ARCTIC SEA-ICE –The Newfoundland Crunch–UPDATED

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The coast of Newfoundland is an excellent example, this year, of how the sea-ice”extent” graph can decrease even as the “volume” graph increases. In the middle of February the sea-ice had spread far from the coast, to the cross-hairs formed by the 50° W longitude and 50° N latitude lines.

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However a month later we see that the area the ice covered has shrunk back to the west.

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Initially one might think the decrease in extent was due to melting, but then we notice how thick the ice is along the Newfoundland coast. What has happened is that a series of nor’easters, which gave headline-making snows in the northeast of the USA, created persistent east winds to the waters off Newfoundland, pushing all the ice towards the shore, where it piled up. In actual fact the “volume” of this particular bunch of ice likely was roughly the same, but the “extent” was greatly reduced.

When the sea-ice piled up to such a degree it became a problem. Or actually a number of problems.

The first problem was that boats up in those waters are built to handle ordinary sea-ice, which tends to be a foot or two thick, and a bit slushy in its consistency.  It is not the same thing as the huge and beautiful icebergs that drift down to those coasts after calving off massive glaciers up in Greenland. It is sea-ice a boat can motor through. But when east winds persist the ice piles up thicker and thicker, and this year reached thicknesses approaching thirty feet. At that point the smaller boats became stuck, and a few even were sunk, and icebreakers and helicopters need to be called to the rescue.

Crunch 5 la-scie-fishermen-rescued-from-boat-suck-in-ice

This creates a second problem. Certain climate scientists have been warning that all the sea-ice was melting away and polar bears would have no ice to stand on, and would drown. To have ice thirty feet thick along the shore placed these gentlemen in an embarrassing situation. Like a boy with undone homework standing in front of an Algebra teacher, they needed to think, and think fast.

I must give the fellows credit. If they were standing before an Algebra teacher, their excuses would cause the entire class to rise and give them a standing ovation.

Basically their excuse was that less ice made for looser ice, that was more able to shift and crunch up against the coast. In order to understand this lovely excuse you need to understand the concept of “fast-ice.”

Fast-ice is actually ice that is slow. It was so slow that it was “frozen fast” to the shore, where it can remain for years, during periods when the climate is cold. When the climate warms, large areas of fast-ice can break off. It is very different from “shelf-ice”, which is far thicker and derives its origins from glaciers. Fast-ice derives its origins from sea-ice, and is seldom thicker than thirty feet. Fast-ice bergs are far more crumbly than the huge bergs than can sink a Titanic,  for they are made of compacted chips of ice and slush, as opposed to glacial bergs, which are solid ice. A slab of fast-ice tend to quickly revert to many small chips of sea-ice, and a thirty foot thick slab can then spread out like butter over bread to cover a larger area with chunks of sea-ice, causing a confusing rise in “extent” even as weather warms.

In any case, the excuse now being given for the situation along the coast of Newfoundland gets double points, for not only does it explain the ice getting there, but also explains the larger chunks of sea-ice which are in the mix.

According to this excuse hypothesis, before Global Warming happened all the ice was held to the north as fast-ice, and the thinner fast-ice formed a wall that held the thicker fast-ice in check behind it. Now Global Warming has melted the thinner fast-ice, which allows the thicker fast-ice to come south.

I hope you recognize the beauty of this excuse explanation. Now not only does Global Warming explain more sea-ice, but it also explains bigger chunks of ice in the sea-ice. Because bigger chunks may damage and even sink small boats, it becomes all the more important to raise carbon taxes on hard-working fishermen, and fund climate scientists.

But there is one small, third problem. We have the records of sailors going back into the past, and can look to see if indeed fast-ice held sea-ice to the north.

The route to the posts of the Hudson Bay Company in Hudson Bay tried to avoid the sea-ice that moves south down the west side of Baffin Bay and along the coast of Labrador, by sailing along the east side of Baffin Bay, but to enter Hudson Bay they had to cross over and penetrate the river of sea-ice. And when did these voyages start? Well, the “Nonesuch” sailed up there and then down to the very south of Hudson Bay in 1668, and founded the first post. So we have 350 years of records, showing that some years the passage was easy, and some years the passage was blocked.

“Oh, well”, you may say, “That only shows the passage was possible because the lack of Global Warming kept the thicker sea-ice trapped behind fast-ice to the north”.

But here we face a fourth problem. Besides traders after furs there were whalers after whales, and they sailed farther north. In fact, after what was likely an amazing discharge of sea-ice around 1816-1817, one whaler is even reported to have sailed up the east coast of Greenland, around the top, and down the west coast.

Also, besides the whalers, there was a whole slew of British explorers attempting to navigate and map the Northwest Passage in the first half of the 1800’s, and they quite routinely navigated through Baffin Bay.

Lastly, members of the ill-fated American “Polaris” expedition, after steaming up to the to the top of an open Nares Strait in 1871, became separated from the ship and were marooned on an ice flow at the bottom of Nares Strait in 1872. What better proof could you ask for (that the sea-ice was mobile) than to have a group of men ride it all the way south along the west coast of Baffin Bay and onward, over 1800 miles,  to where they were rescued off the coast of Newfoundland in late April 1873 by sealers.

Crunch 6 Polaris_Expedition_route

All in all, judging from the sea-ice conditions reported in the past, I have to conclude the excuse hypothesis that sea-ice has only recently come south, because Global Warming’s melting freed it, has been refuted. However I do give climate scientists an “A” for effort.

