If you are one-who-wants-the-sea-ice-to melt, is somewhat relieving that O-buoy 14 stopped showing a sea of slush where maps said there was open water, and has busted free into an area of open water.
According to theory, these open waters, being darker than the ice, are absorbing a lot more sunshine. Hmm. Anyone see a problem with this idea? Hint: It is cloudy.
The problem is the rascal Ralph, once again roaring away to the north with its pressure again down to 969 mb. The winds are even beginning to pick up a little down here, at O-buoy 14. Maybe they aren’t gale force, like up north, but they are a steady breeze over 10 mph. And are they warm winds?
Hmm. Steadily at freezing or below. Gosh Toto, we’re not in July anymore. But at least it isn’t snowing…
Rats. I’m going to have to think about this. I’ll update after church.
WELL-WELL-WELL? What have we here?
There’s just enough sunlight to clear the lens, with winds around 15 mph, and temperatures a hair below freezing.
I need to zip over to the Weatherbell site and peruse Dr. Ryan Maue’s maps. (Free week trial available.) Be right back.
I clicked over to the Canadian JEM model because I just like it in the short term. (Back when we had more buoys, and I could double-check, the GFS initial maps seemed a bit too warm). The Canadian model is very interesting to watch, map after map, in six hour installments out to 240 hours from now, because it can make the most wonderful storms. True, they usually don’t happen, but cheap thrills are hard to find these days. And the Jem has been right about Ralph’s reincarnations.
In any case, here is the “initial” map, now a bit outdated, from 00z last night. Ralph is roaring and at his strongest. The winds actually look stronger than the last gale.
The next map shows Ralph 6 hours later. This one of Ryan’s cool maps shows how much water fell in the last six hours. Remember, the arctic is basically a desert. Therefore 0.2-0.3 inches is a lot, (and is likely falling as 2-3 inches of snow.)
This map is actually messing with my head more than you’d imagine. You see, I am trying out a new manner of seeing things, and, as is usually the case when I try to box Infinity and organize chaos, it does not take kindly to being packaged, and the only boxing going on is of my ears.
I’m trying to see everything in terms of blobs of cold air departing the Pole at low levels. When this air departs it leaves low pressure behind. Fronts, frontal low pressures, and jet streams all form in relation to the blob of cold air heading south. It is an elegant idea, and works in a way. For example a big blob of cold air just dove down in Siberia, and in its wake we have Ralph swirling at the Pole. But the problem with the idea of Ralph being a sort of vacuum left by a departing high is that air should not merely swirl in horizontally, but vertically. This would make uplift and clouds and precipitation unlikely, but the above map shows it is happening. Oh well. Back to the old drawing board.
The source region of the moister and milder air was western Siberia, which was actually fairly mild a couple days ago. It likely had a Pacific element. Now it is pulled right around to the Alaskan side. The Jem model’s temperature map, concurrent with the above map, is below:
I suppose one could suggest that rain might be mixed in with the snow in Ralph. (The freezing line is where the lightest pink turns to lightest blue, with pink freezing and blue above-freezing). It is a pity we don’t have more cameras. (I keep hoping they will regain contact with O-buoys 8b, 13 and 15, as they melt free from the piles of ice that knocked them off the air, but no luck so far.)
What is quite interesting is the blast of cold air down in Siberia. The days are still longer than the nights, but the nights are quickly getting longer. The above map is from when the sun is high. Check out the 18z map below, when the night is having its effect in Siberia,(actually right about now, but this maps from a forecast run 00z last night).
That little spot of white in the middle of the blue in central Siberia represents below zero temperatures. (Fahrenheit. Below -17°C). That makes me shake my head a bit. After all, it is still August.
School starts around here tomorrow, and I have to get cracking to prepare our Farm-childcare for all the changes. I’ll update if and when possible, but I imagine Ralph has really stirred the sea-ice, and there will be another dip in the “extents”. But I’m also wondering how much colder the water is.
AT LAST SOME SUNSHINE
Wind 15 mph and Temperature 32°F. (0°C) Looking south. Notice pieces of ice haven’t changed their position since the last picture, despite winds. Likely they are cemented together by a refreeze, and not a slop of slush.
As an aside, if the above picture shows waters with less than 15% ice, it appears as “ice free” on some maps.
OH BLAST. SUN NEVER LASTS.
Wind 15 mph temperature a hair below freezing. Hopefully just a passing squall.
