ARCTIC SEA ICE –The AMO Chill–

One of the most exasperating mistakes made by Alarmists is their refusal to study history. Instead they steadfastly insist all is caused by CO2. For example, history teaches us that summer is followed by winter, but, the next time winter comes around, so blinding is their bias that Alarmists will see the next winter as having a new and alarming cause all prior winters lacked. This time it will be caused by CO2. Not only do they insist they know the cause, but they then invent the cause-and-effect out of whole cloth.

Basically Alarmists follow the rule, “If you can’t blind them with brilliance, baffle them with bullshit.” When confronted by a plaintive voice that asks, “You said there would be Global Warming, so why is it colder?” they put on a white lab coat to look scientific, hold up an index finger, and basically say, “You can’t understand because you haven’t looked hard at the numbers, and haven’t seen they need to be adjusted, and our adjustments show that actually it is warmer”.  Or perhaps, “The increased heat causes more snow in the north, and the increased snow is floating south as bergs, so that the warmer it gets the colder it gets. Understood?” The problem with this ingenious excuse-making is that, when you look back in history, you can see the same thing happened in the past, which begs the question, “What caused it then, and is that cause happening again now?”

Once you study history you become aware of various cycles that influence the weather, (with much debate about how large and how regular the influences are).

Alarmists tend to pooh-pooh all other influences, calling them inconsequential, which seems rather odd, for at the same time they are saying a giant thing like the sun has no effect they are saying a very tiny change in the number of CO2 molecules, parts-per-million, has an enormous effect. Skeptics do not deny CO2 has an effect; the planet is indeed greener; but they question the denial of all other effects and cycles.

Things would be easier if we didn’t have a variable star, but our sun does have its cycles of sunspots. And things would also be easier if those sunspot cycles were neat and tidy, but they tend to be irregular, with the sun shifting from very active sunspot cycles to times when we see a “Quiet Sun”. The sun’s regularity likely creates oscillations in the world’s weather, even as the sun’s irregularity throws the same oscillations out of whack.

The current Quiet Sun seems to be messing with the oscillations between El Ninos and La Ninas, as the El Ninos seem stronger and the La Ninas weaker than expected. (Not that we are all that great at predicting them.) Also the Pacific oscillation (PDO) swung from warm to cold as expected, roughly a decade ago, but then unexpectedly spiked back to warm, and has been taking its sweet time getting back to cold, (though it may be trending that way this summer). Last but not least, the Atlantic oscillation (AMO) is not expected to turn cold for a few more years, but unexpectedly and dramatically shifted in that direction this summer.

The signature of a “cold” AMO is a backwards “C” of colder-than normal waters in the Atlantic. Recently the back of that “C” was broken by a blob of warmer-than-normal water that drifted east and pressed between England and France, but the rest of the “C” remains evident, repressing the development of hurricanes to a certain degree off western Africa, and most especially evident off the northeast coast of Canada and south of Greenland.

SST 20180712 anomnight.7.12.2018

 

The colder water off Canada and Greenland historically leads to colder weather in Northeast Canada, which they have seen this year, with snows even as we had a heatwave not far to their south, in New England. The ice has been much slower to melt out of Hudson Bay than last year.  (July 13, 2017 to left, July 13, 2018 to right)

It is a bit embarrassing to Alarmists to have this sea-ice sitting around in July, so they are likely busily inventing a theory from whole cloth even as I type. However all you need to do is study history to see the situation is not “Unprecedented”. A ship from Boston, early in Boston’s history, failed to get through the sea-ice into the bay in 1663, but the Nonsuch successfully entered the bay in 1668 and established the first Hudson Bay Trading Post at the mouth of Rupert River (the current town of Washaganish, Quebec.) So what does that give us; 370 years of history?

The trading posts had to be resupplied, and also furs needed to be onloaded, and we know the ships were not icebreakers. Therefore it is sheer foolishness to suggest the Bay was ice-bound in the past, and only recently has become ice-free. An early aerial picture of Fort York shows they were still using sailing ships as late as 1923.

Hudson Bay Company YorkFactoryaerial

However the historical record also shows there were occasional grim years when the posts could not be resupplied. If ice-bound years had been too common the enterprise would have become impractical, and perhaps traders would have starved. For the most part the Bay opened up in the summer; excessive sea-ice in July was the exception to the rule, and was likely caused by a cold AMO, just as we are seeing now.

In like manner, the chill is affecting Greenland. In July Greenland is experiencing the height of its melt, and usually gives Alarmists wonderful opportunities to take truly amazing pictures of  the yearly phenomenon. At the peak of the melt, Greenland loses roughly 4 gigatons of ice to melting every day.  Rivers of melt-water course across the surface of the ice.

Greenland melt 1 55-researchersd In places these torrents plunge down holes called moulins, forming spectacular waterfalls, and then continue on as subterranean rivers.

Greenland melt 2 hqdefaultIce also flows off Greenland as massive glaciers, and during the summer enormous slabs calve off the ends into the sea, with some bergs “half the size of Manhattan”.

Greenland melt 3 NINTCHDBPICT000419182729

And of course all this melting is fodder for Alarmists, and gives the media a chance to write thrillingly sensational stuff about ice melting and seas rising.

https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/6739060/greenland-iceberg-melting-video-climate-change/

However I think it’s wiser to not get too caught up in the hoopla, although it is fun, once in a while, to run around in circles waving your hands in a tizzy. It’s good exercise. But once you’re done it pays to calm down and catch your breath. And then ask a question or two. “How much ice usually melts? What is normal?”

The map to the right below shows the normal melt for July 14. You notice right away the melting is all at the edges. That is where all the photographs are taken for the newspapers. In the middle of Greenland the altitude is so high, (over 10,000 feet), that it almost never gets above freezing. Judging from the records of ice cores, only once in every 40 years does it get warm enough, on a windless summer day, to soften the snow a little. Not much; not enough to make rivulets or puddles, but enough to make a crust on the snow, when it refreezes, usually within hours. (When this last happened, in 2012 (I think) the media went completely berserk. They reported so inaccurately that you would have thought torrents, even mighty rivers, were coursing across the icecap. The actuality was that the snow softened for a couple hours. [yawn])

The map to the left shows what happened this year, on July 14. It set a record, but went unreported, for it was a record increase of snow, for the date.

Greenland MB 20180714 todaysmb

What happened was that, likely due the cold AMO, heavy snow punched inland in west-central Greenland, reducing the melt in that area at the same time snow was added. In fact more was added than was subtracted, which means that rather than the icecap losing 4 gigatons, as is normal, it actually gained a little. This shows as the spike in the upper graph below. Notice how the spike moves above the area shaded gray, which shows the historical range, and enters record-setting territory.

Greenland MB 20180714 accumulatedsmb

The lower graph shows, with the blue line, how Greenland’s icecap is failing to melt much this summer. Usually it loses roughly 200 gigatons, and this year it has lost 5, so far. This is a failure on the part of reality to support the Alarmist’s narrative. (Bad reality. Bad! Go to your room.)

Also notice, in the graph above, how, on an average year, (gray line), Greenland gains more than it loses. It ends the year with nearly 400 gigatons more than it started. (A gigaton is a billion metric tons, and a metric ton is 1000 kilograms.) How many Manhattans is that? In any case, for Greenland to stay in “balance” 400 extra gigatons worth of iceburgs must calve off Greenland’s glaciers.

Lastly notice the red line in the graph above. 2011-2012 was a winter and summer that pleased the Alarmists greatly, for it supported their narrative. Nearly all the winter’s increase melted away that summer. There was a gain, but it was small, only around 25 gigatons. It wouldn’t take many calving icebergs the size of Manhattan to arrive at a net loss. And how many gigatons would it take to rise the oceans a milometer?

I can’t do the math, but I did find this after searching the web a bit: “A one mm increase in sea-level requires about 3.618 × 1014 kg = 361.8 Gt of meltwater”.

In other words, while a billion metric tons might seem like a lot, it is a speck of dust, compared to the enormity of the icecap and the oceans. Greenland’s icecap is estimated to be a total of 2,850,000 cubic kilometers of ice. How many gigatons is that? (You do the math for me, please.)

Therefore even a “good” year (for Alarmists) like 2011-2012 really doesn’t amount to a hill of beans, but last year was a “bad” year. Greenland’s icecap actually gained ice, according to NOAA:

https://www.climate.gov/news-features/understanding-climate/greenland-ice-sheets-2017-weigh-suggests-small-increase-ice-mass

Of course, NOAA speaks of the gain as if it is an exception-to-the-rule, but still it is a failure on the part of Mother Nature to support the narrative. And what tactic does an Alarmist use, when something doesn’t support the narrative?

1.) Change the subject. Turn the camera to where the ice is still melting, to dramatic waterfalls pouring into turquoise moulins. Focus the lens on the spectacular sight of a giant berg calving off a towering glacier. Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain. Don’t look at the summer snowstorms in Labrador, and the summer trout fishing camps struggling to dig free of snow.

Fishing Lodge in June labrador-snow

The only problem is people can only be distracted and deflected so long, in which case it is time for…

2.) Invent a theory out of whole cloth. When people notice northern sandpipers can’t even lay their eggs because the snow hasn’t melted, figure out a way to blame the snow on warming. (Hat tip: Brett Keane)

https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/late-snowpack-signals-a-lost-summer-for-greenlands-shorebirds/

Sandpiper on snow 6450EF03-C77C-450D-8080621943C1804F

Here is the money-quote: “Senner fears this nonbreeding year in eastern Greenland could herald an alarming trend. Climate Models predict the Arctic atmosphere will hold more moisture as global temperatures rise, he notes. A wetter atmosphere means more snow in winter and spring, potentially causing late snowmelt to interfere with shorebird reproduction. He says the bird populations should be resilient to a single poor breeding year like 2018 but worries what might happen if this year’s catastrophe becomes standard. “Even though things aren’t normally as extreme as the current situation in Greenland,” he says, “this is the kind of thing that seems to be happening more and more frequently across the Arctic””

Balderdash. First, the increase in winter moisture is in air so cold that you are talking about the difference between air that is only very, very dry, rather than very, very, very dry. Second, the amount of snow that falls from that dry atmosphere is small, only inches, and tundra usually swiftly melts such snows under 24-hour or near-24-hour sunshine that can bring heatwaves to the north. Third, the snow is now falling in the summer. I repeat, the summer. Fourth, temperatures are colder over Greenland and eastern Canada because the AMO is cold, not because the planet is a tenth of a degree warmer overall. Fifth, it is also colder at the Pole itself.