Perhaps there was more fast-ice during the Little Ice Age, but it seems the flow of sea-ice down the west side of Baffin Bay, and even through Nares Strait at the top of Baffin Bay, is a persistent geological reality, even in cold periods.   Perhaps it may briefly halt during an especially cold winter, but ice grinds south along the northeast coast of Greenland even when winds are at -40°, only rarely becoming fastened to the shore for a while, and I can see no reason Baffin Bay should differ.

In conclusion,  the flow of ice down the west side of Baffin Bay and along the coast of Newfoundland has varied, and still can vary, greatly. Some years there is little, some years there is a lot, some years the ice freezes solid to the shore and becomes “fast-ice”, some years big areas of fast-ice break lose and swirl south. The people of Newfoundland have learned to grin and bear it, but likely appreciate the efforts of climate scientists to bring reporters north, for it increases the tourist trade.

Sadly, when reporters focus in on the trials and tribulations of the people up there, when east winds pile the sea-ice up along their coasts, the climate scientists hog the spotlight, and there is hardly any reporting of what the fishermen suffer. Is it only climate scientists who deserve pity?

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/manitoba/arctic-sea-ice-research-1.4583150

*******

It took some digging, but I did finally find news about the fishermen.

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/newfoundland-labrador/fishing-boats-stuck-ice-la-scie-1.4151075

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ARCTIC SEA-ICE –Vortex Hubbub–

My favorite long-range forecasters, Josrph D’Aleo, Joe Bastardi and Tom Downs over at Weatherbell, forecast a sort of sandwich winter back in October. That is: Two slices of bitter cold with a thaw in the middle. They have gotten the first two parts, and now I’m adopting a wait-and-see attitude about the third, but I must admit it increasingly looks like they have hit the nail on the head. If the long term forecasts prove true, that team deserves confetti and a parade, or at least some kudos (whatever those are), because predicting a winter the October before it occurs is danged hard.

I don’t usually pay much attention to upper atmosphere stuff, as it is over my head, but I do note the high clouds on days I can see up that far, and know a few old-timer rules concerning the various types of cloud, how fast they are moving, and the direction they are moving in relation to the winds down here on earth. So far I have seen nothing all that alarming, but did order an extra load of firewood, due to this couplet:

The longer and stronger the January thaw
The more that February’s snowstorms will awe.

I figure this is largely common sense. Weather is seldom “normal” or “average”, but rather tends to swing back and forth between warm spells and cold spells, so it is quite pragmatic to expect a colder February after a warmer January. Also, because spring starts in February way down south on the Gulf of Mexico coast, storms can access some warm, juicy air in February, which can feed storms like gasoline into a fire, and brings us people to the north some amazing February and March falls of snow.

But what has this to do with arctic sea-ice?

Largely it is due to the fact the Arctic Ocean is the source of our coldest air. The way winds howl up there influence us, as well as the movement of sea-ice. Also, though it has less influence on sea-ice than winds do, if the arctic is robbed of its coldest air sea-ice will form more slowly and less thickly. (For this reason biased Alarmists tend to focus on times the arctic is above normal, utterly ignoring the not-inconsequential fact we bumpkins down south in New Hampshire are freezing our socks off.)

In any case, one phenomenon that influences both sea-ice and New Hampshire is a strong cross-polar-flow from Siberia across into Canada, and then down to New Hampshire. These winds create polynyas of open water along the Siberian coast, as ice is shifted across the Pole via the Transpolar Drift to smash as impressive pressure ridges against Canada.  At first this lessens the area of sea-ice, but then the polynyas freeze over, and the sea-ice recovers back to what it was, in terms of “area”. But in terms of “volume”, no sea-ice has melted, and the total amount has increased. (You have to pay attention to such details when in discussions with biased Alarmists, due to their tendency to pick and chose only the data that supports their bias.)

So far the winds down at the level of the sea-ice have been mostly gentle, but I do notice when the winds aloft are more vigorous. This is not to say I understand what is going on up that high, but just as old-timers around here notice the antics of high clouds, I’m sure savvy old Eskimos are noticing the high clouds streaming south, and coming to conclusions. Therefore I perked up when Ryan Maue  tweeted about a “vortex”, way, way up at the tropopause, getting whipped across from Siberia all the way down to another “vortex” located over Hudson Bay. I have yet to see any sign of this cross-polar-bullwhip translating down to the surface, but it does make me pause and scratch my jaw a bit.

Also the meteorologist Judah Cohen produced a comparison of the “Vortex” as models forecast it to be on February 3 with how the situation looked during a very cold period back in 2014. (2014 to left, with North America at six o’clock. 2018 forecast to right, with North America displaced to eight o’clock.)

 

Judging from all this above-my-head stuff, history could repeat itself, and we could see a return to bitter winter. However so far our down-to-earth maps don’t show it.

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Though we are currently getting some north winds from the low developing out to sea, they are nothing like the blasts we got after Christmas. Our current “cold spell” will get down to 17°F (-8° C), but you would be surprised at how kindly such temperatures feel, after your body has acclimatized to windchill of -30°F (-34°C). Not that I don’t hunch my shoulders a bit against the chill, but I have noticed fellows younger and more hotblooded than I sauntering about with their jackets unzipped. And this is a cold spell? If you look west in the map you can see plenty of Pacific air leaking into the flow, diluting and moderating the winter. West winds are so different from north winds, in New England, that I can see why Indians felt different angels in the spiritual hierarchy, (wherein God [or the Great Spirit] is the only One worthy of worship),  were in charge of the west wind. After bitter blasts from the north, west winds, even when not a true Chinook, are downright kindly.

