ARCTIC SEA-ICE –Super Surge Alert! (Look Out Below!) (This means you, Europe)

An extraordinary plume of above-normal (but still sub-freezing) air is pouring up to the Pole from the Atlantic. The spike in the mean-temperatures-above-eighty-degrees-latitude graph, if not “unprecedented”, is highly unusual.

DMI5 0223 meanT_2018

This is caused by high pressure towards Eurasia and low pressure towards Canada and Greenland creating a roaring south-to-north flow from the North Atlantic over the Pole.

 

However, as I have pointed out to the point of sounding like a broken record, (IE “repetitive”, (for those of you too young to have experienced a record skipping on a record-player, and who think a “broken record” involves record temperatures), ) we do not get these milder-than-normal temperatures at the Pole without the displaced cold air freezing the socks off people in more southern latitudes.

The big high-pressure over the Eurasian side of Arctic Sea has a southern side, which creates the east winds of Mordor, bringing Siberian bitterness west into Europe. Here is a map from an Italian Site, worried about what is looming.

Super Surge 1 Gelo-21Feb18

I’ve been watching the UK Met maps, and must comment that they do a bad job of showing the east winds from Mordor. They never show a cold front progressing from Siberia to England. The isobars hint at the deepening chill, and at daffodils ducking back down into the dirt, but the fronts they draw on their maps give no clue. Here is their map for this coming Sunday.

Super Surge 2 65134687

The BBC is reporting the Met Office is issuing “amber alerts”. (Hat tip to https://www.iceagenow.info/ ).

http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-43167583

Parts of Germany may see a fortnight pass before temperatures get back above freezing. Expect headlines.

North America will also likely see the displaced arctic air swooping south, though it may take longer to develop. It is already cold in the west, but, if the pattern develops as the veteran forecasters D’Aleo and Bastardi are forecasting at the Weatherbell site, the east of the USA may make headlines in early March, as a classic negative NOA builds high pressure over Canada and Greenland and low pressure off the east coast.

Super Surge 3 gfs_z500a_5d_noram_65(3)

The thing which I think may be a fly in the ointment is that nothing is truly “classic” in the current situation. Why not? Because the sun has gone “quiet”. All our hard-gleaned wisdom, that goes into what we define as “classic”, is based around much that is dependent on the sun being “noisy”. But the sun’s face has gone blank. (After a couple spots rotated across its face, and gave the earth a small blast in passing, the sun’s face is again spotless.)

Sunspots 20180223 latest

In fact the current sunspot cycle (#24) resembles the sunspot cycle at the start of the Dalton Minimum in 1798 (#5).

Sunspots Layman's January sc5_sc24_1

Much that we describe as a “classic” weather pattern is therefore subject to a degree of doubt. Patterns may not behave as they behaved in the recent past, but rather as they behaved in 1798.  And we have poor records from that long ago.

This does not render old-school forecasters obsolete.  Some rules do not change. The freezing point of water remains the same, and so on and so forth. However I think we should expect the unexpected. Forecasters should stay on their toes, and as soon as they become aware a pattern is not behaving in a “classic” manner, they should use all their wisdom to gather an idea (called “a forecast”) of what the pattern actually is up to.

The thing to watch for in the current situation is the building of the “classic” blocking-high-pressure of a negative NAO over Canada and Greenland. If it fails to form, expect the unexpected.

There is another thing fun to watch for, in the current situation. There are certain Alarmists who will note the milder-than-normal temperatures over the Pole, and will make a great big media event over announcing the planet is facing Global Warming, and they will stage this event in some locale roughly a half hour before the winds from Mordor arrive from the east, and a howling blizzard ensues.  People leaving the press conference will get stuck in the snow.

If this classic scenario fails to form, I will be deeply disappointed, for I confess I find such spectacles deliciously entertaining.

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ARCTIC SEA-ICE –Going Bananas–

This will be a brief post, discussing the fact a surge of relatively mild air up to the Pole often occurs in concert with arctic outbreaks at lower latitudes.