DMI5 0715 meanT_2018

I’d like to help Alarmists out, but the simple fact polar temperatures remain so persistently below normal does suggest the Quiet Sun may be supplying less heat. The best I can do is to suggest it may be cloudier at the Pole, due to the low pressure I call “Ralph” reappearing and hanging about. Maybe we can concoct a theory out of whole cloth that explains Ralph is due to Global Warming, and that it is colder at the Pole because it is warmer. That would explain why the the sea-ice, despite having a head-start on other years last winter, is failing to melt as fast as other years.

DMI5 0715 osisaf_nh_iceextent_daily_5years_en

And it also might explain why the ice is thicker than last year, especially along the coasts of Alaska and East Siberia.  (2017 left; 2018 right)

But in the end there is little I can do for the poor Alarmists. It simply is a terrible year for them. All around there are signs of cooling, at least in the short term, but they must continue to genuflect to the emperor of funding, as if he wore clothes when it is increasingly obvious he is butt naked.

Stay tuned.

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ARCTIC SEA-ICE –High Summer–

It is now the time of thawing at the Pole. The sun never sets, and instead rolls around and around, high enough above the horizon to nudge temperatures just above freezing. There are brief freezes, when the sun goes under a cloud or a downdraft brings cold sleet down from a summer shower, but for the most part non-stop thawing occurs, 24 hours a day, for around 1440 hours. This is no new thing; it has been occurring as long as men have wandered the Arctic Ocean. Back in the 1950’s and 1960’s and early 1970’s, men stationed on Fletcher’s Ice Island wore hip waders at times during the summer, the slush could get so deep.

Although we think of tabular icebergs as a feature of Antarctica, the Ward Hunt Ice Shelf, on the northern coast of Ellesmere Island in Canada’s high Arctic, produces them. A big berg from this shelf broke off, likely in the 1940’s, and was 50 m (160 ft) thick and covered an area of 90 sq km (35 sq mi). Between 1952 and 1978 it was used as a manned scientific research station that included huts, a power plant, and a runway for wheeled aircraft. Discovered by U.S. Air Force Colonel Joseph Fletcher, the iceberg was named T-3 or Fletcher’s Ice Island. It moved around the Arctic Ocean for many years, eventually exiting through the Fram Strait, between Greenland and Svalbard, and moved south and around the southern tip of Greenland to disintegrate and melt in Davis Strait. While it was inhabited in the high Arctic things grew so slushy in the summer the men could only be supplied by air drops, which meant they could receive mail, but never send any, for months. (No cell-phones, back then.)

The guys had to be tough and resourceful, as they awaited to things to freeze up in the fall. One year a large, shallow lake formed in the runway, and they tried to prepare the runway too soon, and a CAT broke through the ice. With things freezing up rapidly the men had to work furiously for 24 hours to get it out. The location of the berg that year was such that, “The first sunset was September 7th; the last sunrise was September 14th. So within a week, we went from total day to total night. Temperatures in September were often below 0°F, -17°C.”  With  the first flight not scheduled to land until November, but temperatures down to -35°F by late October, the generator quit. A hero named  Bill Hallett rebuilt it in a frantic rush, well aware there was no hope of outside help.

One interesting aside involves a time two women were sent north to work with the men. Apparently it was such a fiasco, in terms of multiple romances, jealousy and brawls, that it was never attempted again. So much for political correctness. But I digress. I’m suppose to be talking about a different sort of heat.

In the 1950’s a R4D (Navy version of the DC-3)  crashed on Fletcher’s ice island and, stripped of all valuable parts, became a sort of landmark that servicemen had their pictures taken with.

Fletcher's DC-3 1 kf3aa_p4

It is interesting how it looked years later:

Fletcher's DC-3 2 t-3-picture-r4d-on-pillar-apr-62-t3

This is not to suggest the Air Force puts itself on a pedestal, but rather that summer melting has always occurred at the Pole, for as long as we’ve been watching. And now we are watching it again.

DMI5 0619 meanT_2018

Sea-ice “extent”, “area”, and “volume”all tend to crash during the melt. The “extent” graph is being carefully watched, partly because it best supports the Alarmist narrative this year, and partly because some expect the melt to slow, once the thicker ice in the Central Arctic is reached.

DMI5 0619 osisaf_nh_iceextent_daily_5years_en

The DMI “volume” graph puzzled many, as the black line vanished. Apparently the computer program is designed in a manner where the gray line representing “normal” takes precedence, so the black line had to pass under it, as volume moved from below to above normal.

Above normal? Did I say the volume is above normal? Yes. But do not expect Alarmists to bring the subject up. They are quite glum about it, and tend to ignore the DMI graph and flee to the PIOMASS data.  But here is the DMI graph they don’t like to look at. It shows volume plunging in the way it plunges every year,  but above-normal. In the past year we seem to have seen an increase of over 4500 km³ of sea-ice.

Volume 20180619 FullSizeRender

Where is the ice increasing? Here is a comparison of the thickness of the ice last year (left) with this year (right).

There is more open water north of Svalbard and in the Laptev Sea this year, but the sea-ice is obviously thicker towards East Siberia and in the Central Arctic.

Of interest to me is the area north of Bering Strait. Alarmists felt the melt would be faster this year than last year, for waters south of Bering Strait were surprisingly ice-free last winter, and Alarmists felt this would give those waters a head start , in terms of warming, and that warmer water would head north of Bering Strait, and hasten the melt in the Chukchi and Beaufort Seas. This hasn’t happened yet, though the waters are warmer than normal in Bering Strait.

SST anomaly 20180618 anomnight.6.18.2018

Just a reminder: The above map shows anomalies. The cherry red in Bering Strait does not mean the water is warm. Rather it means it is roughly 3 degrees above normal, or in other words +2°C rather than -1°C (which would be the temperature of the water with bergs floating around in it.)

Further south the La Nina is fading and an El Nino appears to be building. Oddly most of the warming is north of the equator, so far. Any warming effect due to an El Nino will be in a lagged manner, and we likely will still be seeing the lagged effect of the cool La Nina for a while longer at the Pole.

The Atlantic side is very interesting, as the backwards “C” of cold in the Atlantic is the signature of a cold AMO, which we haven’t seen in a long time, and were not expecting for another five years. NOAA will have to update the x-axis of its AMO graph, for the most recent “+” for the month of May is just into the negative, and you can only see part of it poking up at the very bottom right of their graph.

AMO May 2018 amo_short

This cold AMO is making conditions colder in southern Greenland and eastern Canada. This is of concern to people on the east coast of Hudson Bay, where the sea-ice is hanging tough. (2017 to left; 2018 to right.)

The concern involves getting a tanker to the east coast settlements, because people no longer heat igloos with blubber lamps, nor spend the entire winter fully dressed. Or maybe they could, but most prefer fossil fuels and warm houses. Therefore all are in a hurry to refill fuel tanks during the window of opportunity offered by the Bay being ice-free. It’s a problem when the ice hangs tough. People don’t sit around drumming their fingers waiting, because it would be downright dangerous to go without resupply.

I remember a clamor arose in 2015 when the ice hung tough into July, and the people in the east coast settlements asked for an icebreaker to clear a path for their oil tanker. Of course this didn’t make headlines. I only knew about it because some Climate Scientists had hired the icebreaker so they could study how the ice was vanishing, and instead the ship was diverted to where the ice wasn’t vanishing. I did not fail to note the irony, but also was puzzled, for the maps and graphs I used didn’t show all that much ice, but then I saw this picture of the path being cleared on July 17.

Hudson 2015 Icebreaker hudson-july-28-3-ccgs-pierre-radisson-in-sea-ice

I hope this explains why I sometimes seem distrustful of maps and graphs. When possible I seek out the Twitter and Facebook feeds from ships and small towns, because a reporter who is actually on the scene is best, even if they are unpaid by any newspaper.

In any case, I’ll be keeping an eye on Hudson Bay.

The cold AMO seems to be effecting Greenland as well. The yearly thaw has started around the edges of the icecap, but there are also some heavy snows. For example, yesterday heavy snow fell in the northwest.

Greenland MB 20180619 todaysmb

Of course, if more snow falls than melts then it is hard to be a true Alarmist about the icecap melting away. For a while this year’s “accumulated mass balance” roughly paralleled  2011-2012, which was a great year (if you like to worry about melting), but roughly a month ago the two years parted ways, and where 2011-2012 fell like a stone, (red line), this year refused to start falling (blue line).

Greenland MB 20180619 accumulatedsmb

One final effect of the cold AMO: Some fishing lodges in eastern Canada are taking a financial hit, for it is difficult to operate a fishing lodge when six feet of winter snow sits outside, refusing to melt. The picture is from Labrador in mid-June. (Hat tip to Ice-age-now site).

Fishing Lodge in June labrador-snow

The fishermen may be sad, but I understand the trout are tickled pink.

Stay tuned.

ARCTIC SEA ICE –The Newest Nudger– (Concluded with Wednesday AM Surprise)

The past week has seen an interesting change up at the Pole. The high pressure that has been stubbornly parked up there on the Canadian side has drifted over to the coast of Central Siberia, and elongated. This has created a two way street of Cross-Polar-flows, one bringing Pacific air along the East Siberian coast, and another bringing cold Siberian air the other way across to Canada and also a spear of milder Atlantic air right over the Pole as far as the Canadian coast.

DMI3 0213 mslp_latest.big DMI3 0213 temp_latest.bigDMI3 0214B mslp_latest.big DMI3 0214B temp_latest.bigDMI3 0215 mslp_latest.big DMI3 0215 temp_latest.bigDMI3 0216 mslp_latest.big DMI3 0216 temp_latest.bigDMI3 0217 mslp_latest.big DMi3 0217 temp_latest.bigDMI3 0217B mslp_latest.big DMI3 0217B temp_latest.big

I’ve been watching these invasions carefully this winter, and noting how they seem to precede weather events down south, where I live in New Hampshire,  by roughly a week. The invasions seem to “nudge” the build-up of cold air off the Pole and down south through Canada, to the USA, where they make headlines. Two nudges ago brought us the Washington DC blizzard, and then that snow swiftly melted away as the nudging ceased and the cold built at the Pole. Then a smaller nudge sent another outbreak south, but it was strong for such a little nudge, and set records for cold even though it was brief. Now it is warm again, reflecting the last period the cold was building up at the Pole, and I’m expecting another outbreak a week from now, due to the current nudge.

Looking at a Dr. Ryan Maue map (from the Weatherbell Site) of temperatures three days from now (Canadian JEM model) you can see the bright pink in northern Canada, indicative of temperatures down at minus 40, (that great temperature where Fahrenheit and Celsius finally agree).