Therefore there is no real short-term reason for alarm. True, the meteorologists who focus on the upper atmosphere have a better record for correct forcasts, but sometimes even they are wrong. In fact I hope they are wrong. I don’t like bitter cold. However when they agree with old-timer’s maxims, I am especially inclined to take heed. And I remember,

The longer and stronger the January thaw
The more that February’s snowstorms will awe.

And for this reason I have made a complete mess of the side lawn of the Childcare.

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The wise old Indians used to say, “if you want to know how bad the winter will be, look at the white man’s woodpile.”

In terms of arctic sea-ice, having the “vortex” move down to Hudson Bay should lead to above-normal temperatures over the Pole as a whole, but we will have wait and see how the cross-polar-flow translates down to the surface. Having very cold air blast from Siberia to Canada will please Alarmists with polynyas along the Siberian coast, but that coastal ice is far thicker than last year, and shifting it across the arctic could lead to far thicker ice in the Central Arctic.

Stay tuned.

ARCTIC SEA ICE –Ice Traps Narwhals–

One thing that has fascinated me, in my study of sea-ice, is how swiftly vast areas can freeze over. This is apparent from many sources.

The captains of whaling ships, tempted north by whale’s habit of hunting in the rich ecosystem that exists at the very edge of the ice, sometimes appear like cowards for turning tail and fleeing the refreeze far before the whales chose to depart. (You might think whales would know best when to depart, for they suffocate when trapped under ice). However this choice does not seem so foolish once you understand larger whales could break up through a foot of ice, (with smaller beluga whales following and using the air-holes big whales created), while, without a strong following wind, a sailing craft could be bogged down and halted by a skim of ice only an inch thick. And despite all precautions, the ice formed so swiftly some years that whaling ships, and sometimes entire fleets of ships, were caught by the ice, resulting in some remarkable stories of survival.

The O-buoy cameras captured the refreeze on several occasions, and it always was remarkable how quickly it occurred. One day the buoy would be bobbing in open water, and then suddenly there would be a lot of slush swiftly transformed to solid ice.

The refreeze happens so swiftly I’ve taken to calling it a “flash freeze”.  The phenomenon is particularly striking in the vast but relatively shallow waters of Hudson Bay.  Several times I’ve made Alarmists look silly by drawing them into a sort of a trap, pointing out the open waters of Hudson Bay in late November and getting them to claim the open water is a sign of Global Warming; then the entire bay freezes over even as the discussion continues, (because some debates go on and on and on, for days, at some websites.)

Last year the jet stream resulted in south winds, and the freeze was late on Hudson Bay, but this year sees north winds (caused by the same looping jet that results in less ice in Bering Strait). Below is a comparison of the ice on the two years, with the lilac hue representing ice roughly a foot thick, which is enough for polar bears to walk on. (2016 to left; 2017 to right).

 

To me a change in the first formation of sea-ice by weeks doesn’t mean much. Back in the early history of the fur trade there are records of years when the sea-ice formed very late, followed by years when the Hudson Bay post could not be resupplied, for the ice was so thick and the summer so cold that the sea-ice never melted.  The change of the past two years is merely indicative of natural variation. However for some Alarmists the fact that the ice formed earlier this year causes deep depression, for they feel the change should be in one direction to be a true “Death Spiral”. Instead they see a dead spiral.

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A depressed human mind clicks into problem-solving mode, which in some cases turns Alarmists into Skeptics, but in other cases causes Alarmists to look further afield to seek verification of their belief.

One “verification” I have heard involved the suggestion that such variations have increased, due to Global Warming, and this is proven by the fact that narwhals, which are adapted to the Arctic, are “now being trapped” by the “changed” formation of ice. I haven’t yet heard the claim this fall, but fully expect it, because the formation of ice in Hudson Bay was “ahead of normal” while the formation of ice in Foxe Basin to its north was “later than normal”. To have waters in escape-routes freeze before waters further north creates the conditions that cause entrapment.

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In actual fact, the cause of below normal ice-formation to the north is likely not because the ice didn’t form ahead of schedule, but rather because howling north winds blew the newly formed ice away from shore, forming a polynya of open water. It is unlikely whales could even get to such open water, not only because sea-ice lies in the way, but also because they aren’t stupid. (Also polar bears are not endangered by such polynyas; they simply ride the sea-ice, when it blows away from shore, though mothers with cubs are more prone to keep their cubs on shore. Also some older males, who are usually first to move out to sea, perhaps are savvy to gales, and in no hurry to head out when winds howl from the north.)

Whales do become entrapped, despite their natural wisdom, and it usually involves a field of pack-ice that formed in the north moving south across the mouth of a bay.  As Narwhals live to be fifty, likely the older whales know enough to avoid such entrapment, but even they can be trapped by once-every-hundred-year conditions they’ve never seen before. Old reports tell of a thousand narwhals being entrapped in Disko Bay in 1915 (which is too early for Global Warming to be a cause).

All the same, an entrapment of narwhals does tend to excite the Alarmist media, leading to claims Global Warming is to blame. Here is a Canadian article from two summers ago:

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/unicorn-of-the-sea-1.3718732

Rather than becoming upset by such blather, I have found it rewarding to simply do the fact-checking that the editors used to do, but now seemingly are too lazy (or politically invested) to do. Often I find myself going on voyages from my armchair, seeing sights I’ve never seen before, and learning wondrous things. The photographs alone can be strikingly beautiful.

Narwhal 4 narwhal

While there is an unspoken insinuation, in the above article, that the narwhals  in the above picture are entrapped, I can find no statement that they actually were. Apparently is was a picture “from files”. Narwhal are superbly adapted to life among ice floes, and there is no indication their populations are endangered. However the researcher in the above study wanted to learn more about the narwhal’s horn. (And who will pay for such study? Not most businessmen. However there are heaps of money spent on Global Warming, as long as you promote its reality.)

