefore most of the plants in my garden rejoice at dawn, for the CO2 levels are at their peak, and they do most of their growing just after dawn, when the air is rich with CO2. Within a couple hours the CO2 levels plummet to levels so low plants can barely grow, due to the frenzied phtosynthysis of daybreak.

Now I ask you, isn’t that some interesting trivia?

However, in terms of sea-ice, try as I would, I could find no great effect from CO2 levels. Nor was there much effect from even sunshine, though it was obvious sunshine twenty-four hours a day did have a greater thawing effect than CO2.  Yet most of the effects on the amounts of sea-ice were caused by winds, and by currents of water under the ice.

Winds and currents can at least be attributed to the levels of sunshine reaching the earth, and I struggled to see CO2 might be the fausett turning on and turning off those levels of sunshine, but in the end it was too great a stretch to look at CO2, and not look at the sun itself, as the determiner of the levels of sunshine.

However it is one thing to see the sun as influencing winds and currents, and quiet another to see the sun as influencing earthquakes and volcanoes. Therefore I found Joseph D’Aleo’s comment  unnerving, because if anyone has sifted through the available data, it is he. Maybe he couched his language and used the word “seem”, when he said “High latitude volcanoes seem to get more active”, but when he stops to look at something, it gives me pause.

It was especially disturbing because of another thing I’ve been dismissing. That is the idea that undersea vents may contribute to the melt of sea-ice. I’ve seen creatures by those deep sea vents living quite happily in spitting distance from water so hot it only was kept from exploding into steam by enormous pressures, and if heat couldn’t even cross that short distance, I didn’t see how it could get to the surface.

But wouldn’t you just know it? The very day I read Joseph D’Aleo’s remark I came across this map:

Vent melts sea ice fig1_arctic

It was an illustration for this post:  http://www.climatechangedispatch.com/heat-from-deep-ocean-fault-punches-hole-in-arctic-ice-sheet.htm  .

I began to think: If the Quiet Sun could increase high latitude volcano eruptions, could it not increase high latitude undersea eruptions?  And could that not increase the melting of ice from below, even as the Quiet Sun made things colder and increased the ice from the top? And what sort of butt would this stick into the sloshing bathtubs of the PDO and AMO?

What a hideous complication!  But what a wonder to wonder about! (Don’t get me wrong; I am far from arriving at a firm conclusion, but I sure am wondering).

It makes me feel so sorry for the Alarmists who are so insistent upon CO2 being the one and only reason, for absolutely everything, that they never open their minds to the possibility of anything else. What a narrowness they live in. It must be like living in a crack.

UPDATE  —SATURDAY NIGHT—

I should likely note that the Camera Fabootoo is still producing pictures of darkness, and that the co-located Buoy 2015D is reporting another slight thaw, with temperatures of +0.16°, as pressures have plunged to 983.07 mb. Likely the winds are roaring. We are at 72.31° N, 17.03° W, which means we have moved 244.22 miles south-southwest since December 30. We are now closer to Denmark Strait than Fram Strait, and nearly as far south as the small, isolated  Norwegan Island of Jan Mayen, to the east.

The DMI maps show a weakening low crawling up the east coast of Greenland. The cold is building in the Arctic Sea, but an interesting tendril of milder air is extending up over the Pole from Svalbard, causing a noodle of low pressure north of Greenland.

SUNDAY NIGHT UPDATE –Cold To Be Dislodged From Pole Again?–

Today’s DMI Maps continue to show the cold building up over the Arctic Sea.

However it appears this cold will be pushed off the Pole by new invasions of both Atlantic and Pacific air. Look at the Canadian Jem Model’s solution of what the temperatures will look like on Tuesday, up there. You can see the intense cold in East Siberia, and cross-polar flow to Canada getting squeezed by tendrils of milder air from both Oceans.DMI3 0124B cmc_t2m_arctic_9While looking at a NASA video of the blizzard that hit Washington DC my eyes were drawn, (because I’m a true sea-ice fanatic) to the upper right, to watch what was occurring in the North Atlantic. You can see a couple of very impressive surges heading straight for the East Coast of Greenland.