AAA1 cmc_t2m_noram_13

The surface map for that time (three days from now) shows an interesting low over northern Hudson Bay, and the north winds on its west side seem likely to shift that very cold air south towards me. I don’t imagine it will warm much as it comes south, for it will be passing over snow-covered landscapes, and the nights are still longer than the days.

AAA2 cmc_mslp_uv10m_noram_13

A look down from the top of the planet five days from now sees that low still parked over Hudson Bay, and a new low north of Greenland. In fact the high pressure over Greenland seems totally surrounded by storms.

AAA3 cmc_mslp_uv10m_arctic_17

What is especially interesting is that the temperature map five days from now shows that, despite the invasion of milder air over the Pole, major cold remains over both north Canada and Siberia. The imported mildness is being squandered, lost to outer space, without warming the tundra much, though perhaps it is nudging that tundra’s cold south to places where it is unwanted by the old, and enjoyed by the young.

AAA4 cmc_t2m_arctic_17

The invasion is causing the temperatures-north-of-eighty-degrees-latitude graph to show warming.DMI3 0217 meanT_2016

I would expect the invasion from the Atlantic to compress the sea-ice to the north, decreasing the extent of the ice, but so far the extent-graph shows a slow rise.DMI3 0217 icecover_current_new (1)With storminess increasing at the Pole, it will be interesting to watch the NRL map of how the ice is moving. Currently it is describing the shape of the elongated high pressure, and the ice is staying put in the Arctic Ocean, with little being flushed out. AAA5 arcticicespddrfnowcastThe above map shows fast-moving ice crashing into slower ice north of the Mackenzie River Delta, likely building pressure ridges, while some leads are opening up north of Bering Strait, where faster-moving ice accelerates away from slower ice. A lot of shifting and crunching is likely to occur over the next week, and I am going to try to post more of these maps that show how the ice moves. They clearly show how mobile the ice is, and refute the idea that sea-ice is static stuff that is only effected by Global Warming.

O-BUOY 8b BITES THE DUST?

I never like to see one of the Arctic buoys go through a blank period, when reporting data:Obuoy 8b 0218 temperature-1weekIt is especially troubling in the case of O-buoy 8b, because it is located right where the ice seems stressed, in the above ice-motion map. Also it located right on the edge of a sort of San Andres Fault, formed within hours of when the bouy was placed last fall. If you have two minutes to spare, it is well worth watching the time lapse movie made of pictures taken by the O-buoy 8b camera last fall.  Among other things, it shows within an hour of the men working to place the camera on the ice, the ice cracked up.

http://obuoy.datatransport.org/monitor#buoy8/movie

This does make one think about the risk the men take, installing those cameras when the ice is weak in September. (Not to mention the chance of meeting a 1500 pound bear.) It also makes me wonder if the icebreakers they ride up there on actually weaken the ice, and cause a sort of structural failure of areas greater than the channel made by the boat itself. (I know it works that way when they break up the ice in harbors in the spring.) Here is a picture of the Mass Balance Buoiy 2015 right after it was placed last August.  (Note the vanity of the graffiti. Seems odd that fame is seen in having your name appear where it is likely only a polar bear will ever see it.)Install 2015F_signaturesAnd here is a picture of Obuoy 13 after it was placed.Obuoy 13 2015JNote the solar panels, which may explain why there are no pictures after the sun sets for the winter. The GPS must have a separate battery.

Sometimes these buoys come to life after surprisingly long periods of time off the air. One came back last summer after more than a month. Perhaps they get tilted, and can’t properly transmit. Also I read there can be times they can’t get room because other projects are using the available space on the Satellite they must all share, when transmitting. In such cases the buoy has the ability to save data and send it later.

I hope we see O-buoy 8b come back soon.

FRIDAY NIGHT UPDATE

Despite the steady import of milder Atlantic air up over the Pole, the cold continues to build in northern Canada.  Also a lot of the “nudged” air spilled down the east coast of Greenland and is chilling the north Atlantic, cooling the western shores of Europe. Joseph D’Aleo has an interesting post on his blog at the Weatherbell site about the possibility of late-season snows in Europe. I can’t claim I saw that cold air sneaking around from the northwest, as usually the Atlantic moderates the arctic air, but it sure looks like the western coasts of Europe are cooling. Their midwinter surge of mildness seems to be flipping. In fact I think this winter will wind up being remembered for a lot of flip flops in both Europe and North America. Europe has been spared the steady blasting of Siberian cold China has gotten, (and that I remember too well happening here last winter). (Personally I mind winter a lot less when it is served out in small helpings.)Whip 1 ncep_cfsv2_28_t2anom_europe__1_(23)The DMI maps show the cross-polar-flow swinging from Siberia-to-Canada to Scandinavia-to-Alaska, but the milder air continues to flow over the Pole. It cools fairly dramatically as it approaches Canada, partly because there is still no sun close to the Pole, and partly because the air rises and doesn’t show on surface maps. Because the air is rising we are expecting low pressure to appear north of Greenland.

The winds pushing the ice back towards the Pole is finally showing a reduction of ice-extent on the extent graph. DMI3 0219B icecover_current_new (1)I confess I’m nervous about the extent being low. If it is a “record” low the hubbub of the Alarmists will be hard to bear. They will fail to mention that the mildness up towards the Pole meant the arctic air was displaced, and places like Mexico and Saudi Arabia and Thailand saw “unprecedented” cold this winter (which I documented). Though I mention the mild places, on this site, they are sort of color blind, or “cold blind”, and on their sites they won’t mention the suffering of the refugees in Syria and south Turkey. Instead they’ll start the tiresome “Death Spiral” malarkey all over again, and will wait in breathless anticipation of an ice-free Pole this summer, and suffer depression when it doesn’t happen.

The only gleam of hope I have is that the “displacement”, (more properly called “nudging”), looks like it will continue, and we could see some late season snows. There is nothing like snows in April to hush most Alarmists, (though the worst will claim most anything proves their point).

Not that I much want to see late season snows in my own backyard. I’m NIMBY when it comes to winter weather, these days. However the flip-flopping between mild and arctic does seem to bring together the ingredients that bake the cake of big storms. Last winter, once we got stuck in a frigid pattern, it stayed pretty dry. We were four inches of snow away from setting an all-time record for snow all over New England, in Early February, and then the final four inches didn’t seem to want to come. Maybe people were so sick of shoveling snow that they resorted to prayer. That is unscientific, and is among the powers (such as water vapor) that some models fail to include. In any case, we did break the record, just barely, in the end, but it was a close call. It was like Old Man Winter had us staggering, but never hit us with the knock-out punch. The old grouch has a kind side. Who knew?

Around here the real “knock out punch” happened the year my mother’s mother was born, and is called “The Blizzard Of 1888”. It had 4 feet of snow, drifts over 2 story houses, and 80-mile-an-hour winds, around here, (though Boston got a lot of slush), and one thing the old reports mention is that it happened after a fairly mild and snow-free winter. So, if you are inclined to worry, that gives you a reason to worry if the winter is kind. Me? I’m just enjoying the present mild spell.

That blizzard started out as light rain, with temperatures mild. Then the storm exploded and stalled, just southeast of New York City, and temperatures crashed. The ingredients for that storm seemed to be flip flopping patterns, which brought very mild and juicy air right against very cold arctic air.  Of course, other things were involved as well, but I’m expecting those “other things” to get lined up somewhere, the next sixty days, and create a whopper storm.

In yesterday’s post Joseph D’Aleo pulled out a brilliant trick he has, involving using the experience of the past to see the likelihood of current weather being warm or cold, or wet or dry. The trick (or part of it) starts with this map, which shows whether ocean temperatures are above normal or below normal:Flip 2 globe_cdas1_anom(70)Most people immediately look at the above map and focus in on the hot spot in the center of the Equatorial Pacific. That is the El Nino there has been much fuss about, and it is actually fading very swiftly, especially towards South America. Because the El Nino is now away from South America and towards the Dateline, it now qualifies as an El Nino Modoki. That has different effects than an El Nino sitting right on the coast of South America. The genius of Joseph D’Aleo is that he goes through all the past maps of other El Nono Modoki situations, and combines them into a sort of blended average. For my neck of the woods, such an average suggests I’ll experience a cold late-winter.

But the Equatorial Pacific  is not the only part of the planet.  D’Aleo does the same thing for other parts of the planet. For example, in the above map you will notice there are cool pools in both the North Pacific and North Atlantic. What sort of blended averages do they give?

And that’s where it gets interesting, because they totally disagree with each other. The cool pool over the North Pacific is saying temperatures should be like this over North America (which would be cold for me.)Flip 3 COLD_NW_HI_MARBut the cool pool in the North Atlantic states this is likely (which would be warmer for me).Flip 4 NE_ATL_COLD_MAR(1)What a contradiction! My guess is that, (because we cannot see both), we will see a flip-flopping clash, which may create the meetings of mild and cold that creates historic storms.

However there is another lesson to be learned in this. It is this: You must be broad-minded. If one only looked at the Pacific, or only looked at the Atlantic, one would obviously miss the big picture. In like manner old coots like me must not only look at how high hornets build their nests, or only look at how fat the deer are, or only count the black sections of woolly bear caterpillars.

This is what drives me nuts about Alarmists, who only look at the levels of CO2. How can they be so insanely narrow-minded?

Due to health concerns I’ve been thinking a bit about my latter end, and what I might say, if it turns out we actually do stand before God and answer some Fatherly questions after we die. I think I’m going to be in trouble,  if I have to answer questions about how I treated ridiculous, narrow-minded Alarmists. I wish I could proudly stand before the Lord and announce I’d been charitable, and had patiently explained all the things Alarmists were not permitting past the blinders which they so willingly wear. I wish I could even say I stomped around and kicked the wall and said nothing. Instead I fear that, when asked how I responded to pitiable people, I will have to confess that I barfed.

In any case, I do not expect the current calm conditions to last.

MONDAY MORNING UPDATE

The relatively mild (but below freezing) Atlantic air moving up over the Pole has supplied the uplift, because warm air rises, to create a relatively meek low pressure up over the Pole. This will interrupt the flow of Atlantic air, and likely lead to lowering temperatures, especially if the the low fills and weakens.  The flow over Barents Sea will continue from the south, which will continue to compress the sea-ice north, and keep the ice-extent graph low.

OBSERVATION ABOUT LAPTEV SEA SEA-ICE

The Laptev Sea is a great exporter of ice, due to winds roaring off shore from the depths of Siberia. Even in the dead of winter there can be polynyas of open water along the shore, as the ice is shoved out to sea, towards the Pole and eventually to crunch up against the Canadian Archipelago and Northern Greenland, which are great importers of sea-ice.