The narwhal’s “horn” is actually a single tooth, usually seen only in males, but also in 15 % of females (in a few cases they have two). Like most teeth they have a nerve in the middle. In the narwhal’s case the nerve is highly developed. What is it sensing? Some have suggested it may amount to a sixth sense, able to detect salinity (which increases and decreases as sea-ice freezes and thaws). What is even more interesting is the idea (which could be balderdash) that when male narwhal tap their horns together it has nothing to do with male rivalry, but rather is a way of exchanging information gathered by this sixth sense.

Do you see what I mean about the wondrous ideas you can chance upon from an armchair? I also learned that Vikings could make a fortune by harpooning a narwhal, because, a thousand years ago, the horns were worth more than their weight in gold. (This alone justifies the existence of the Greenland colony, even when the farms became unprofitable. )

To return to the subject of entrapment, they do occur, and are a boon to those who stand to profit. That tends to be polar bears, who can grow so fat from clawing and hauling the whales up onto the ice and gorging on them that their bellies drag on the ground. Also men stand to profit. During the entrapment of 2008 off Pond Inlet, the bureaucrats involved were smart enough to see the whales were doomed and going to die whether they were “harvested” or not, and waived ordinary quotas of around 130 narwals, allowing over 200 extra whales to be harvested from the entrapment. (As the local population of narwhal was 20,000, this did not constitute serious over-hunting.) This boon was shared with others in the Inuit community, (though I imagine some tree-huggers to the south were horrified, and felt an ice-breaker should have been deployed to free the whales), (unless they themselves had to pay for such a rescue).

http://www.nunatsiaqonline.ca/stories/article/Hundreds_trapped_by_ice/

Though such entrapment is awful, if you are a narwhal, they are apparently a fact of life, like car crashes on super-highways are for humans.

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The pity is that Alarmist media cannot seem to educate the public, and doesn’t do a little reading-up on the subject, but rather seems determined to horrify. Horror is not helpful, unless your intent is to herd people with a sort of bullying. To paraphrase FDR, in truth we have nothing to be horrified about but horror itself.

In some cases I don’t blame some scientists for promoting their own area of interest by making it seem more important than it actually is. However when scientists hurt other scientists for bringing up points which suggest their area of interest is not as important as they suggested (as may very well be the case with Global Warming) I think they are stepping over the line, and have left the bounds of civilized behavior.

This was recently the case when a group of scientists attacked Susan J. Crockford, suggesting she had no business talking about polar bears. In actual fact she is a highly qualified zoologist who has long studied and written about arctic wildlife, including polar bears. One scientist who attacked her was Michael Mann, who hasn’t studied polar bears very much at all, beyond their status as a political icon, yet who has himself written papers containing data that caused them to be soundly debunked. He needs to clean up his own work before criticizing others.

A fine example of Susan J. Crockford’s work actually involves the entrapment of narwhals, and can be found here:

Narwhal and beluga ice entrapment is natural – not caused by global warming

One thing I notice about Susan’s posts is how careful she is to give references for every point she makes, and all data she uses. She is a good example of fact-checking which puts me to shame, and should put the media to even greater shame.

Another thing I notice is that in her posts “comments are closed”. I think she doesn’t want to spend time moderating the comments likely to appear, or to deal with internet “trolls”, whom I know, from personal experience, can be nasty, and can draw you into debate that is fairly useless because they have no real interest in what you are saying. (I myself sometimes get a sort of pleasure in battling such trolls, but I can understand anyone who doesn’t have time for it.) Susan gets enough grief from climate scientists, and has no need to seek extra grief from trolls.

A last thing I note is that her posts do have a tab for “tips and notes”, and I know that if I write a polite letter I will get a polite response. (In my case she kindly has pointed out my factual blunders, which I am grateful for.  The pity is that her fellow scientists are not equally grateful for her sterling work.)

In the end it is likely we will not often receive the kindness we crave, from our fellow man. Such kindness is a beautiful rarity on this planet, and if I don’t receive any on a gloomy day I try to give some. Also I find that if I simply go out and study what our Creator has created I see beauty, and that gift is a beautiful kindness I don’t feel I’ve earned, and I accept it with gratitude. There are Christmas gifts all around us.

Narwhal 5 Pod_Monodon_monoceros

 

 

 

 

ARCTIC SEA ICE –The Surge Snipped–

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

LOCAL VIEW –June Refresher–

When I looked at the map this morning I was actually looking south of Texas, because Joe Bastardi said there might be tropical development down that way, over the next week or ten days, and he has already completely dropped my jaw by nailing the last two early-season tropical developments, something like two weeks ahead of time. Considering I am lucky to tell you what will happen this afternoon, I find it pretty amazing when the long-range experts hit the nail on the head, though Mr. Bastardi was rather ho-hum about his success, (perhaps because the tropical storms weren’t all that big.) In any case I did note a bit of a flare-up way down in the Bay of Campeche, and then turned my gaze from the tropical to the arctic, which, in a sense, currently is in my own back yard. Not that it is called “arctic” in June; rather it is called “polar”.

If you look at the map you can see a low northeast of Nova Scotia  is blasting us with refreshing air, which is actually coming down from Hudson Bay, which still is ice-covered.

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The nice lobe of cool, Canadian air extends as high pressure from Hudson Bay right down to Georgia, but, although its east side has north winds and continues to rush the refreshment south, the west side has south winds and sweltering heat is coming north in the center of the USA.