It looks to me as if it will stay “warm” over the Pole, with a meridenal pattern locked in. If it keeps up, it will be interesting to see what the long-term effect on the sea-ice is. I’ll make no predictions.

The effect on the media is more predictable, for those eager to find “evidence” of a melting arctic are bound to notice if it stays above normal in the Arctic Ocean. They will be all the more delighted if there is any sort of dip in the amount of sea-ice, which is something I myself would not be terribly surprised to see. But I will be considering whether it indicates things other than a “melting arctic”.

For one thing, having so much heat rushing to the Pole seems like it might be in response to the El Nino releasing heat and moisture. To have it rushing to the Pole is like warmth from your living-room rushing up your chimney.  It is a waste of home heating, with “home” being planet Earth. It would be far more efficient if the “damper was shut”, and a zonal pattern kept the winds circling around and around the Pole, with the cold locked up in the north, and the warmth hoarded further south.

Another thing to consider, and watch for, is the consequence of warm air rushing up to the Pole, which tends to be the cold getting dislodged and snows getting deep in places where it usually doesn’t, such as Washington DC and Turkey. Even though snows in southern latitudes tend to melt swiftly, and be gone by the end of February, they cannot have a “warming” effect while they last, especially when you consider the “albedo” of freshly fallen snow is huge. In terms of the “energy budget” (that Alarmists like to pretend we understand, and I don’t),  snow over areas that do get sunshine is bound to reflect more sunshine than a lack of sea-ice over areas that are under 24-hour-a-day darkness is liable to fail-to-reflect.

Once the sun starts coming north all these calculations will get more interesting, for then there is at least a chance of open waters absorbing some sunshine. However that won’t be until March.

Everything is likely to change very much by summer, because the El Nino is expected to fade fairly rapidly. Even if you include “lag time”, the very thing that may be fueling the current situation may vanish by next autumn, when a La Nina may be setting in. Just around the time I get things figured out, they are likely to completely change. To use the analogy I used above, a La Nina is like a cannonball plopping in the bathtub. I guess you can see why I am reluctant to venture a prediction.

I prefer to simply watch and wonder, so that is precisely what I intend to do.

ATLANTIC AIR HEADING TO THE POLE AGAIN

We seem to be switching back to the former pattern, so I figure this post about the “new pattern” is already obsolete, and it is time to start another post. For the record I will state that we have seen a break in the flow of arctic air, during the brief time it has been held up at the Pole, but I suspect the new post will watch the arctic wolves again starting south.

 

 

ARCTIC SEA ICE —CROSS POLAR ROAR—

I apologize for being slow to update the sea-ice posts. The sun has set up there until March, and I suppose I’m a very visual  person, (whatever that means), and when there is nothing to see there is no way for my lying eyes to inform my lips to blow the whistle on people who depend on models and never use their eyes or even step outside. This time of year I tend to drift away from drifting sea-ice, which is sort of an avocation, and to move more in the direction of my vocation, which is basically to survive. Survival is no easy thing this far north, which is why many pan handlers and bums head south this time of year, and why Syrian refugees are in grave danger when they head north.

One reason I work so tirelessly and unstintingly to recreate myself as a cantankerous anachronism is because modern people tend to be complete fools, when it comes to natural things such as winter. I push myself to be old-fashioned, and to have a pig in the freezer and firewood on the porch (and gas for the generator, for old-timers didn’t have freezers),  because those old timers had common sense about things like winter. Also they had common sense about natural things like sex, and rearing children, which is what I’m attempting to write about on a “local view” post, but I’m not sure I’ll dare publish.

Common sense isn’t politically correct, you see. You need to make a sort of modern-day version of Archie Bunker out of yourself. If figure that if I walk on eggs, and accept the roll of fool, maybe I can write in a manner so droll and humorous people won’t tar and feather me. After all, in long ago times, who was it who dared tell the king the truth, when truth was difficult to swallow? Often it was the court jester.