There is considerable variety in the amounts of ice exported from the Laptev Sea, and this winter has seen much less ice be exported. Perhaps this is because a lot of the Siberian cold was pushed south into China, rather than coming north. In any case, the ice is much thicker than last year in the Laptev Sea, and also parts of the East Siberian Sea. We are talking three or four or even five feet thicker, in places. This will not show up in the extent graph, which does not care is ice is six feet or six inches thick. However it is something to keep in mind, as the ice melts this summer.

Ice in other places will be missing the reinforcements of Laptev ice, but the Laptev Sea itself may be slower to melt unless, of course, some late winter howling winds push all its ice off shore.

Thickness 20160217 arcticictnowcastOne interesting bit of trivia involves the island of thicker ice to the northeast of Wrangle Island. That was, late last summer, part of the “reef” which formed the southern boundary of the “Slot” of open water north of Alaska, and before that it was a sort of long and thin bulldozed pressure ridge towards the western Canadian Archipelago, formed as the multi-year ice plowed ahead through “baby ice”,  and at one point it was roughly fifteen feet thick (dark red in the above map.) It is amazing the changes ice goes through, even when it retains a sort of identity.

CONCLUSION —Surprise! Nudge didn’t come south—

One thing you have to be ready for when watching the sea-ice is to be wrong. I’ve actually attempted to avoid ever expecting anything, to avoid ever being wrong, but the mind simply  doesn’t seem to work that way. It notices patterns, and once you notice a pattern you expect it to happen again. Sometimes it does, and sometimes you are in for a surprise. Therefore I think I’ll  stop using the word “wrong” and start using the word “surprised”.

In any case, rather than hiding the evidence I’ll conclude this post with what surprised me. The DMI maps show a push of milder air up over the Pole, but what surprised me was that the cold air over the Pole didn’t come charging down into the USA, but rather was swept southeast and then east into the Atlantic,  south of Greenland.  Some cold air did leak south into the west of the USA, but a major storm blew up in the middle of the country, bringing very mild air up  the east coast. Therefore I was awoken by flashing lightning and loud thunder after midnight last night, with temperatures up near sixty right at a time I was expecting an arctic outbreak, when I looked ahead last week. Surprise! (And actually it is a sort of pleasant surprise, as there is nothing to  shovel.)

Here are the concluding DMI maps.

The low stalled over Scandinavia looks like  it will cut off the flow of Atlantic air over the Pole, and actually export air down over the Atlantic. That air, likely combined with the cold air being exported from Canada south of Greenland, ought give Western Europe the coldest sort of Atlantic air it ever gets.  Meanwhile the drained Pole can start growing a new pool of cold.

Below are The Dr. Ryan Maue maps from Weatherbell  showing the GFS model initial run of temperatures for this morning, and then temperatures for 2 days from now. You can see some of the cold does make it down to the eastern USA (so I could claim my nudge-theory was “right”, if I wanted to spoil the surprise), however you can also see the core of the cold is hooking east towards Labrador and the Atlantic.

Surprise 1 gfs_t2m_noram_1Surprise 2 gfs_t2m_noram_9And of course we need a map of the surprise storm roaring up west of here, giving the Great Lakes a pretty good blizzard, as we get a mild night and thunder like it is summer.20160225 satsfc20160225 rad_nat_640x480As interesting as midnight thunder may be for me, it likely belongs more in a “Local View” post, and I should turn my eyes to Europe, and the waters north of there. Europe had a chilly dawn, though the air seems Atlantic, rather than east winds from Siberia. (pink is below freezing.)Surprise 3 gfs_t2m_eur_1To the north the winds have shifted around to the north in Barents Sea, which may be spreading ice south rather than compressing it north, and explain (at least partially) the odd little up-tick in the ice-extent graph.DMI3 0225 icecover_current_new (1)For the most part winds have been south in Barents Sea this winter, and the Pole has been invaded by Atlantic air, making it above normal all winter up there. DMI3 0225 meanT_2016Barents Sea is pretty much wide open, and has been through a complete flip-flop over the past two years. I have the sense it is trying to  show us something, but we mortals are too dense to get it. In any case, I think  it will be the focus of my next sea-ice post.

 

 

 

 

 

ARCTIC SEA ICE —The Shadows Lengthen—Updated 5 times—

I saw a child on a playground troubled
By his shadow. He cried and he backed off
But the shadow, unrelenting, doubled
The child’s alarm, for it never slacked off
And hounded the child’s feet, until the child backed
To the ladder of a slide. The shadow
Couldn’t follow up the ladder, and blacked
The ground below, as the child felt joy grow,
And jeered down, and looked up, and forgot the dark.

In the same way, I’m an old man troubled
By lengthening shadows, and seek a spark
Like the child’s ladder, though odds seemed doubled.

Faith is a ladder towards lights that strengthen
As winter comes closer and shadows all lengthen.

You’ll have to forgive me for waxing poetic to start this post, but I got off into an interesting tangent of thought during the sermon at church last Sunday. This often happens to me. Just as I forgot to pay attention to my teachers at school, and my mind went sailing out windows to clouds blooming in the sky, in church some idea in a sermon sends my eyes to the windows, which are stained glass lit by morning sunshine.

(I think that, if they really expected people to heed the entire sermon, the windows would be painted black. The fact they are stained glass encourages independent thought.)

Among other things, the sermon suggested a “saint” isn’t some person with a long white beard and a halo of shimmering gold, but is just an ordinary person who happens to believe that Truth is a good thing. I sort of like this idea, because it suggests that even a cantankerous anachronism like me could be a “saint”. However I didn’t like the next part of the sermon, which suggested being honest invited persecution. I have enough troubles without “inviting” any.

However, as my mind went drifting off from the sermon into the colors of the stained glass, I had to admit that simply stating the truth about arctic sea-ice has earned me a lot of grief. People I greatly respect, members of my own family and church, have used that silly word “denier” on me, when I simply state a mundane fact about banal stuff called “sea-ice”.  It seems more like a knee-jerk reaction on their part, than a deed involving one iota of actual thought.

As I gazed off into the colors of the stained glass it occurred to me that perhaps civilization has made some progress over the last two or three thousand years. Back in the day, the authorities, and especially the Romans, physically tortured people who spoke Truth. Now the authorities only psychologically torture people who speak the Truth.

Hey, it may not be pretty, but it is progress.

If you study Roman times, the brutality of Roman authority stands out. When the Romans marched in, there was no talk about political correctness, it was a case of, “My way or the highway.” They thought nothing of slaughtering all the elders of a town, or all the professors of an university, or all the leaders of a government. In fact they made their slaughter a spectator sport, feeding people to lions at the Colosseum. Physical cruelty was everyday, and Jesus Christ on the cross was no exception.

Nowadays the cruelty is psychological. A modern Christ would be crucified on some sort of  psychological cross. Or so I found my mind thinking, as my thinking wandered through the lights of stained glass lit by Sunday morning sunshine. However the next question is, “What would a psychological cross look like?”

The answer that leaped into my my head was, “To begin with, rather than throwing you to the lions, they throw you to the morons.” That made me chuckle aloud, at which point I figured I had better stop daydreaming, and pay attention to the sermon.

Later, however, the thought came back to me, and I found myself wondering what makes a person a moron. I’m not talking about the fellow with an IQ of 60, who maybe drools a little. I’m talking about an otherwise intelligent person, with an IQ well over 100, who feels they somehow deserve the right to be indignant about a subject they have never studied and know nothing about.

As a boy I was a moron, concerning the subject of New York, because I was a Red Sox fan after Ted Williams retired in 1960 and before Carl Yastremski led the Impossible Dream Team in 1967. Every year New York won the pennant and every year the Red Sox came in next-to-last, (which was ninth place back then), and I developed a foaming hatred towards New York. If anyone said anything good about New York I became quite indignant. I was actually surprised I wasn’t immediately mugged when I first visited the city, and astonished that I actually met kind and helpful people.  The scales fell from my eyes, and I stopped being such a moron.  I also dropped the right to be indignant, which was no great loss, for when I thought about it, being indignant doesn’t feel all that good.

However it seems to me some people really like the feeling. They must, for why else would they spend so much time being indignant about this and indignant about that?  And most especially, why would they bother to feel indignant about things they know nothing about? I mean, as a boy I might feel indignant of anyone who said anything nice about New York, though I had never visited the city and my knowledge of New York (beyond the Yankees) was nil, but I was just a boy and didn’t know any better. As you grow up you are suppose to know better.

Some don’t know any better. They simply like to feel offended, I suppose, and I do my best to steer clear of them, the same way I steer clear of my rooster when his neck feathers stick out and he looks at me in an indignant manner.

Fortunately, at this site, we don’t deal with big issues, such as the definition of marriage, or the point at which aborting life becomes murder. All we are concerned with is whether we are moving towards the next Little Ice Age, or the next Medieval Warm Period. Furthermore we have retreated far from the maddening crowd, to a landscape devoid of mankind, or even signs of mankind, except for a stray contrail in the sky, and perhaps a buoy, every five hundred miles.

However I am sad to inform newcomers that, even when you retreat to a point this far from civilization, you may still find yourself a “saint”  for simply stating what you see, and may even suffer a sort of psychological crucifixion for being accurate.  All you need to do is state a Truth; for example: “The so-called ‘Death Spiral’ did not manifest during the summer of 2015”, and people may become extremely indignant.

They remind me of my rooster, who always is extremely indignant when I come into the stables to get buckets of grain for my pigs and goats. It doesn’t seem to matter that the rooster has a record of 0-524, in his battles with me. He is a bird-brain, which is like a moron. He comes up to strike at me with his spurs, and I have to lower the lid of the grain barrel as a round shield, and there is a loud “plink” as he strikes the metal, and then he gets shoved backwards by the shield, and loses the battle. (In case you are wondering, if a rooster ever successfully strikes you with his spurs it feels like a solid tap on your shin, and you bleed a little trickle, but the next day you are hobbled, as he has penetrated right to the bone and given you a bone bruise. Needless to say, I don’t allow this particular rooster to ever succeed.)

I don’t know why this particular rooster gets so indignant when I enter the stable, especially when you consider the fact I’m the guy who gives him grain and water. However I forgive him because, after all, he has a brain about the size of an aspirin.

It is very painful to me to see my fellow mankind behave as if they have brains the size of aspirins, and to watch them become absurdly indignant about subjects they know next to nothing about. Even worse is the fact many get such a strange joy out of being indignant that they don’t want to learn more about the subject they know next to nothing about. When you attempt to patiently explain things, they sort of go, “La-la-la I’m not listening.” And that is the modern, psychological crucifixion of people who simply speak the Truth. They get thrown to the morons.