NOW WHERE IS THE SUNSHINE? OH, IT HAS SET.
Don’t worry. Nights are still shorter than days, and the sun soon will be back. Wind has slackened to 10 mph and temperature is -1°C.
The subtle colors in the sky sure are beautiful.
ARCTIC SEA SUNRISE
It’s hard to be sure, without the orb of the sun to refer to, but I think the buoy might have swung right around and be looking north. Wind 11 mph temperature -1°C.
SUN UP-WIND UP-CLOUDED UP-TEMPERATURE DOWN.
Even as the sun has risen it has chilled slightly to -2°C, with the breeze at 16 mph.
THE HEAT OF THE DAY AND A BIG BUMPER
Temperatures slowly rose back up to a hair below freezing, with winds at 10-15 mph, during the afternoon and evening.
Of concern to me is a berg hidden at the left of the camera, by our left shoulder, that is taller than the camera. I was hoping it would drift away and get lost, but you can see it is still there, just peeking in from the left in the third picture below.
Obscured lens. Now is when we really hope most for sunshine. Temperatures are down to -3°C with winds around 12 mph. I suppose it could even be freezing spray, as temperatures are dipping below the freezing point of salt water, but I’m hoping it is what the fishermen in Maine call “sea smoke”, a particularly thick fog caused by the sea steaming like a soup in the cold.
TUESDAY EVENING: NOW THERE’S SNOW ON THE LENS, BUT SUN TO MELT IT OFF
Temperature -3°C, wind 5 mph.
WEDNESDAY —FOG, THEN SUDDEN SUN—
Temperatures slowly rose to freezing, as the winds died to 2 mph. (Notice sun shining off distant, calm sea, rather than being absorbed. Second picture is early afternoon, local time, and camera is looking south. My guess is that the ice to the right is sticking up 4 feet. If 9/10 of a berg is under water, it could stick down 36 feet, though likely the mass is more spread out.
In June such a sun would lead to thawing, as the sun rolled around and around the horizon, but it is now September and this happens instead:
Winds have picked up to a breeze of 18 mph, as temperatures slipped back down to -1°C. Is the water warming yet?
Winds 20 mph temp up to 0°C —Rocking and rolling
winds peaked at 22 mph; temp back down to -1° —Ice free foreground
September 2 —winds slacken to steady 10-12 mph–temp to -2°c then steady -1°C
Can’t tell of that is ice or fog in distance.
September 3 Open waters–south to 75°N–Sea-ice in distance; temps to -3°C as winds slacken
September 4 –BIG BERG BASHES CAMERA– –Final picture–
Winds were briefly calm, then rose back to 10-12 mph. Temperatures dip to -4°C.
September 5 –still getting wind and temperature reports.
No Pictures, but buoy reports temperatures up to -1°C and then back down to -4°C, with winds a steady breeze of 10 mph. That could start to freeze the water, which makes missing the camera all the more of a painful pang.
Considering my posts about sea ice were based around using my lying eyes to double-check what the satellites and models were reporting, having no camera makes me feel a bit pointless.
The question remains: Did it look like these waters were warming, when the maps reported them as ice-free? (How embarrassing for O-buoy 14: To be knocked out by no ice.)
September 6 —Camera is back!–
O-buoy 13 couldn’t bear the embarrassment, and staggered back up. Looking a little bleary, and also as if there is a fair amount of ice about. That is odd, for winds, picking up to 15 mph, have blown us south to 74.6° N, where the water should be more free of ice. The coldest temperatures of the fall so far have blown by, down to -4°C, have blown by, and now temperatures are back up to -1°C.
TUESDAY EVENING –STILL PLUGGING ALONG–
We are roughly at 74.5°N, 135°W, and my tired eyes seem to see the NRL map as showing that as being on land. Bed time for this bozo. (We lost our weather station for a while today, but it is back and shows -1°C and winds getting up there, 15-18 mph.)
Curiosity made me look more carefully. It looks like we are being blown into the mouth of Parry Channel. If we get clear weather we might see land!
GETTING BATTERED –WIND 22 MPH TEMPERATURE -1°C
SEPTEMBER 8 –SHARPLY COLDER–
Winds dropped to 10 mph, as temperatures fell to -6°C. It makes me nervous when the thermometer and anemometer keep going silent. The buoy is getting battered, I fear.
SEPTEMBER 9 –Into Parry Channel–