Unfortunately the media tends to focus on the warming events and ignore the colder events. Therefore I advise people to visit the “Ice Age Now” site, which has a wonderful group of contributors who submit reports of below-average temperatures from all over the world.

https://www.iceagenow.info/

I advise people to keep an eye on that site for the next month, as Joseph D’Aleo, at the Weatherbell site, sees signs of a situation developing that very well could bring arctic outbreaks to both eastern North America and much of northern Eurasia. (The Weatherbell site offers a week “free trial”, and it might be worth the reader’s time to take advantage now, in order to read Mr. D’Aleo’s reasoning.)

https://www.weatherbell.com/premium/joe-daleo/vanishing-act-to-make-march-lion-roar

One ingredient to his forecast involves the NAO (North Atlantic Oscillation) which is especially handy to have, as an indicator (IE: “teleconnection”) which is especially reliable in the late winter.  It is forecast to plunge off the chart:

Bananas 2 gefs_nao_00(22)

To me, this seems a sort of a response to the surges of relatively mild (but sub-freezing) air we’ve watched rush up to the Pole:

DMI5 0219 meanT_2018

However the surges up to the Pole may be in response to the surges of cold we saw pour south, in North America in late December and early January, and in eastern Asia in mid January. (I posted pictures of an attractive Russian woman’s frosted eyelashes back then, if you recall.) The wobbles of a loopy jet stream seems a sort of chicken-or-the-egg situation; and it is hard to be sure which event is causing the other to occur.

Way back in early January, as a Blizzard hit Boston, I pointed out that the cold front associated with that arctic outbreak didn’t merely reach the Gulf coast and Florida, but crossed the entire Gulf of Mexico. It didn’t bring frosts that far south, but did bring cold rains and cool temperatures that stunted the growth of tropical crops, such as bananas.

One thing I admire about Joseph D’Aleo is that his quick mind is keenly observant of things in everyday life that pertain to Global Weather Patterns, and I have to tip my hat in a bowing sweep for his observation of the notice on the bananas at his local market:

Bananas 1 Screen_Shot_2018_02_19_at_4_16_40_AM

I also noticed that the Ice Age Now site noted a similar stunting of a warmth-loving crop, (rice), due to cooler-than-normal temperatures in Brazil’s southern-hemisphere summer.

https://www.iceagenow.info/exceptional-cold-brazil-large-rice-plantation-losses-feared/

This all goes to show you that a loopy (meridional) pattern tends to mess things up. However such a loopy pattern actually seems more of a sign of a cooling pattern than a warming pattern. It seems more in line with a “Little Ice Age” than a “Medieval Warm Period”. It seems to affirm some hunches I have about the complicated effects of the “Quiet Sun.”  A warming earth would seemingly cause the polar boundary to retreat north, as it does in the summer time, and allow fewer incursions of cold air far to the south.

To me there seems to be no shortage of bananas, when it comes to attempts on the part of Alarmists to portray the south-diving jet stream as a sign of Global Warming. When it recently became apparent that the south-diving jet has cooled the southeast USA, in the fifty years since the sun was “noisy”, Alarmists did not describe the southeast as a “colder area”, but rather as a “warming hole.”

https://www.accuweather.com/en/weather-blogs/climatechange/so-called-warming-hole-leading-to-cooler-winters-in-the-southeastern-united-states/70004150

Unfortunately this has led to all sorts of rude jokes involving who the “holes” are, and where they are located. Though I will confess to chuckling in an undignified manner at some of the rude jokes, I don’t think it helps the debate much if we all go bananas.

Instead we should try to lift ourselves above the muck of the downright silly politics, and instead attempt to grasp what in the world is actually going on. Sift through all of the data, not merely half of it. For example, glaciers in New Zealand are growing, not shrinking as the media likes to suggest, and what is more they are not growing because warming causes increased precipitation, but rather because of colder temperatures.

https://www.iceagenow.info/trying-explain-new-zealands-unusual-growing-glaciers/

Stay tuned and keep studying.