I’m sorry to spend so much time explaining this phenomenon, on a site which for the most part is dedicated to simply watching ice melt, and then watching water freeze. However, if we are going to study the state of affairs, concerning sea-ice, it is important to know you will meet maddening, indignant roosters, for they are included in the state of affairs, concerning sea-ice, and they are also one of the shadows lengthening across our social landscape.

In other matters, the shadows are lengthening, as are the nights, across the Pole. The times of daylight are shorter, and also farther and farther from the Pole, as the Pole itself has already started its six-month-long night (though some always insist on calling it “twilight”). (Some even insist on calculating the microscopic amount of heat that comes from twilight, after the sun has set.)

It remains worth watching, even as the views become fewer and farther between, because you can occationally see some interesting events. One thing I have discussed is how leads can open up and expose open water even when temperatures are well below the melting point of salt water. We saw this happen at O-buoy 8-b. I mentioned that such open leads can also slam shut, and rather than an open lead you see a pressure-ridge. We saw this happen at O-buoy 8-b over the weekend, giving us a picture of how an area of open water or thin ice can become extra-thick ice (as we remember 9/10th of a pressure ridge is under water, as is the case with all bergs.) In a sense we have been privileged to see what usually is hidden by winter darkness, and have a sequence of pictures that would teach well on a textbook.Obuoy 8 0923B webcamObuoy 8 0924 webcamObuoy 8 0924C webcamObuoy 8 0925B webcamObuoy 8 0927 webcam

Of course, having such splendid leads and pressure ridges so close to the camera is a bit like living right next to the San Andreas fault. The camera is at risk.

Today’s picture from O-buoy 8-b indicates some milder air is moving in, but is lifted by the cold air at the surface. Wet, sticky snow is falling, though temperatures remain low, down at -10°C.Obuoy 8 0928C temperature-1weekObuoy 8 0928 webcam

The invasion of mild air is much more dramatic over at O-buoy 9 at the north entrance of Fram Strait. Obuoy 9 0928 temperature-1weekHere we are seeing winds of 25-30 mph bringing a flood of Atlantic moisture and mildness north. Also the sea-ice is being pushed back north in Fram Strait, which is unusual this late in the season. Fram Strait is the major exporter of sea-ice from the Arctic Sea, and such export is a major part of low levels of sea-ice.

Now, if you are an Alarmist, and have a major emotional investment in seeing there be less arctic sea-ice, it is hard to know whether the current southerly gales in Fram Strait are good news or bad news. The ice being pushed back to the north is bad news, as it keeps the Arctic Sea loaded with last year’s ice. However the mild temperatures must be good news…or are they? Mildness and moisture makes more snow fall, on the ice, which would be “good” if conditions were calm, for the snow would insulate the ice and keep the ice from freezing. However, as conditions are not likely to be calm, the snow is likely to be blown from the ice into wind-created leads, forming slush which increases the amounts of ice, which is “bad”.

I find it wiser to avoid the value-judgement of calling what happens “good” or “bad”.  Whatever will be will be. Furthermore, it is the Truth, and Truth is a good teacher.

They say history repeats itself, but I can never recall seeing such a wrong-way gale in Fram Strait after the solstice. This is a new one, for me, and I think it is wise to sit back and learn.

Someone said that Harry Truman once stated, “The only thing new under the sun is the history you haven’t read.”  However we don’t have all that much history to read, concerning the arctic. We are newcomers. And when you have no  history book to read, you need to sit back and watch the present tense make history.

Also I doubt Harry Truman ever said that, because he had to handle the atomic bomb, and there was no history book about that topic. When I researched the above quote, it seemed some reporter was putting those words in Harry’s mouth, when Harry might have been talking about Mark Twain, who had a more cynical view about how we are revisionists, concerning history, and may have said something along the lines of, ” The only new thing mew under the sun is the history you haven’t invented.”

While I do believe history repeats itself, and that meteorologists who search the past for analogs can do wonders, I also believe no two snowflakes or fingerprints are alike, and there is something eternally fresh and new in every sunrise and in every weather map. Therefore I watch the current surge in Fram Strait with great interest, fully expecting to see something I’ve never seen before. The view from O-buoy 9, at the moment, is rather dull, gray, and even slushy.Obuoy 9 0928 webcam

Further north, at Faboo (my name for the North Pole Camera), the surge of mild air has arrived, and melted the hoarfrost off the lens after days of blindness. They haven’t figured out the problems they’ve been having transmitting the official data, so I have had to rely on unofficial data from a co-located Mass Balance Buoy (which lacks a time stamp). The surge was rather dramatic, as we saw temperatures shift from -16.98°C to -0.76°C. We also saw Faboo get as far south as 84.69° latitude, and then be jolted back north to 84.84° latitude. Somewhere the ice must be buckling, but no buckling is apparent in our views (which I am very glad to again have.)NP3 1 0928 2015cam1_3 NP3 1 0928B 2015cam1_2 NP3 1 0928C 2015cam1_1

I notice “Lake Faboo” is buried under the new snow, but as is usually the case in the arctic, the snows are not all that deep. In the few places where records are kept, I notice now is the most snowy time of year, but the snow amounts are only an inch or two. At other times the monthly amount is barely a half inch, or even less. The arctic is a desert, in terms of precipitation. When you talk of a half inch of snow per month it is like talking about five hundredth of an inch of rain in an entire month.

You will hear a lot of talk, from various people, about how snow insulates the ice and the water under the ice. It is important to remember we are not talking about snow that you wade hip-deep through, but rather ankle-deep stuff. When the winds howl, often the ice is blown clear of snow.

In order for winds to howl what is called a “meridional flow” is needed. What is called a “zonal flow” is more neat and tidy, and more according to textbooks. Textbooks like to talk about the “Polar Cell”, and place a high pressure at the Pole, with well-behaved lows rotating around it, with the air rising in the lows and sinking in the high pressure centered on the Pole.

Polar Cell atmospherecirculation

This is elegant and tidy, but a meridional flow makes a total mess of it. Floods of warm air surge right up to the Pole, and fuel low pressure right where the textbook states we should have high pressure, and air rises right where the textbook states it should be descending. We are likely to see a splendid example of this, the next week.

When a zonal flow places high pressure over the Pole, conditions tend to be quiet, as calm often occurs under a center of high pressure. However a meridional flow creates storms, and winds smash and crash the sea-ice. Rather than ice and snow sheltering the water, ice splits and leads, sometimes ten or twenty miles across, open up, and the sea is exposed to bitter winds. Not only is the water chilled more, but more ice forms on that open water than would be formed if the water was protected by a yard or two of ice. Air temperatures may be higher, as the open water loses heat to the air, but that heat can only be lost to outer space in 24-hour nighttime. All in all, IMHO, a meridional flow is far more conducive to building the volume of sea-ice.

So let us sit back and watch as the atmosphere does its dance.

In the maps below we see the feature ESib1 has been flung from Bering Strait across northern Alaska to the east side of Hudson Bay, as its Fujiwhara-dance partner FG4 got left behind and whirls north of East Siberia.  I should be paying more attention to that, but only have so many brain cells.

What grabs my attention is the ridge of high pressure sliding east across the Atlantic and the low forming off northeast Greenland, which I’ll call “FG5”.  Between them is the remarkable “wrong way” flow in Fram Strait, and the warm flood toward the Pole. As that warm air hits the cold air it is bound to fuel a frammerjammer, and the flow in Fram Strait could swing right around for a while. “FG5” looks like it might be an interesting storm, and briefly be king of the mountain, riding high atop the entire planet Earth.

DMI2 0927B mslp_latest.big DMI2 0927B temp_latest.bigDMI2 0928 mslp_latest.big DMI2 0928 temp_latest.bigDMI2 0928B mslp_latest.big DMI2 0928B temp_latest.big

TUESDAY MORNING DMI MAPS

DMI2 0929 mslp_latest.big DMI2 0929 temp_latest.big

TUESDAY MORNING PICTURE FROM O-BUOY 9 IN FRAM STRAIT

Obuoy 9 0929 webcam

O-BUOY 13 DEPLOYED 

The buoiy is roughly  at 78.5° N, 141° W, which is south and west of O-buoy 9 in the Arctic Basin. (I’ll call it a Beaufort Buoy because that so obviously irks nitpickers.) Temperatures are around -5°C and winds fairly strong around 25-23 mph. Obuoy 13 0929B webcam

TUESDAY NIGHT DMI MAPS  -A surprise-

The gale exploding south of Svalbard isn’t suppose to be there. Of course, I haven’t been paying proper attention to maps, (as I have to attend to six-year-olds), but the last I knew the development was suppose to occur around that weak low north of Greenland. I did notice it got abruptly colder at O-buoy 9, suggesting that weak low had a cold front, and apparently the gale blew up along that front. It is more like a true North Atlantic gale than a frammerjammer, but I’ll call it “FG5son.”

DMI2 0929B mslp_latest.big DMI2 0929B temp_latest.big

Considering there was little sign of that gale this morning, the above example is a fine example of what happens when you mix warm and juicy south winds from the Atlantic with bitter cold from the arctic. The isobats suggest the winds are really howling off the coast of Norway, but haven’t picked up in Fram Strait.  However this map is actually from noon, and by afternoon the north-moving ice was lurching back to the south, which is more normal for this time of year.

Across the Pole ESib1 is a decent low, adding to the fact that uplift is occurring over much of the arctic, which sure makes a mess of the textbook defination of “The Polar Cell”, as an area of decending air. Yet all this uplift must go somewhere, and the powers-that-be can’t send the air further north as a Ferrel Cell does, as there is no such thing as further north at the North Pole.  It is a test to our ordinary thinking, which tends to be zonal, and see weather systems parading around the globe from west to east. At the Pole, I sometimes think, the weather simply goes up and down like a yoyo. When all the uplift has no place to go it just comes crashing back down, turning low pressure into high pressure. And before you laugh at this idea, check out the computer models, and notice that where FG5son is a sub-960 mb low tomorrow the maps show it swiftly  fading, and being replaced by a 1040 mb high pressure system. It will be interesting to watch, as will be what happens to the temperatures.  Currently it is much milder than it has been. DMI2 0929B meanT_2015

O-BUOY 9’S FRAM STRAIT REPORT

O-buoy 9 saw the mild temperatures abruptly crash, as the winds slacked off, veered 180°, and increased to the 25-33 mph range of a true gale, which makes for a nasty wind-chill and a swift halt to any thawing that might have been going on.Obuoy 9 0929 temperature-1weekThe buoy stopped the wrong-way movement north and lurched south.Obuoy 9 0929 latitude-1weekThere is little to see, as the nights are getting long up there, but so far the ice hasn’t broken up despite the strong and shifting winds. (Remember that a month ago O-buoy 9 often drifted in seas relatively free of ice, and much of the ice we look at is new “baby ice” between thicker bergs. It doesn’t take all that much to smash up such baby ice.)Obuoy 9 0929C webcam

FABOO REPORTS IN

On September 25 Faboo drifted 4.35 miles south east in very light winds to 84.728°N, 8.772°W and saw temperatures fall steadily, crashing to the low of -17.4°C at 1800Z, before rebounding to the period’s high of -10.8°C at 2100Z.