You’d be surprised how often this is the case in New England. We are climate unto ourselves, as different from the body of the nation as a head is from a torso.  (People from other parts of the USA might use other body parts in the analogy, but I won’t go there.)  It is no fun when we get cold fog and drizzle when the rest of the nation gets summer, but when they’re sweltering, as we enjoy sparkling weather, we get our chance to be smug.

Cool June 2 IMG_3114

Cool June 8 IMG_3137

I was a bit tired at the start today, as I have to put in some overtime taking blasted government-mandated on-line courses when I should be sleeping. Last night I learned children should have less “screen time” at Childcare, (we have absolutely none, as children get plenty of TV, video games and computer time at home, and anyway, Bill Gates didn’t spend time on a computer as a child and still managed to develop “computer skills”.) I also learned children should get at least an hour of strenuous exercise a day. (Our kids are outside all day long, and tend to learn under trees like philosophers of ancient Greece.) I learned parents are not responsible for the welfare of children, but teachers are. I learned that children once learned to hop, gallop and skip from older children, but because families are now smaller and children are grouped with others of the same age, they must be taught to hop by teachers. There was instruction on hopping correctly, and on safety while hopping. (My eyes were rolling so much it made a sound like bowling balls rumbling down a bowling alley.) There was a section on getting cheaper toys, because getting a few expensive toys might make children quarrel. (The kids at our childcare seem to demonstrate that a stick is their favorite toy, and even though there are thousands of sticks in the woods, they still manage to quarrel about who owns a particular stick.) While discussing the expense of tricycles, I saw that besides tricycles there was the expense of helmets. Yikes! I had no idea tricycles were so dangerous. I’ll have to buy a parachute for one our four-year-olds, who loves to swing.

Cool June 3 FullSizeRender

In any case I got 100% on the test at the end, because I know the right answers even though I may not agree they are right. Then today we headed off on a beautiful cool morning.  The children think nothing of playing their way across three miles by lunch.Cool June 5 IMG_3158

The children are in the far distance, with a member of my staff. I don’t keep them in shape. They keep me in shape, just keeping up with them. This path is the top of an earthen dam at “Hadley’s”  ( a flood control reservoir) and the children are on their way to Checkerberry Woods”.

Cool June 4 IMG_3153

They headed north along the “Hummock Trail” to a small brook.

Cool June 9 IMG_3139

Some parents worry that we don’t teach enough Math, so I videoed a child taking my class on fluid dynamics, turbulence, and Strange Attractors.  (It is “strange” how children are “attracted” to running water.) Parents love seeing their children hard at work at academics.

Cool June 7 IMG_3160

We had a hard time making back in time for lunch, for the wild strawberries are ripe, and the children love to graze on the tiny berries. The berries are not “certified organic”, but I figure nature can’t be bothered with government regulations.

The peas the kids helped me plant are already blooming, though there was a major cold wave after they were planted, with snow and temperatures down in the single digits (F). They had sprouted, but I lucked out as they hadn’t quite emerged above the dirt. The kids likely will be munching edible-podded-peas next week, which is very early for this far north. The old saying was that you plant peas on Patriot’s day (April 19) and pick them on Independence day (July 4).

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Of course, with the air whooshing down from Hudson Bay, we might get frost. That is one danger of our refreshing escape from the sweltering heat further south. The maps show frost (light pink)  was close this morning, and will lurk in hollows tomorrow morning.

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Another danger is thunder, when the sweltering air finally pushes north and charges over us, and Sunday morning dawns 25 degrees warmer.

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However the heat seldom holds, in June in New England, and by the time I head back to work on Monday morning more air will be swaying the green boughs, clear and clean and crisp and straight from Hudson Bay.

Refresh 4 gfs_t2m_east_13 (Warning.  The weather is so gorgeous this website has been put under a poetry alert.)

 

 

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.

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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.

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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.

 

 

 

 

 

LOCAL VIEW –A Beltway Basher–(Updated and Concluded Sunday Morning)

A little low that gave us a couple inches of fluff blew up into a huge gale as it moved off to Labrador, and all day we’ve been shuddering in the howling north winds to its rear.

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The really cold air is further west, and is somewhat modified by passing over the Great Lakes, which are starting to freeze but are more open than they were last year. We are getting a shot from Hudson Bay, which is frozen over. Our only hope of moderated air is for the gale over Labrador to swing some Atlantic air around and down from the north, but such air is so greatly modified you can’t really call it warm. As it is the blasts of air we’re getting are bone dry. Dew points are at 0°F (-17°C)as temperatures struggle to reach 20°F (-7°C). It is the sort of day where the cat’s fur crackles with static, and it doesn’t want to be patted. I have a raging case of cabin fever, and don’t much want to be patted either.North America Jan 19 cmc_t2m_noram_3My fellow weather geeks are all excited by a storm that doesn’t exist, except in the imagination of computer models. The weak low over Texas in the above map is the forerunner of an impulse that could explode over the east coast. The American, Canadian and European models are all showing it. It is the sort of situation that once would fill me with excitement, as it would be a formidable foe to be fought, but now it only makes me crabby, as I am under doctor’s orders to avoid any sort of lifting that tenses my stomach muscles, after my operation. It a little like being presented with a beautiful woman or delicious meal when you are young and healthy, and yet told you aren’t allowed to touch or taste. A whirling blizzard of snow could be on its way, but I’m just suppose to sit idly by.