ARCTIC SEA-ICE –Arctic Africa–

One thing I have learned from Alarmists is the effectiveness of distraction. When you have completely blown a forecast, it is helpful to point at something happening far, far away.

Therefore you will not notice that I am six days away from the date I assigned for the jet stream to stop being loopy. You will forget I stated the polar flow would become zonal on February 13, due to the lagged effect of the La Nina. You will forget….  You will forget… You are getting sleepy… Very sleepy…

What the heck? It’s not working on you! Oh, I forgot. That only works on Alarmists.

In any case, a second mild surge as good as last winter’s second surge has made it to the Pole.

DMI5 0207 meanT_2018

I haven’t time to go into all the details. In a nutshell it is a surge “madoki” (Japanese for “the-same-but-different”), because (so far) it took a less direct route than last year. Rather than, like last year, roaring straight north from the Atlantic, the surge dented east over Norway and only turned north over the Kara Sea. Consequently the temperatures, on a whole, have been colder than last year’s. But that is basically straining at gnats and quibbling over piffling details. The fact of the matter is that precisely where I thought high pressure should build and form the core of a nice zonal flow (which may be wish-casting, for it would give me, down in New Hampshire, a milder winter), what to my wondering eyes should appear, but “Ralph”! (An anomalous area of low pressure at the Pole.)

 

 

To have “Ralph” reappear, when I have been putting the finishing touches to his obituary, is a sign I’m having a bad week. (It was bad enough that the hero quarterback got strip-sacked at the crucial moment, and the home team lost the Superbowl.) (Furthermore, New Hampshire is not getting the sort of mild weather I wanted.)

The problem with mild air heading up to the Pole is that it displaces the cold, which comes south one way or another and gives arctic conditions to people not prepared for such nonsense. Because this post is suppose to be about sea-ice, I’ll mention the fish-farmers on the coast of China.

But I also need to mention the Sahara, because there is something that just tickles my sense of humor about bringing Africa into a sea-ice post.

But mentioning Africa is a bit odd, as I have noticed that the phrase “one every fifty years” doesn’t sound quite right, when you use it twice in three years. I noted that oddity, when writing about the January snows along the Algeria-Morocco border three weeks ago. But now we are talking about snows along that border twice the same winter.

There are some high north-African mountains, the “Atlas”, that get snow every winter, and send precious melt-waters down to the Sahara from the north, but ordinarily these snows stay up by the clouds. It makes news when these snows spread down to lower altitudes. (The translation of the first video is, “After more than fifty years…The snows in Zagora”).

The translation for the second, longer video is, “Today: After more than 50 years…The snow in Zagora and the south-east of the Kingdom.”

At this point I need to bring up the magic word “Albedo”, which Alarmists feel is very important in discussions of sea-ice. Basically it involves sunshine that could warm our planet being bounced away by the whiteness of snow. Alarmists have suggested that less sea-ice at the Pole could allow “run away warming”. But what about snow on the northern fringes of the Sahara? The sun shines brightly there in February, while it will not shine at the Pole until the Equinox. Is there any chance all the heat lost in the Sahara could cause some sort of “run away cooling”?

Crickets.

(In any case, such a focus on the Sahara is an excellent deflection away from my forecast for a zonal arctic-flow by February 13.)

One of the most annoying aspects of a loopy (or “meridional”) flow occurs when you happen to find yourself at the place where the warm air looping north battles with the cold air looping south. In some ways it is better to endure the cold, for cold tends to be dry. When you sit on the border you can get excessive amounts of snow. For example, the core of the cold sank down in Eurasia at the end of January, and Moscow, well to the west of the worst cold, has been afflicted by Atlantic air streaming east past Norway even as arctic air streams west further south. They have had amazing amounts of snow. During the first week of February they broke their snowfall records for the entire month of February.