On September 26 Faboo sped up as winds picked to around 10 mph, covering 6.93 miles southeast to 84.683°N, 7.798°W. Temperatures rose to the high of -7.2°C at 1500Z, before falling back to -13.3°C at 2100Z,

On September 27 Faboo reached its most southerly point at 0300Z, at 84.678°N, and its most easterly point at noon, at 7.510°W, before deversing back to the north and west and finishing the day at 84.752°N, 7.542°W, which was 5.03 miles the “wrong way”.  Temperatures fell to a low of -18.2°C at 0600Z before recovering to -9.4°C at the end of the period. The breezes grew stronger, up to 15-20 mph range.

On September 28 Faboo again returned to moving east, but continued north to finish at 84.876°N, 6.452°W, which was another 15.76 miles the “wrong way”. Temperatures rose from -9.3°C at midnight to a balmy +1.0°C at 0900Z. After dipping to -1.8°C at 1500Z, a second thaw was experienced at the end of the period, with temperatures at +0.5°C. Winds peaked early, with a steady blow of 27 mph, before slacking off to 15 mph.

Unofficial reports showed we continued north for a while today, but then headed south, as temperatures fell. Unfortunately freezing rain was involved. It is my experience that this stuff is hard to melt from the camera’s lens.NP3 1 0929 2015cam1_2

O-BUOY 8   WIDE LEAD OPENS ON DISTANT HORIZON TO THE LEFTObuoy 8 0929C webcam

NEW O-BUOY 13   –COLD WITH DRIFTING SNOW—

Obuoy 13 0929D webcam

O-BUOY 15  —WINS PICTURES-OF-THE-DAY AWARD FOR BEAUTY—

Obuoy 15 0929 webcam Obuoy 15 0929B webcam Obuoy 15 0929C webcam Obuoy 15 0929D webcam

WEDNESDAY MORNING DMI MAPS

DMI2 0930 mslp_latest.big DMI2 0930 temp_latest.big

WEDNESDAY EVENING MAPS

DMI2 0930B mslp_latest.bigDMI2 0930B temp_latest.big

THURSDAY EVENING MAPS

DMI2 1001B mslp_latest.big DMI2 1001B temp_latest.big

I’ll try to play catch-up later. It is hard to run a decent blog when pulling double shifts.

*******

It is also hard to focus on sea-ice when a hurricane is milling about to your south.

FABOO’S WHIPLASH

On September 29 Faboo  continued northeast as far as 84.904°N at 0600Z before a 180° wind shrift hit, dropping temperatures from +0.5°C to -7.0°C at the next report at 0900Z. Winds picked up from 11 to 17 mph as temperatures fell to -13.2°C as Faboo moved 3.49 miles southeast to finish the period at 84.826°N, 6.363°W.

Yesterday temperatures slowly rose from -13.2°C to -10.2°C as winds climbed to a steady gale-force blasting of 36 mph, grinding the ice 17.6 miles SSE to 84.574°N, 5.923°W.

It is difficult to get your mind around tons upon tons upon tons of ice, covering hundreds of square miles, all moving north twenty miles and then all being snapped back south twenty miles, especially as the shift from north-movement to south-movement does not effect all areas equally at the same time, but rather is a radical change along a front. Somewhere the ice has to buckle and build pressure ridges, while somewhere else it must crack open and expose leads of open water. The frustrating thing is the camera’s lens if frozen over, and we are unlikely to see much more than this:NP3 1 1001 2015cam1_2

FRIDAY MORNING DMI MAPS

DMI2 1002 mslp_latest.big DMI2 1002 temp_latest.big

Quite a mild stream of air has been pulled east over the Siberian Side, as the cold is reduced to a pool north of Canada and Greenland. I expect the cold to expand as the gale weakens and fills.

O-BOUY 9 SHOWS COLD AND WEAKENING WINDS

Temperatures are at -10°C and winds at 4-7 mph. If the recent gale didn’t smash this ice up, nothing will, until it gets further south.

Obuoy 9 1002 webcam

DMI FRIDAY AFTERNOON MAPS

DMI2 1002B mslp_latest.big DMI2 1002B temp_latest.big

SATURDAY’S DMI MAPS (To be repeated to start the next post)

.DMI2 1003 mslp_latest.big DMI2 1003 temp_latest.big

DMI2 1003B mslp_latest.big DMI2 1003B temp_latest.big

I apologize for being unable to properly withdraw from life and enjoy the pleasures of escape to the arctic. Sometimes life won’t let you escape.

Time and tide and arctic sea-ice wait for no man, and a lots been going on I haven’t had time to talk about. A veritable flood of milder air came north with low pressure and made the Pole an area of uplift, which drew more air north at the surface.  A lot of this “air” was water vapor, which went from taking up a lot of space as vapor to taking up very little space as a drop of water or an ice crystal.  Therefore there does not need to be as much outflow aloft as one might expect, with all the inflow.

The vapor also released a lot of heat as it went through the phase changes of gas to liquid and liquid to solid. (There is a phase change the other way when precipitation evaporates of sublimates when falling, but for the most part the recent storm has been releasing more heat than it has been sucking up.)

They say what goes up must come down, but this is not true of the Pole. Water vapor goes up there and does not return, and heat goes up there and is lost to outer space. Once the sun sets the Pole is like a chimney for the planet, and what we have just  seen is stuff heading up the chimney.

That being said, when a mild surge heads north for the Pole I often look for an south-bound arctic outbreak somewhere else,  and indeed  there were two decend surges of cold into eastern and western Siberia, as well as a snowy spell in Alaska that drew notice.

Even as milder air floods the Pole, snow-cover is building on the tundra in Siberia, Alaska and Canada.  This will assist the creation of cold air through radiational cooling, and result in the Arctic ocean being frozen by south winds from the tundra.

Snowcover Oct 3 ims2015276_alaska

However one interesting feature is that swath of snow northwest of Hudson Bay, as much of it is well south of the actual coast of the Arctic Sea. This tendency also shows up in a Dr. Ryan Maue map posted on Joseph D’Aleo’s excellent blog, of the the deepening snow in Western Siberia. Much of the snow is well south of the actual coast.Snowcover Oct 3 ecmwf_snowdepth_russia_41(1)

This of course makes one wonder about the maps which show the arctic coasts as well above normal, in terms of water temperature:  

(I point out elsewhere that these maps can show water as red even when it is full of floating ice, as was the case in Hudson Bay last summer, which does make one suspect they are estimating on the warm side.)

In conclusion, we have a situation where we have a cold circle of ice atop the globe, surrounded by a larger circle of milder coastal waters, surrounded by an even larger circle of cold tundra. Until the coastal water freezes, the situation is wonderfully unstable.

The current temperature graph for areas north of 80° shows the current surge of mild air past its peak, and about to begin what I suspect will be a steep plunge.DMI2 1003B meanT_2015

The ice “extent” graph shows the mild surge did slow the refreeze, but couldn’t halt it.DMI2 1003B icecover_current_new

Most of our surviving buoys did show the milder air reaching across the Pole to Beaufort and Chukchi Seas, and the pacific side of the Central Arctic Basin, as the Atlantic and Siberian side haven’t experience the early season cold as much, and continue fairly mild. Yet the temperatures only briefly could thaw, in only a few places, and rather than thawing there was falling snow and freezing rain. Most of the slow-down in the refreeze was due to bottom-melt having a chance to occur without much upper-freezing,  and also gale force winds smashing up the new baby-ice.

It is unfortunate that O-buoy 10 got crushed (or perhaps retrieved by an icebreaker) as we have no eye down in the Beaufort Sea “Slot”. The NRL concentration map suggests the southern “reef” of the “lagoon” got dispersed by the gales, though we cannot tell if the water still has ice and slush in it once everything gets wet, as it doesn’t show up well to satellite sensors.  If the reef reappears during the refreeze we will know it wasn’t fully dispersed.Concentration  20151003 arcticicennowcast

I’ll download some pictures from cameras, and catch up on Faboo’s doings, in the morning.

ARCTIC SEA ICE –Obuoy reports–Updated

The arctic continues to warm rapidly, as is usual this time of year, but it remains below normal.

DMI2 0527 meanT_2015

Currently low pressure rides along the Russian coast, and high pressure along the Canadian coast.

DMI2 0527 mslp_latest.big

The snow cover is mostly gone in Alaska, but remains in Siberia.

Snow cover May 26 ims2015146_alaska

Notice how much colder the snow cover makes Siberia, compared to Alaska. (Admittedly part of the difference is because it is Afternoon in Alaska and Morning in eastern Siberia, in the map below.)

Snowcover May 26 gfs_t2m_arctic_1

(As an aside, the colder air is currently towards the Atlantic, where the AMO is in  its “cold” phase, while the milder air is towards the Pacific, where the PMO is currently in its “warm” phase. I expect more melting on the Pacific side than the Atlantic side this summer. The air temperatures will be interesting to watch.)

O-buoy 9 is in the colder air just north of Greenland, while the other three o-buoys are in the Beaufort Sea,  which has seen some cooling after a recent thaw.

O-buoy 9 continues to show the lead in the near distance close. It was quite wide and open, but now is crunched together and frozen over. Temperatures are slowly rising, as is expected in May.

Obuoy 9 0527 webcam Obuoy 9 0527 temperature-1week

If you have two minutes to spare, I recommend watching the O-bouy 9 movie at http://obuoy.datatransport.org/monitor#buoy9/movie from the 24:00 time onward to the end at 25:45. It takes the O-buoy people a while to update the movies, but they just updated O-buoy 9’s up to May 23. After 24:00 there are some very cool views of the mountains of Greenland way off in the distance, when the weather is clearest. Then the lead forms at 25:12, during a very windy and stormy time, and gets wide and freezes over before again closing.

The thin ice over the leads is ice that would not form if the water was not exposed, and also represents heat lost to the atmosphere up there, which makes it all the more surprising that temperatures are below normal.  Then, when the lead closes, all that thin ice gets crushed together and adds to the volume of the arctic ice. The only time this process doesn’t occur is during the period of roughly 60 days when temperatures are above freezing.