In any case, that is what I’m busy with, when there are no sea-ice posts. My vocation, with which I eek out a minimalist existence, happens to be Childcare on a farm, and that involves all sorts of government red-tape that is basically nonsense, and far more like a wrench-in-the-works of caring for children than it is helpful, but government meddling always os phrased in a manner that twangs heart strings as it is “For the Children.”  So that is what the Local View post will be called, “For the Children.”

Even when busy with my vocation, perhaps my vocation can leave me annoyed at times, and in need of distraction, so I do indulge my avocation and sneak peeks at the sea-ice situation, and it has raised my eyebrows a bit the past week, even though I didn’t write about it. Though it was pitch dark, a roar could be heard from the Pole.

Basically a long trough of low pressure developed, wider at the Atlantic side and dwindling to a peak short of the Bearing Strait on the Pacific side,  and this trough created a two-lane-highway of opposing winds, although I suppose you could argue the winds both traveled west-to-east. The more impressive fetch was on the Eurasian side, as strong high pressure developed over central Siberia, but strong winds were on the Canadian side as well. On the Eurasian side west-to-east winds roared from the Atlantic to the Pacific, and on the Canadian side west-to-east winds roared from the Pacific to the Atlantic. On the Eurasian side the winds had more mild air, and on the Canadian side the winds were bitterly cold.

Here are the DMI maps of the situation developing and then starting to fade.

DMI3 1117 mslp_latest.big DMI3 1117 temp_latest.bigDMI3 1117B mslp_latest.big DMI3 1117B temp_latest.bigDMI3 1118B mslp_latest.big DMI3 1118B temp_latest.big DMI3 1119 mslp_latest.big DMI3 1119 temp_latest.big DMI3 1119B mslp_latest.big DMI3 1119B temp_latest.bigDMI3 1120B mslp_latest.big DMI3 1120B temp_latest.bigDMI3 1121B mslp_latest.bigDMI3 1121B temp_latest.big DMI3 1122 mslp_latest.big DMI3 1122 temp_latest.bigDMI3 1122B mslp_latest.bigDMI3 1122B temp_latest.big                            These maps do not show the cold air in Siberia, beneath the huge high pressure and south of the long west-to-east fetch along the Siberian Arctic coast. I thought the high pressure might press that cold air west towards Europe, but it never did.

The flow broke down when continental air was sucked up into the flow, breaking the long trough into two distinct systems, with the Pacific-side system now wrapping up its inflow of milder air, but cut off and likely to weaken, as the Atlantic-side system is likely to linger longer and attract more storms from the north Atlantic.

So what was the effect of the flood of warm Atlantic air? It pushed the edge of the sea-ice north in Barents Sea, and at the very edge of the snow in western Siberia, caused the snow-cover to retreat east to a degree where the edge of the snow is now “below normal.” But a glance at Dr. Ryan Maue’s map of arctic temperatures at the Weatherbell site shows that, first, the warming missed the core of the bitter cold in Siberia, and also rapidly cooled as it moved into the arctic darkness and left open waters for ice-covered waters.

DMI3 1122B cmc_t2m_arctic_1

These maps are in Fahrenheit, and the dramatic shift from Navy Blue to light grey represents the zero line. (-17° Celsius.) Two areas of extreme cold are in Siberia, (where the sky-blue turns to sky-blue-pink temperatures are below -40°, which is the only temperature fahrenheit and celsius agree about.)  Between them is a “warm” sector with temperatures below -20° Celsius. In that area the snow is deeper than normal, and extends further south than normal, which can be seen looking at the same scene sideways, with an Asian perspective:DMI3 1122B cmc_t2m_asia_1

I tend to see the surge of warmth into the Arctic as a loss of heat. It shows up in the temperature graph:DMI3 1122B meanT_2015 However “above normal” is temperatures that are down around -20°C, and well below the freezing point of salt water. Even with the roaring wind shoving the ice north in Barents Sea, the growth of the sea-ice doesn’t slow noticeably (which I actually expected.)DMI3 1122B icecover_current_new