This clashing between colder and milder air has been annoying on my side of the planet as well, for even with the core of the cold elsewhere we can get unfair amounts of glop. I’d prefer pure, Siberian cold, for powder snow is easy to shift, and when the cold gets really cruel the old timers say, “It’s too cold to snow.”

In New Hampshire, this winter has been pleasing to Alarmists, I suppose, for the arctic retreated after the first week in January, and since then temperatures have been around seven degrees above normal. This doesn’t really thaw us, for our average temperature is 20°F (-7°C), and “mild” only lifts us to 27°F (-3°C). However an average of 27°F does allow for daily highs to creep above freezing, and does allow snow to turn to sleet, freezing rain, and brief episodes of all-out rain, which creates slush as heavy as mud.  You must shift this heavy glop from walkways and drives, or it swiftly freezes harder than iron. (I’ll take shoveling powder snow any day.)

Nor does all the glop make lake-ice thinner. Wet, heavy snow on ice pushes the ice down, and water oozes up through cracks and turns the snow to slush. It takes little (just a cold, starry night), to turn that slush to solid ice, as, being ice-water, it is right at the freezing point. Then, besides the original two feet of ice that the bitter cold of early January created, you have an additional two feet of ice created by “milder” temperatures, and frozen slush.

The ice is now so thick on lakes that crazy young men are having races with vehicles and motor cycles that have scary wheels with steel teeth. The churning, spinning wheels chip away a foot of the ice on the corners of the tracks, but nobody seems very nervous about chewing through to water.

I know that lake-ice is not the same as sea-ice, but I thought it interesting that “milder” weather brought snow that turned to slush that turned to ice, and therefore “milder” made the ice a foot or two thicker than it might be if it stayed cold and dry.

Of course, some people never get out of their offices, and don’t understand such counter-intuitive things. There is much to learn from simply hiking about lakes, especially reservoirs that rise with rains and thaws and sink when the dry cold returns. I have young Climate-scientists studying local lake-ice, and am eagerly awaiting my government grants and money from Big Oil.

Lake ice 1 FullSizeRender

Lake ice 2 FullSizeRender

Lake ice 3 FullSizeRender

Of course, insurance companies, in their warm offices, do not approve of such research. They fear “risk”. They want everyone to stay indoors. However they must allow a few out, called “adjusters”. A parent of a child I cared for was such an “adjuster”, and told me a tale that I think typifies the difference between the “indoors” and the “outdoors” mentality.

Today was a typical “glop” day, starting with a quick dump of six inches of snow, which makes things look like a Norman Rockwell painting.

Lake ice 4 FullSizeRender

However then the rot set in. The snow sped up, falling faster, and abruptly turned to rain, though temperatures were still well below freezing. Because Moms driving home from work do not have scary wheels with steel teeth, insurance adjusters get called out a lot when the driving stinks.

Now this should give you an inkling of the office mindset, in this corner of the insurance world: If you had to send a fellow out into abysmal driving conditions, what would you reduce your profit by paying for? Snow tires? Or a tattle-tale gadget that keeps track of your adjuster’s GPS and road-speed. If you answered “snow tires”, you are sane, and don’t work in this particular front office.

On a day like today an adjuster received an irate phone-call from his boss. “What in blue blazes are you up to?” the boss inquired.

“What are you going on about?” replied the adjuster.

“You’ve been going 110 mph! Are you crazy!”

The adjuster stayed calm. “Did you check the GPS?”

“Um…no…”

“Check it.”

After a pause the boss muttered, “Oh.  Um…you’re in your driveway?”

“Yes, and do you think I can get the company van going 110 mph (177 kph) in my driveway?”

“Hmm.  Probably not. So…..were your tires spinning?”

“Of course they were spinning! And will you puh-leeze requisition snow tires for the company vans?”

“Oh, no! The stock-holders demand a profit! And we expect our adjusters to know how to drive in the snow.”

Case closed.

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.

20180130 satsfc

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.