O-buoy 10 has been wandering in circles out in the Beaufort Sea since it was placed out there in late August 2013, and is an old friend. Currently its view is a bit boring, as all the details of the ice are hidden under snow. It saw some thawing last week, a cold snap (down below -7° c) over the weekend, and currently is just below freezing.

Obuoy 10 0527 webcam Obuoy 10 0527 temperature-1week

O-buoy 10 is apparently on a particularly solid chunk of ice, and gives the somewhat false impression the ice is more stable than it actually is. The ice in the Beaufort Sea is best thought of as fragmented. This is shown by the fact O-buoy 11 was placed north of where O-bouy 10 now floats last October, but now O-buoy 11 is well to the south east of O-buoy 10. The ice floes and bergs often move in a manner which demonstrates they are independent. Small floes with pressure ridges are like a boat with sails set, and can move much faster than a large, flat berg.

O-buoy 11 has been frustrating, as an interesting lead formed in the middle distance, but the lens has been covered with snow a lot, and it was hard to witness what followed.  The lead apparently slammed shut, and became a pressure ridge which blocks the view beyond, to a certain degree, and makes it hard to see what the lead is up to.  It looks like the lead may again be opening up a little. It too experienced the recent thaw, but now is back down around -4° C.

Obuoy 11 0527 webcam Obuoy 11 0527 temperature-1week

Lastly, O-buoy 12 is located further to the west, and, because it is north of Bering Strait, it is liable to be the first buoy subject to the warm PDO’s milder waters invading through the Strait. I am expecting to see a lot of action from  this buoy, in terms of ice crumbling, leads forming, and the sort of general break-up of ice that Alarmists love to see for political reasons, and I like to see because it is more interesting than watching ice just sit there and stay flat.

We definitely missed some action last winter, for when O-buoy 12 was placed last October it pictured ice that was flat, but when the frost melted off the lens this spring a pressure ridge had appeared right in front of the camera’s nose, extending away. It likely was a close call, for I have seen pressure ridges topple cameras and make them dysfunctional. (On the other hand, these O-bouy cameras can fall in the water and they just bob around, continuing to take pictures.)

Nothing much is happening at the moment, but I include a picture from O-buoy 12 because it is just, plain beautiful. (That is actually a reason to sit around watching ice melt. Watching icw also is cooling to me, and it is 90° here in New Hampshire, today.) At the buoy it is hair below freezing, after being a hair above earlier. They had less of a freeze over the weekend, this far west.

Obuoy 12 0527 webcam Obuoy 12 0527 temperature-1week

And that’s the news from O-buoy land, for now.

UPDATE

It was pointed out to me that one of the Mass Balance Bouts is showing melting . It is 2015A. located right on the coast of Alaska, here:

2015A_track

If you refer back to the start of this post it can be seen that the coast has no snow-cover. Temperatures can be considerably warmer over the tundra once it is bare, under sunshine that lasts 24 hours a day, north the Arctic Circle, and nearly as long south of it. Incredible clouds of mosquitoes breed in pools of warm water, with permafrost not many feet beneath, and temperatures even in Siberia rise above 70° and have been known to approach 100°.

Tundra experiences extremes Antarctica doesn’t dream of, and the warmth of summer tundra explains the melting of inshore waters.  Buoy 2015A: will allow us to watch it as it occurs.

Not that it is all that warm there right now. It is reporting a whopping +0.12° C, however when the sun stays up hour after hour, and temperatures remain above freezing, melting will occur, as can be seen. Here is a picture from when Bouy 2015A was set in place back on April 26:

Bouy 2015 A image_2015A_r And here is a picture as we enter the fifty longest days of the year.

Bouy 2015A May 27 camera1

It will be interesting to see if this inshore ice can survive even to July. I hope Buoy 2015’s camera can float.

ARCTIC SEA-ICE RECOVERY –Sneak Attack onto Europe–

The last two weeks has been interesting to watch, though the growth and extent of the ice is fairly normal. Here are the extent maps from December 12 (to the left) and December 27 (to the right).

DMI2 1212 arcticicennowcastDMI2 1227B arcticicennowcast

As Hudson Bay and the Bering Strait have frozen up, most of the growth in ice from now on has little to do with the Arctic. You could almost call it cosmetic. It will be occurring in the Pacific, or the mouth of the Saint Lawrence River, or the Baltic Sea, and therefore will be fleeting, and have little to do with the Arctic Sea itself, which is what all the fuss is about in the summer.

I tend to watch the arctic ice-thickness maps, which can give you an idea where the ice is moving. It moves far more than many imagine. For example, hundreds of square miles of thicker ice that had been lodged north of Franz Josef Land was shifted west by storms and crashed into the north coast of Svalbard, over the past month. This created a sort of polynya of open water where the ice had been by Franz Josef Land, which swiftly froze over and became thin ice.

DMI2 1227B arcticictnowcast

If this large body of ice continued to move west it might be flushed south through Fram Strait, which could create a situation much like occurred in 2007, when the thick ice was flushed south of the Pole, leaving the Pole with a thin skim of ice as summer approached, and, because the thin ice melted easily, the people who assume the icecap is in a “Death Spiral” had something to hype. (The main difference between now and 2007 is that there is much more thick ice north of Canada now.)

Watching the thickness maps allows you to see where the ice is piling up and where it is thinning, and gives you a rough idea on the total volume of ice up there.  There are many interesting processes occurring that you seldom read about.  For example, the same strong winds that blew the ice away from Franz Josef Land also blew the ice away from the south coast of the Kara Sea, and you can see that ice as thin blue lines of thicker ice now out in the middle of the Kara Sea.

Ice really piles up on the west coast of Baffin Bay, and grinds southeast along that coast and then along the coast of Labrador towards the North Atlantic. Ice also can pile up on the south and east coast of Hudson Bay, while the north coast can see polnyas form, so that even though the north was the first to freeze and the south was the last to freeze, by spring the south has thicker ice than the north. Lastly, ice can be seen piling up just west of the Bering Strait on the north coast of Russia; last year this ice was piled up 20 feet thick there by spring.

Watching the thickness maps brings many surprises, especially when storms wrack the ice. In the dead of winter, with temperatures at -40°, I have seen leads of open water form that are scores of miles across and hundreds of miles across. The open water freezes to thin ice almost immediately, but sometimes you can still see signs of that thinner ice months later. In a similar manner storms had a lot to do with the build up of thicker ice north of Canada.

At times the thick ice can crumble and be spread out into open waters, and mess up all sorts of neat calculations in the process. Where a cold current often sinks when it meets a warmer current, and more saline waters want to sink beneath more brackish waters, it is physically impossible for the ice to sink, and it bobs merrily onwards on top, often significantly chilling both the temperatures of the surface waters and the air, until it melts away. Therefore a strong wind transporting ice south can alter temperature maps with startling speed.

I imagine there are times when such alterations make a difference in the forecasts generated by computer models. They may even explain why the models utterly failed to foresee the cold that slumped south onto Europe recently. Just as it only takes a single pebble to start an avalanche, a single miscalculation can mess up a computer model.

Although the models did not see the cold coming, Joseph D’Aleo and Joe Bastardi on their blogs at the Weatherbell site did say we should be on guard for cold waves to hit Europe, as the autumnal patterns were similar to years in the past that saw cold waves hit Europe. They didn’t explain how it was going to happen in a step-by-step way, so I watched very carefully to see if I could see the steps as they occurred.

Back on December 12 we were seeing south winds bring warm air flooding north over Scandinavia, as the Atlantic storms veered north towards the Pole. A lot of Barents Sea was above freezing. Cold air was exiting the Arctic down the east coast of Greenland.

DMI2 1212 mslp_latest.big DMI2 1212 temp_latest.big

 

This pattern continued on December 14

DMI2 1214 mslp_latest.big DMI2 1214 temp_latest.big

 

And peaked around December 17

DMI2 1217 mslp_latest.big DMI2 1217 temp_latest.big

By December 19 the storms were no longer heading up to the Pole, but were moving east along the north coast of Russia. Barents Sea was cooling down, and to the east of the storm cold Siberian air was drawn up over the Arctic Sea and then dragged back west, and the milder Atlantic air lost its influence over the Pole.

DMI2 1219 mslp_latest.big DMI2 1219B temp_latest.big

 

By December 21 the new storm track had the east winds to its north starting to drag cold air back towards Scandinavia. The following Atlantic Gale didn’t bring such a flood of warmth north.

DMI2 1221B mslp_latest.big DMI2 1221B temp_latest.big

 

By December 24 the new storm track had penetrated weakly to the Pacific side of the Pole, and chilled Pacific air was being drawn over the Pole, but was too cold to warm the Pole much, and the cold air over the Pole was heading south to Scandinavia, and below freezing temperatures seeped down the coast of Norway.

DMI2 1224B mslp_latest.big DMI2 1224B temp_latest.big

 

By the 26th of December the cold was building over the Pole, and the strongest low pressure was east of Scandinavia, transporting Siberian air back west over its top towards a Barents Sea that was now far colder, especially to its north. The Pole was as cold as it ever gets, except on rare occasions, and the weight of that dense air was spreading out, including down towards Europe.

DMI2 1226B mslp_latest.big DMI2 1226B temp_latest.big

 

Today we see the following North Atlantic low is weak, without a surge of southerly winds, and the isobars hint of a discharge straight from the Pole to Scandinavia and areas further south.

DMI2 1227 mslp_latest.big DMI2 1227 temp_latest.big

This afternoon’s map shows the weak low bringing snow to Britain and the cold continuing to press south over Europe.

DMI2 1227B mslp_latest.big DMI2 1227B temp_latest.big

The computer models didn’t see this cold coming, even a few days ago, but now much of western Europe is below normal. As this cold continues to press south it is likely create elongated high pressure west to east. There may be a warm-up over Scandinavia as winds turn west to the north of the high pressure, but east winds to the south of the cold high pressure will bring very cold Siberian air further and further towards the Mediterranean, and a southern storm track will bring snows to Italy and perhaps even the north coast of Africa, before the cold is moderated.

DMI2 1227B gfs_t2m_anom_eur_1

 

 

However I have no business talking about Africa in a post about the Arctic, so I’ll just show the graph of temperatures north of 80 degrees latitude, which informs us the arctic is loaded with midwinter cold, and has plenty to spare.

DMI2 1227B meanT_2014

Besides dumping cold down on Europe, some is being dumped south into Canada and the western USA.  The thing to remember is that not only the Pole creates cold, but all areas of Tundra and Taiga generate cold as well, during these shortest of days. Better look for where you left your mittens.