I am allowed to lift paper, which means I’m stuck with producing the slips that show all our customers how much they spent at our Farm-childcare last year. They need it for their taxes, for childcare is a tax-deduction. I don’t see why they can’t just do the job themselves. They should be well aware of what they spent. However the stupid government doesn’t trust them. They want lots and lots of slips of paper. As if this is something I need added to my life. I have to waste my time producing formal forms, handing them to my customers, who then have to waste their time shuffling the forms with other forms into a heap sent to the IRS, who then has to waste their time hunting for errors.  Someday all of us will stand before God, who will ask us how we spent our time on Earth, and we’ll answer, “Shuffling forms.”

I wouldn’t mind it so much if the government was so careful, and was meticulous about accounting for each penny they spent, but the irresponsible buffoons simply print money whenever they need it. It is complete hypocrisy for them to demand that tax-payers do what they don’t.

Obviously I’m very grumpy. I glance out the window as the wind shudders by, and see the swirling powder snow glittering in the sunshine, and don’t see a lick of beauty. I just feel the drafty house breathing cold air, and want to go out and shovel, to get my blood stirring, but can’t. I am allowed to go out and walk, but there is only so much doddering-about I can do outside before I just feel like a shuffling old man, out on his “constitutional”. I want action that has purpose.

I suppose finding beauty in a grim day is a worthwhile purpose, and I must begrudge that walking about in a howling, shuddering wind does nudge me with a sense that there is grandeur about, but it doesn’t last. As soon as I step back into the house I feel like I’m back in prison. The paperwork rankles. Even when I try to write a sonnet, the cabin fever sits on my head like a helmet of lead. Then the phone rings. It is yet another pollster, wanting to pick my brains about the upcoming New Hampshire Primary.

The pines have been roaring up in the hills
As the furnace is roaring, increasing my bills
And I am now pacing, cursing the shills
That constantly call up to poll “won’ts” and “wills”.

I feel I could rip out the damn telephone
If only those pollsters would leave me alone;
Pretenders, cajolers, they’re fake to the bone,
Part of a problem they pretend to disown.

The winter wind roars and the drifting snow hisses
Yet no one’s aware of what everyone misses.
There’s no warmth in the air, yet all say that this is
How it should be: All make-up and kisses.

It’s amazing the millions that madmen have spent
Creating a winter of my discontent.
The only time I really get out is to go to the hospital to get the bayonet wound in my gut looked at. Then I get a lot of odd flattery, odd because I’m told what great shape I’m in for my age, which is strange because they just took out a cancerous kidney. What kind of “great shape” is that? But apparently the surgeon appreciated not having to cut through any flab, and the nurse practitioner mentioned most guys my age have long lost their six-packs. She was a little concerned about a bump on my scar, which might be scar tissue but might be a tiny hernia, but she said the only reason she can see it at all is because I don’t have a spare tire around my middle. I muttered that I soon will have a spare tire, if I have to sit around not even allowed to to put wood in the fire, and she said I could put a log in, if it was under ten pounds. I suppose that is some progress.

The real thing I like about visiting the hospital is that it gives me a chance to grouse about paperwork. It is something people there are very willing commiserate about, seeing as how they now spend roughly half their time dealing with paper, at the expense of patients.

Considering how Washington seems to want everyone buried under a blizzard of paperwork, it would seem a sort of justice if they themselves got buried under a blizzard of white. Driving home I noticed the possible storm had made the mainstream media, but all the world seemed gray, not white. It was so cold there was no water, only ice and dust and litter  whipping in the wind. Even the low gas prices made me crabby.

I’m under no illusions that the low prices are occurring due to any kindness felt towards the common man.   They are part of a cruel war, and much suffering is resulting among oil workers. The aim is to bankrupt North American oil companies, so the dangers of competition, and of freedom from dependence on Arab oil, can be removed.  Or so I thought, until I heard the car radio mention that my idiot government is helping the non-Arab nation of Iran, which is not at good terms at all with Saudi Arabia, to flood the market with even more oil. This made absolutely no sense, if we care at all about protecting our own oil producers and developing any sort of energy-independence, however it has been so long since my government has made much sense that I can’t say it surprised me.

What did surprise me was the view my middle son held, when he came stamping into the house later. Without me even bringing the subject up, he said the flood of Iranian oil was a plot to absolutely ruin “Big Oil.”  He said so insanely does the government loathe all and any sorts of “fossil fuel” that they will do anything they can to destroy the competition to solar power and wind turbines, and, because solar power and wind turbines can’t possibly compete unless oil prices quadruple, they are resorting to the temporary step of having very low oil prices, as a way to quadruple those prices.

I thought he sounded radical and a bit paranoid. In other words, more like me than himself. Usually I’m the grouch, and he’s the fount of hope. Perhaps the howling wind and drifting snow and crackling static electricity even gets to the young. Or perhaps Washington has even worn down the  eternal optimism of youth. In which case they deserve a blizzard more than ever.

WEDNESDAY MORNING UPDATE

We are still in the northerly flow, but the winds have died down. The initial impulse is nudging through the south, but there is still no sign of the following impulse, which will grow the imaginary monster storm. Perhaps it can be seen in the low pressure sinking south through the Rockies, and the bulge in the sub-tropical jet coming ashore on the Pacific coast of Mexico, but largely it is still all in the realm of imagination.20160120 satsfc

The models are still seeing the big storm, but are nudging it south and out to sea, which is fine with me, for now the Beltway gets blasted, as I only get dusted, at the northern edge of the storm.

I start my day (before hitting the paperwork) with a visit to Weatherbell and a quick glance at Dr. Ryan Maue’s maps of the models, .