Woodpile FullSizeRender

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 –Polar Wobbles–

Sometimes it seems important to sit back and stop the business of trying to figure everything out. Just watch.  But then, of course, watching leads to wonder. And, as soon as you start wondering, you start trying to figure things out. But one needs to hold fast to a sort of humbleness, and to be aware you are witnessing the work of the Creator. Do you honestly think you can figure Him out?

The answer is “No”, (in case you are young and think you have enough time to connect all the loose ends.)

A beautiful bit of ancient poetry is the Book of Job, and one of the twists of the plot is when Job gets switched around from demanding answers from God to having God demand answers from him. In terms of this post, it would be as if the Creator abruptly spoke, in a deep, booming voice,  and his first question was, “Where were you when I created the North Pole?”

Not that we shouldn’t wonder. However there is an attribute of wonder that is simple admiration. I don’t think we get in trouble for admiring the work of the Creator. And, just as knowing how difficult it is to play the piano increases your admiration of pianists who can handle what you can’t, knowing even a little about how the atmosphere works increases your admiration of the Creator’s workings you witness.

One thing that dazzles me is the appearance and disappearance of arctic high pressure. In the most simplest sense, cold air is heavier than warm air, so it sinks, and presses down on the surface. That creates high pressure. If it should become less cold it becomes less heavy, and the high pressure associated with that cold air grows less and less the more that air becomes warmer and warmer. But that is too simple, because the high pressure refuses to stay in the same place. First, the Coriolis Effect causes the high pressure to spin clockwise (in the Northern Hemisphere) and second, because the cold air is heavier than the warmer air to the south, it tends to press south beneath the warmer and lighter air.

In essence this amounts to a suicidal impulse on the part of high pressure systems.  They move towards the very warming that will cause their air to stop pressing down and even begin to rise. Also, because they have a clockwise spin, they tend to draw milder air in from milder source regions. Usually the west side draws mild air up from the south as the high sinks south, but in certain situations the milder air can be drawn in from other directions. In many cases the high will completely destroy itself with amazing speed.

One thing I enjoy watching is a high pressure come down from Canada over the USA and then swing towards the east coast. The system is warming and weakening all the while. At first the west side vanishes, as the south winds feed moist warm air north and breed rising air and a trough of low pressure. The east side, getting milder and more moist as it moves across southern lands, then reaches a tipping point, where it can become two quite opposite things.

If the high pressure slides off the coast intact, then suddenly it is over cooler water, and is mild and moist air that is now cooling and sinking, in which case it’s pressure stops decreasing and starts increasing, and it contributes to an extension of the Azores High called the “Bermuda High”. In this case the building of high pressure to the southwest can give New Hampshire dry, mild weather. However if that same high pressure is just a bit slower, it gets so warm and moist that I call it a “sog”. In a twinkling it can turn from a ridge of high pressure into a trough of low pressure. Sinking becomes rising (like a yo-yo). Then, rather than fueling and intensifying the “Bermuda High”, the system becomes an alley for a ferocious storm. I confess that as I watch such high pressure systems start down from Canada (most especially in late October and early November) I have no idea which side of the “tipping point” they will take. You couldn’t ask for more opposite forecasts, however. It is the difference between a balmy spell of “Indian Summer” or a howling “Nor’easter”.  And at times it seems to involve nearly identical high pressure systems. The only difference is that one is off the coast twelve hours earlier, and the other lags twelve hours behind.

I confess that more learnéd meteorologists are better able to tell whether the Bermuda High will strengthen, or a Nor’easter will roar up the coast, through their study of the upper atmosphere. However I am a down to earth fellow, and such wisdom is above my head. Also I have noticed, (most recently just last week), that computer models are pretty bad about seeing the bottom 500 feet of the atmosphere. They correctly predicted temperatures would rise well above freezing, but it only happened 500 feet above our heads. We don’t live up there, and down where we lived the temperatures were well below freezing, and cars were skidding and crashing all over the place, and the learnéd meteorologists looked foolish, while I got to be smug, for I’m just a down to earth fellow who has lived long enough to know cold comes creeping south under even the most impressive southerly flows.