DMI2 1227B gfs_t2m_noram_1

(These maps are created by Dr. Ryan Maue at the Weatherbell site.)

 

ARCTIC SEA-ICE RECOVERY —The usual but different—

Since I last focused on this subject back on November 29, the sea-ice has continued its usual amazing increase, a tripling and even quadrupling which happens every year, and in some ways is ho-hum news.  I only note it because next summer, when the decrease goes the other way, sensationalist headlines may read, “Ice decreases by huge amounts! Only a third of it remains!”  It sells papers. What puzzles me is why they don’t sell even more papers, in December,  with headlines reading, “Ice increases by huge amounts! Extent triples!”

Here are the maps for November 29, (left), and December 12 (right).

DMI2 1129 arcticicennowcast DMI2 1212 arcticicennowcast

The increase in ice is pretty much as to be expected. What I am focused on is slight differences from the norm, that may hint at changes in cycles, whether they be short term weather patterns or longer term 60 year cycles involving the AMO or PDO.

The swift freeze of Hudson Bay is ahead of normal, and of concern to me because the open waters of Hudson Bay to New Hampshire’s north is a buffer against the full brunt of arctic discharges. As soon as Hudson Bay freezes we are more susceptible to pure arctic outbreaks from due north. If the Great Lakes freeze we are more susceptible to cold from the Canadian prairie as well.  To my east, even though the Atlantic does not freeze outside of the bays, its waters can be signifigantly cooled by the right conditions.

One such condition involves the discharge of ice from Baffin Bay, which is a great producer and exporter of ice.  Even in the dead of winter when temperatures are down near forty below, open water can appear in the north of Baffin Bay, because so much  ice is exported down the west coast of the bay that a polynya forms in the north. That ice then continues along the coast of Labrador, and icebergs continue down into the entrance of the St Lawrence or even further. The flow is far more complex than you’d think, as currents can dive down beneath milder waters, but in general there is a counter-current to the south hugging the American coast, as the Gulf Stream surges north.

A second discharge of ice comes down through Fram Strait, down the east coast of Greenland towards and past Iceland. The ice in this current cannot dive even when the current’s water does, and therefore ice floats onward and effects the temperature of the North Atlantic. In extreme cases (1815-1817) so much ice is exported that icebergs can ground on the coast of Ireland, and Europe’s summer temperatures can be cooled.

It should be noted that the ice moving down the east coast of Greenland comes from the Arctic Basin, and therefore subtracts from the amount of ice left behind up north for people to fret about next summer. Although their worry about less ice in the arctic focuses on Global Warming, the concern should be cooling. Here is a quote from the year 1817:

“We learn that a vessel is to be fitted out by Government for the purpose of attempting again the north-west passage, the season being considered as peculiarly favourable to such an expedition. Our readers need not be informed that larger masses of ice than ever were before known have this year been seen floating in the Atlantic, and that from their magnitude and solidity, they reached even the fortieth latitude before they were melted into a fluid state. From an examination of the Greenland captains, it has been found that owing to some convulsions of nature , the sea was more open and moré free from compact ice than in any former voyage they ever made: that several ships actually reached the eighty-fourth degree of latitude, in which no ice whatever was found; that for the first time for 400 years, vessels penetrated to the west coast of Greenland, and that they apprehended no obstacle to their even reaching the pole, if it had consisted with their duty to their employers to make the attempt…”

The fact this discharge of ice is concurrent with “The Year Without A Summer” is mentioned in this post,  http://wattsupwiththat.com/2013/07/08/1815-1816-and-1817-a-polar-puzzle/  and further information can be found in this treasure trove: http://wattsupwiththat.com/2009/06/20/historic-variation-in-arctic-ice/

While nothing as dramatic as 1815-1817 has occurred recently, I do like to keep an eye on the discharge of ice, and utilize a layman’s assumption that less discharge may make Europe warmer, while more may make Europe colder, the following summer.

This past autumn the ice-export down the coast of Greenland, and also down the west side of Baffin Bay, were below normal, but recently the extent has increased to near normal.  This represents a surge or pulse of ice that bears watching, IMHO.

On the Pacific side of the Arctic there has been an impressive increase of sea-ice in the Chukchi Sea north of Bering Strait. It is still below normal, but is closer to normal. I like to watch this area for two reasons. First, once it freezes over Siberian air can remain cold when it takes the “short cut” route from Siberia to Alaska, and second, it gives hints about the current nature of the PDO. The PDO has been in a short-term “warm” spike midst a long term “cold” phase, so I would expect ice in the Bering Strait to be below normal, but ice will increase as the short-term “warm” spike ends.

There are past records of “warm” spikes during the “cold” PDO, however this is the first time we’ve been able to watch it with the detail satellites allow us,  so of course I’m watching with great interest.

On the Atlantic side the exact opposite has been occurring. We saw, last spring and summer, a “cold” spike during a “warm” phase of the AMO. Right on cue there was more ice along the north coast of Svalbard, even those it was the warm season and everywhere else the ice was decreasing. Then this “cold” spike ended, and now, even though everywhere else sea-ice is increasing, the northern reaches of Barents Sea have seen a decrease in sea-ice.  (Even more intriguing is the fact there are some signs the AMO may be about to go through a second “cold” spike.)

At this point the arctic is pretty much completely frozen over, and my attention turns to how the ice is being pushed around up there.  However there are a couple of areas outside the arctic that freeze over, which are interesting to watch.

The first is the Sea of Okhotsk east of Russia and north of Japan. Extremely cold air has been pouring into the Pacific off Asia, and these waters are starting to freeze over swiftly. (Their refreeze were below-normal, earlier.) I have a hunch the variations in how these waters cool may have something to do with the end of the “warm” spike in the PDO.

The second is the northern reaches of the Baltic Sea, especially the Gulf of Bothnia between Sweden and Finland. Those waters are just plain fascinating to me, because so many fresh water rivers pour into the Baltic Sea that the further north you go the fresher the water becomes, until in the very north of the Gulf of Bothnia fresh water fish can swim in the Sea. Because the water is so much fresher it freezes more easily, and the northern Baltic becomes a hypersensitive measure of Scandinavian cold. When southwest winds and the Atlantic rules, there is little freezing, but when winds shift to the brutal east, the entire Baltic can freeze.

Having discussed the extent maps, I’ll swiftly go over the daily maps. I apologize for not being able to name the individual storms like I did last year. Other areas of my life got too bossy.

One obvious difference from last year has been that storms don’t ride along the arctic coast of Eurasia from Barents Sea, through the Kara and Laptev Seas, all the way to the East Siberian Seas, and meet up with Pacific storms in the Chukchi Sea. Instead they run into a wall, and are bent north to the Pole and even Canada, or south into Russia.

Back on November 29 an Atlantic storm had crashed into the wall and devided, with half heading towards Canada and half down into Russia. In the process it brought a huge surge of Atlantic air north over the Pole. Last year this Atlantic air surged over Europe and kept them relatively warm all winter, but this time that mildness was wasted on sea ice.

DMI2 1129 mslp_latest.bigDMI2 1129 temp_latest.big

At this point something ominous happened, if you live in Scandinavia. My ears perked forward in interest, for it may be a forerunner of what could become a pattern, later in the winter. This time it was quickly rebuffed, but later in the winter ic could “lock in”.

What happened is that as the low pressure was defected south into Russia high pressure extended west to its north, creating a flow of east winds along the arctic coast. Brutally cold Siberian air rolled west (last winter I called it “the snout of Igor”), and Europe chilled, though not to the degree it could have chilled if the east winds had continued.

DMI2 1130B mslp_latest.bigDMI2 1130B temp_latest.bigDMI2 1201 mslp_latest.bigDMI2 1201 temp_latest.big

On December 1 there is a cross-polar-flow from the Atlantic to the Pacific, drawing mild Atlantic air right across the Pole. The flow is about as non-zonal as it can be. If you are into looking for proof of Global Warming, now is the time you point out a spike in temperatures at the Pole, but the exact same spoke can be used as a disproof.

What you need to do is think of how a summer thunderstorm uplifts hot and muggy air and breeds a cooling shower, and use that as an analogy for what is occurring on a far grander scale up at the cap of the planet. Warm air is uplifted, heat is lost, and the air comes down cooler.

Of course, this is a grotesque simplification, but when debating Global Warming, who really cares? (What is actually occurring as the mild air is uplifted up at the Pole is fascinating, and I don’t claim to understand it, but have learned enough to make it a subject for an amusing post I’m working on, and may even submit to WUWT. Rather than supplying any answers, it asked questions that need to be asked.)

Europe was spared the icebox of an arctic outbreak from the east by a series of lows that pushed the high pressure (and its east winds,) north to the Pole.

DMI2 1204 mslp_latest.bigDMI2 1204 temp_latest.big

However rather than this low pressure bumping the high pressure over to Canada and continuing on to the east, the low itself got deflected north as high pressure again built ahead of it. A new cross-polar-flow, this time from Asia to Canada, began to appear, and temperatures at the Pole crashed.

DMI2 1206 mslp_latest.bigDMI2 1206 temp_latest.big

By December 6 the most recent pattern began to manifest, and the final seven maps showing storm after storm failing to get across the Atlantic, and instead curling around north of Norway back towards Greenland. This has created a second invasion of milder Atlantic air to pour north through Scandinavia, on the east side of storms, as frigid winds howl down the east coast of Greenland and make Iceland cold on the west side of storms.

This pattern is (I assume) self-destructive, as eventually the North Atlantic (seemingly) will get too mild to its northeast and too cold to its southwest to perpetuate the pattern. Therefore I am watching in great interest to see signs of its demise, and to see what will set up next.

DMI2 1208B mslp_latest.bigDMI2 1208B temp_latest.bigDMI2 1209B mslp_latest.bigDMI2 1209B temp_latest.bigDMI2 1210B mslp_latest.bigDMI2 1210B temp_latest.big DMI2 1211B mslp_latest.bigDMI2 1211B temp_latest.big

DMI2 1212 mslp_latest.bigDMI2 1212 temp_latest.big

DMI2 1212B mslp_latest.bigDMI2 1212B temp_latest.big

DMI2 1214 mslp_latest.bigDMI2 1214 temp_latest.big

As a final interesting tidbit to this post I’ll add the graph of polar temperatures, which shows the big warming spike caused by the initial invasion of Atlantic air, the crash as the Siberian cross-polar-flow developed, and the start of a second spike as the second invasion of Atlantic air begins.

DMI2 1214 meanT_2014

All in all I would say this winter is promising to be another winter when any semblance of a zonal flow is rare, and the sea-ice will be wracked and tortured by storms. It will be interesting to watch.