First look at the American GFS model maps for Saturday and Sunday.Belter 1 gfs_ptype_slp_noram_13 Belter 2 gfs_ptype_slp_noram_17Next is the European map of the storm slipping out to sea after clouting the mid-Atlantic, on Sunday.Belter 3 ecmwf_slp_precip_conus2_17Lastly, below are two maps showing the Canadian JEM models solutions, for Saturday and Sunday. Again the beltway gets blasted, as I broom the dust from my steps.

Belter 4 cmc_pr6_slp_t850_conus_13 Belter 5 cmc_pr6_slp_t850_conus_17

There is room for lots and lots of hype, the next few days. Interestingly, Joe Bastardi focused, in his video today, not on this imaginary storm, but on an even worse imaginary storm possible a week from tomorrow.

I wish Washington was imaginary, but that grousing will have to wait until future updates.

THURSDAY MORNING UPDATE   -Hoopla! Hoopla! Hoopla!-

The funniest headline about the blizzard I’ve seen so far was from the New York Post, and stated, “This weekend will be WHITER THAN THE OSCARS”.  (Actually there is a chance most of the snow will stay south of NYC.)

In the Beltway, where the worst is suppose to hit, they were so focused on the snow expected to start on Friday that they got blindsided by only an inch of snow that snuck in on Wednesday evening. There were two to three hours before the salt trucks moved out, and the pavements were so cold that the small amount of snow turned the roads to grease, and traffic moved at a crawl with many fender-benders and spin-outs. (Perhaps they were reluctant to use up their salt before the “Big One”.)

http://www.nbcwashington.com/news/local/Crippling-Historic-Snowstorm-Expected-Blizzard-Watch-Issued-18-24-Inches-Possible-365957091.html

Meanwhile, the Big One still doesn’t exist. It is a figment of our imagination. All that the map shows is a weak low over Texas and a bulge on the tropical jet moving up through the Gulf of Mexico.20160121 satsfcThe GFS Model imagines the low over Texas will move to Memphis, Tennessee,  as a secondary bombs out just off the coast of Georgia and takes over, becoming the primary storm on Saturday, off Cape Hatteras. (Last winter these storms formed roughly 500 miles further north, pounding New England and sparing Washington, before kicking out to sea.) Below is the GFS models “solution” to how the storm will redevelop. (I chose five of the 41 maps Dr. Ryan Maue offers at the Weatherbell side, for this one run of the GFS model alone, involving the “surface pressure and precipitation type” features alone.) (The maps go out to 240 hours; I could spend all day looking at maps; but limited myself to the maps from 24, 36, 42, 48 and 54 hours from now.)

Bash 1 gfs_ptype_slp_conus_5Bash 2 gfs_ptype_slp_conus_7Bash 3 gfs_ptype_slp_conus_8Bash 4 gfs_ptype_slp_conus_9Bash 5 gfs_ptype_slp_conus_10The European and Canadian models also see the storm bombing out on the coast Saturday morning.Bash 6 ecmwf_slp_precip_conus2_11Bash 7 cmc_pr6_slp_t850_conus_11Currently all the models see Washington buried under nearly 2 feet of snow.Bash 8 gfs_6hr_snow_acc_east2_16(1)

The thing to remember is that, at this point, all the above maps are showing is imaginary snow, imaginary drifts, and imaginary gales. Washington is very good when it comes to dealing with things that are purely imaginary (like Global Warming). It is likely to be incapable, when dealing with something that actually happens, (as we saw last night, as they dealt with a single inch of snow.)

FRIDAY NOONTIME UPDATE

It is still sunny and calm up here in New Hampshire, as the storm brews up over Washington, D.C..20160122 satsfc 20160122B satsfc20160122B rad_ec_640x480

The NAM computer model is making people up this far north a little nervous, as it shows the snow coming further north than other models.Nam Snow 21050122 hires_snow_ne_61

Nearly all models show Washington getting absolutely clobbered.

FRIDAY EVENING UPDATE

It was odd to watch the press conference down in Washington DC from their “Homeland Security” center, and see they were basically asking the public to go indoors and stay indoors for the next two days, so the roads would be clear for the various people allowed to be outside, (clearing the roads, or attempting to drive ambulances, fire trucks and utility crews to emergencies). It made me wonder a bit if people would obey. After all, it might be one of the biggest storms in a hundred years. Are you not allowed to go outside and experience it?

Up here in New Hampshire there are lots of people who like to go out for a drive during a bad storm. It used to drive me nuts, because I’d try to impress my teenagers with how bad a storm was, but they’d sneak out. I myself preferred walking in the roaring wind, and found it somewhat annoying to cross the road to be on the safe side, as cars came zooming by, lighting up the night with brilliant headlights. However I supposed it was warmer in a car, and modern types are not as tough as us old timers.

What was really annoying to me, in past storms,  was the people who would go too fast, trusting in their all-wheel or four-wheel drive, and then go plowing off the road, winding up out in a pasture. You’d see them there, engines still running, heaters still humming, headlights still brilliant and wipers still slapping, talking on their cell-phones, getting someone to come and rescue them. That’s not a real outdoors man, in my book. However I think New Hampshire people most would still laugh, if asked to stay home in a blizzard.

However perhaps it is different in cities, or perhaps Americans are becoming more like sheep. I thought it was amazing that the public so meekly complied, after the “Marathon Bombing”, when the government commanded that everyone stay in their homes. That wasn’t the rebllious spirit of New England I thought I knew.