Not that I can forecast as well as learnéd meteorologists. If you compared our forecasts learnèd meteorologists would come out well ahead. However none of us are true masters. Great mystery still surrounds the art of the Creator.

For the most part I watch and wonder. And it has been fun to watch the wobbling of high pressure up at the Pole, for the past fortnight.

When I last posted high pressure was right on top of the Pole, which tends to keep the cold air swirling in a clockwise flow up there, rather than the cold being hurled south upon poor, old mortals like myself. The position of this high, in contrast with a low over towards Bering Strait, arranged isobars into a cross-polar-flow that bled cold air north from Canada in a transfusion to Siberia, which was becoming amazingly cold. However a lot of my attention was grabbed by an amazing gale which had roared between Greenland and Iceland, where no one lives, and therefore got no headlines.

A lot of the energy involved with this gale slammed into Greenland, and my focus was on a spike in the amount of snow Greenland got. However another part of my curiosity knows “what goes up must come down”. A huge gale like that is launching all sorts of air upwards, and when that air comes down it tends to create high pressure (unless it comes down as a Chinook, in which case its warmth may generate a low, which is another “tipping point”, and a discussion for some other time.)

I remember back around 2006 watching the late forecaster Ken Reeves point out various places a “digging” tough might “pump a ridge”, and how each place a ridge might be “pumped” would “teleconnect with” (IE “result in”) a different place a new “trough would dig.” The sheer number of variables he was holding in his head as he scowled at the map sat me backwards in awe, and I conceded I simply didn’t have the time to focus to that degree. I would simply be patient, when a low pressure exploded into a Gale and shot massive amounts of air upwards. I would sit back and look around and wonder where it was going to come down, and when it would come down.

Most recently it seemed to come down over Siberia, as the huge gale by Iceland faded between January 16 and January 19.

During these four days the slow bleeding of air from Canada persisted, until Alaska began to supply some milder air from the north Pacific. But by this point the cold over Siberia was making headlines.

AA14 cmc_t2m_asia_5

AA15 download

However at this point the Canada-to-Siberia supply broke down, partly because the Pacific air crossing Alaska rose over the arctic and created a weak Ralph-like low to the Pacific side of the Pole. Although a Canada-to-Siberia flow persisted on the side of that low towards the Pole, on the Pacific side a sort of backwash began to develop, with cold air heading back from Siberia to Alaska.

At this point the amazing cold over Siberia had created an amazing high pressure system, with pressures up around 1070 mb. Bone chilling temperatures poured into China down the west east side, and the south side cycled cold all the way west to Turkey, but the  east west and north side were the “mild side”, and though temperatures were below freezing they were well above-normal as they poured up towards the Pole. Meanwhile the sneaky backwash continued to cross into Alaska from the most eastern parts of Siberia.

Of course Alarmists do not focus on the mind-boggling cold pressing down into Asia, but rather in the air rushing up to the Pole to replace the cold heading south. And it did create an impressive spike in temperatures.

DMI5 0127 meanT_2018

Though this spike is nearly as high as last winter’s two spikes, it has failed to generate a “Ralph” at the Pole,  nor to shove sea-ice north with the same gales over Barents Sea. And what troubled me, with my selfish focus on my backyard in New Hampshire, was that even though the main body of the high pressure sank down into Asia, new high pressure was getting pumped over towards Bering Strait. As a result Alaska and Canada, rather than being drained of arctic air by cross-polar-flow, looked like they were being replenished and reloaded.  I far prefer to see the arctic aiming at China than aiming at me.