One reason the ice extent graph still shows growth is because, while winds roared north in Barent’s Sea, they roared south in Fram Strait. The sea-ice, which had been dawdling to the north and often manifesting “wrong way” flows, surged south. Far faster than the ice were the cold winds, which don’t show up well on the two meter maps, as the open waters warm the air close to the sea, while only ten or twenty feet up the air may be much colder. For example the above maps don’t show much cold air reaching Iceland, but not far inland temperatures there dropped to -20° C:

http://iceagenow.info/2015/11/bitter-cold-in-iceland/

Then this cold blast curved east towards Great Britain, and Europe, blocking the milder Atlantic air south of the Azores, and keeping it from reaching the arctic unless it took a convoluted route through the Mediterranean,  and even that route was blocked when the cold front from this blast reached the Atlas Mountains of Morocco. (I always like to bring Africa into a discussion of arctic sea-ice, if only because it so obviously annoys certain Alarmists.) Lastly, the cold air from this blast meant the air curving around and back up to Barents Sea was not as mild as one might expect a south wind to be. (It always pays to pay attention to an air mass’s source region, even though it may seem a bit old fashioned to label them on maps, as the old-time weathermen once did.)

In the end we have sea-ice much below normal in Barents Sea, and the western reaches of Kara Sea, and surprisingly close to normal in Fram Strait and down the east coast of Greenland.Extent 1122 N_bm_extent_hires

The above map also shows the refreeze starting in Northern Hudson Bay, behind schedule to the west and ahead of schedule to the north.  Once it gets going it usually proceeds pretty swiftly.Hudson Bay 20151122 CMMBCTCAReturning to Fram Strait, it is hard to find a map that gives a true picture of the situation, which involved multi-year ice only now starting south from the north, and much of the ice to the south home-grown “baby ice”, grown over the past few months by very cold north winds, and then crunched up against the coast, in places becoming a jumble that is far thicker than most think of baby ice being.Fram Ice 1122 general_20151120

I sometimes think  the only way to truly know the makeup of Fram Strait ice is to pay close attention on a day-by-day basis. We know the multi-year ice dawdled to the north because we watched it do so. We know the ice to the south is home-grown because we watched it grow.

Currently the O-buoy site is down, but we can watch Faboo (my name for the North Pole Camera) to see how that ice handled the blast.

FABOO UPDATES

On November 17 Faboo began to feel the roar, as winds remained between 20 and 26 mph all day, pushing the ice 17.14 miles nearly due south to 82.786°N, 6.041°W. Temperatures ranged from a high of -17.6°C at 0300Z to a low of -22.7°C at the end of the period (2100Z).

On November 18 the roaring lasted all day, with winds between 26 and 38 mph, peaking at 1500Z. The ice was barged 23.51 miles SSE. Temperatures in these gales ranged from a low of -23.8°C at 0300Z to a high of -20.9°C at noon.

On November 19 the roaring slowly faded away, as winds slowed from 26 mph down to 9 mph, and temperatures fell from -21.2°C at the start of the period to -26.4°C at the end. We traversed 14.51 miles SSE, finishing at 82.247°N, 5.149°W.

On November 20 calm descended, and the buoy only moved 6.76 miles, finishing at 82.153°N, 4.945°W. Temperatures remained very cold, -26.4°C for a low at midnight, up to only -25.5°C for a high at noon.

Though the buoy slowed, the 6.76 miles it moved on November 20 is still what we would have called a large amount, in September. In the five days of the roaring we moved further south than we did the entire month of September. And we are not a lone berg in open water, but a vast, flat area of ice with next to no open water beyond a few leads, which are likely freezing over swiftly, in this cold.

Faboo has now likely missed its very remote chance to be peeled off to the west and wind up in the Beaufort Gyre, and is now doomed to float south along the east coast of Greenland, and eventually melt. But remember the doom was not caused by “Global Warming” but by bitter blasts up to gale force that could freeze exposed skin in thirty seconds.