In any case, radar shows the heavy stuff has started, down around Washington. 20160122C rad_ec_640x480Even though the storm hasn’t yet redeveloped on the coast. (Those of you used to European maps should note the “storm” currently has a minimum pressure of 1002 mb, which likely would be a sunny day in Norway.  That lack of deep low pressure is largely a matter of latitude. Pressures simply don’t get as low, so far south.)20160122C satsfcMeanwhile up here in New Hampshire we’ve only seen our blue skies gradually fade to gray, as the sun sunk down into a blear.Grtaying sky IMG_1644

SATURDAY EVENING UPDATE  –Our turn to be smug?–

It was a gray day up here in New Hampshire, without a single snowflake to be seen, sixty miles northwest of Boston, (though apparently Boston is now being dusted just a bit). The wind didn’t even pick up much, though one or two lone gusts came through, hinting at the hubbub to the south.

I myself steered clear of most of the news, avoiding the hubbub, and simply watched the weather maps show the progress of the storm, and the radar maps show the northern edge of the snow flirt with New Hampshire, and even snow aloft above me, but with the falling flakes sublimating to nothing as they fell, and never reaching the ground.

20160123 satsfc20160123C satsfc20160123D satsfc20160123 rad_ec_640x48020160123B rad_ec_640x48020160123C rad_ec_640x48020160123D rad_ec_640x480

I wondered at myself, and the way I was so disinterested in the hoop-la from further down south. My indifference didn’t seem very Christian or caring of me, and I wondered if maybe I wasn’t harboring some sort of residual resentment over the fact folk down south couldn’t see what all the fuss and bother was about up north, last year, when we got clobbered and they didn’t. In fact the the first big storm last winter was described as a “bust” even in New York City, as they had all the hubbub of blizzard warnings, and then barely an inch of snow. What they failed to recognize is that even thirty miles away, out on Long Island, people got buried.Last Year 20150125_20150128_2_62Where I live, in the above map, you’ll note there is a so-called “lollypop” of snow, indicating we got more than thirty inches of snow. In fact we got three feet, on the east-facing side of the hill where I live. But there were no breathless reporters producing live reports of how we fared. Could it be I was a bit hurt by the lack of attention? And now I’m thinking turn-about is fair play?

Forty years ago I had a wonderful and faithful dog I had to leave behind at my mother’s, without my personal attention, for two months, as I went on an adventure. When I returned I could see the dog from afar as I drove towards my mother’s house.  As I crested a distant rise the dog recognized (somehow) the sound of my little car, and I could see it jump up and turn on the lawn, and then start to wildly wave its tail. However when I got out of my car the dog suddenly remembered it was really, really pissed off at me, and abruptly stopped waving its tail, and began walking away with a grouchy expression, looking over its a shoulder in a way that said, beyond doubt, “Screw you.” (I ran across the lawn and begged forgiveness, and the cur did forgive me.)

It is funny how these two storms are nearly exactly a year apart, and the people who got the deep snow are so neatly divided. (The lone exception seems to be Long Island, which seemingly has the dubious privilege of getting clouted by both blizzards). It seems a sort of proof that Karma is equal, or at least it is proof that things average out, in the end.

I got to thinking, as I lived through the gray day, of how we should not let simple things like storms divide us.  If we allow snowflakes to divide us, how can we remain united when faced with more substantial things? We should be unswayed by trivial things like snowflakes. However, when I thought about it further, it seemed that was exactly what my fellow writers in the media are asked to do: To be trivial, to focus on short-term differences, in the name of sensationalism. Hmm. Could there be a sonnet in what I was glimpsing?

It was a dreary day under dreary skies,
And I stayed indoors and with bleary eyes
Watched some humdrum news where some dear-me guys
Tried to enthuse all, hiding weary eyes.

Somewhere far away snow is drifting deep.
Somewhere sons are late. Somewhere mothers weep.
Somewhere cars collide. Some are losing sleep
As the newsmen prance, promises to keep.

I thought I glimpsed, in their hyped-up eyes,
How darn tired they were of their tripe and lies
And the way they never get to write of skies
And instead must wear a King’s Fool’s disguise.

Well, that is what you get, when you’re not like me,
And put your paper’s paycheck before poetry.

In any case, I decided I should drop my silly grudge about how, last year, some folk down south said we folk up north were “fussing too much”. After all, if my dog could forgive me all those years ago, I could at least be a little interested in the doings of folk down south.

Almost immediately a picture was sent to my computer from the son of a friend of mine who has moved to Virginia. Because he was so far south the young father had neglected to buy, for his toddler son, a toy that is deemed essential in New England: A small sled. Yet now he was confronted with two feet of snow in Virginia. What could he do?

He got a large box that once had held a bulk-price amount of disposable diapers, did some swift cutting with a paring knife, punched two holes, inserted a rope, and created a sled to pull his little boy through the snow in. His wife took a picture, and I got to see how resourceful people are, when faced with the “storm of the century”…… (and also how they  do not fail to see such storms can be an excuse for joy, sheer joy.)

SUNDAY UPDATE  —All Over—

No snow at all is showing on radar this morning, as the gale slips out to sea. We didn’t even get a dusting here, as NYC got over two feet. There was sledding on Capital Hill. (some say it is the first time it has been allowed in 100 years.) (I notice the capital dome is being worked on. They need to work on the domes of the fellows inside, as well.) Baltimore also got over two feet.Sledding Capital 650x366_01232127_screen-shot-2016-01-23-at-4.26.32-pmI’m glad I’m not facing the clean-up they are facing in New Jersey.New Jersy Drifts 650x366_01240108_carssnowHere’s a final map, and then we can call this storm (and post) over. (However I should mention that the computer models did an amazing job of seeing the storm from five days away, and Joe Bastardi and Joseph D’Aleo did an even better job of seeing it from seven days away (and warning of such storms happening January (and February) back when computer models were saying we’d have a Mild El Nino January like 1998’s, back in December.)20160124 satsfc