 

The North Atlantic had been quiet, but finally a new gale approached Iceland on January 22, and it did not behave like last year’s, which moved straight north to become “Ralph” at the Pole. In the following maps you’ll notice the Atlantic low follows a far more usual route, across the top of Norway and into the Kara Sea.  Meanwhile high pressure wobbles over to the Pacific side. The contrast between high pressure towards Bering Strait and low pressure towards the Atlantic creates the worst sort of layout of isobars, if you want cold air to stay out of Canada.

My fear is that the blob of high pressure over Canada will move south in the same manner  the blob of high pressure over Siberia moved south. Rather than reading of records set in Russia, we’ll read of records for cold set where I live. Who needs that?

Of course, one odd thing about focusing on sea-ice is that data about how severe winter may be to the south doesn’t matter. Yes, this is a bit narrow minded, especially when it involves ignoring the sea-ice we actually have in New England. Our sea-ice has actually decreased, during the recent thaw caused by all the cold air draining down to China on the far side of the Pole, but we still have some. And our ice reflects sunshine just the same as ice in the Arctic Sea does. But somehow our sea-ice is never included in the “albedo” calculations, even though we do have sunshine in January, when most of the arctic gets zilch. Be that as it may be, our focus is suppose to be on the arctic and the arctic alone.

Not that the people who care about sea-ice “extent” focus on the arctic, and the arctic alone.

There is less ice, outside the arctic, in the places they bother measure. (Not all bother measure the Baltic Sea. Not all bother measure the Yellow Sea. None measure the east coast of the USA.) In fact it looks like there is significantly less sea-ice, according to the DMI chart, which oddly ceased reporting back on January 23.

DMI5 0123 osisaf_nh_iceextent_daily_5years_en

When I try to compare current NRL maps with last year’s maps, I am annoyed to find no record of maps for this date last year. The best I can find is a “forecast” for this date, run on January 13, 2017. But we use what we can get. (2017 to left; 2018 to right.)

The “forecast”map for this date last year likely fails to account for the unexpected “Ralph”-fueling surges we saw roaring north in the Atlantic last January, but even using the “forecast map” it looks like, in the Central Arctic, the ice is thicker this year, both at the Pole and also towards the boundary between the Laptev Sea and East Siberian Sea. Also, the area where ice was formerly below-normal in Bering Strait has seen a swift growth of thin ice, which makes me wonder why the DMI map is not updated to show this swift regrowth (associated with the bleeding of cold air in a sort of backwash that has replenished and reloaded Canada with cold.)

Most of the “missing” ice in the DMI “extent” graph may actually be located in the Sea of Okhotsk, down the east coast of Siberia towards Japan. Not exactly “arctic sea-ice”.  And if you are going to count that “missing” ice, from such a southern locale, you should surely include the sea-ice in the Gulf of Maine, which is above-normal despite our thaw.

The ice out in the fringes likely matters less than the sea-ice in the Central Arctic. The ice in the fringes is melted by July. The ice in the Central Arctic is far more stubborn, and there is simply no getting around the fact it is thicker this January than last year. It is moving in the wrong direction, for Alarmists to achieve their dream of an “ice-free Pole.”

Stay tuned.

ARCTIC SEA ICE –Cross-polar Draining–

It has been hard to report on the sea-ice situation at the Pole, as all sorts of pettifogging details from real life have intruded on what is of paramount importance, namely: what is occurring in the long darkness of the polar night.

For example, I knew I should check the air pressure of my tires when the temperatures sank to -10°F, because the air contracts and the pressure in the tires gets so low the tires can get flat. But who can bother with things like that when one has sea-ice to think about? So I neglected it, and started the New Year by driving off with tire going ker-slam, ker-slam, ker-slam on the street. Not only was it flat, but it was frozen into that shape of flatness. I immediately returned to my parking space, but it doesn’t take many ker-slams to utterly ruin the wall of the tire.

Flat tire FullSizeRender

Oh Great. And what are the odds that the old 2003 Subaru Outback I just bought will actually have a jack in it? To my astonishment it did have a jack, but not a lug-nut wrench. Therefore, rather than focusing on sea-ice, I had to focus how to find a lug-nut wrench I could borrow, on a day with wind-chills of -30°F.

Multiply this annoyance by twenty-five others and you have an idea of why I haven’t posted on sea-ice.  Between blizzards and my staff catching some ‘flu the ‘flu-shot didn’t make people immune to, I’ve had to run around doing a great deal of dithering details a person of my intelligence shouldn’t have to deal with.

I blame Donald Trump. By now he should have redirected all the six-figure salaries from pseudo-scientists like Mann and Hansen to honest airheads like myself. Sigh. Hasn’t happened.

In any case, we have a patch of mild weather, so I am going to seize the opportunity to catch up.

When I last posted just after Christmas the flow of bitter cold air from Siberia to Canada had been interrupted by a ridge of high pressure that was funneling the cold air down into the Atlantic.

 

I keep an eye on such funneling, for it seems to be reflected in the weather down where I live in New England a week later. When the arctic leans into Canada we see cold come bulging south over us, but when it leans into the Atlantic we can get a break in our cold, and warm air can come north, perhaps fueling a storm for us. Thus even people who are not interested in sea ice should pay attention to where the cross-polar-flows are directed.

 

By December 28, though some cold still was funneled in the Atlantic, the Siberia to Canada flow was reestablish itself.

 

Two days later, despite a low moving up into Alaska, the ridge on the Pacific side was persisting, and the delivery of cold air into Canada continued.

 

As the low pressure on the Atlantic side persisted there were some feeder-bands that aimed to the Pole, and very weak versions of “Ralph” ineffectually tried to become established at the Pole. (Nothing like last year.)

 

 

 

 

 

By January 3 the ridge of high pressure across the Pacific side of the Pole, and the flow of cold air into Canada, started to weaken, (which gave me dim hopes of future thaw, far to the south, though all Canada was still loaded with cold.)

 

 

As the high pressure shifted east into the Canadian Archipelago, its western side began to actually draw air out of Canada and back up to the Pole.

 

 

By January 7 the high pressure slid up to the Pole, briefly giving us a “zonal” situation, which traps the cold at the Pole. Not that the tundra of Siberia and Canada doesn’t create its own cold, but their cold doesn’t receive reinforcements.

 

By January 8 the high had pumped-up, down towards Canada, while ridging towards Siberia, and again a Siberia-to-Canada flow existed. My take was that the thaw that developed far to the south in my neighborhood would be interrupted.

 

By January 9 the flow had already broken down, as weak feeder-bands from both the Atlantic and Pacific side fueled a weak “Ralph” at the Pole. An amazing storm between Greenland and Iceland got no news coverage, as no one lives there.

 

 

Today it looks like the “Ralph” is being pressed off the Pole by high pressure towards Canada, even as that big low that has been smashing Greenland transits the Greenland ice cap and comes north as a decent storm north of Svalbard. Quite a southerly flow will develop in the Atlantic between that low and the high pressure over Scandinavia. The high over Scandinavia may pull Siberian air west over Europe on its underside, even while tugging at milder air way down over the Azores on its western side. I haven’t a clue how much mild air could be fed up to the Pole, and will zip my lip and simply watch.

 

No sea-ice post in January can be complete without a mention of Africa and the Sahara  Desert. Last year a dusting of snow fell in Ain El Safra in northern Algeria, and it was reported as “The first snow in nearly forty years.” Rather than waiting forty years to happen again, it only waited thirteen months, and rather than a mere dusting they received as much as ten inches.

Sahara 1 sahara-snow2-2018

Cold Snap Brings Snowfall to the Sahara Desert – for the second winter in a row

In case you are wondering what this has to do with sea-ice, it is because during our discussions we’ve been drawn into excruciating calculations of “albedo”, yet there seems to be a neglect to calculate “albedo” when it is off the surface of the Arctic Sea. For example, the sun went down at the Pole at the September equinox and clear down to the Arctic Circle at the solstice, which renders albedo a mute point in those northern reaches. However the Sahara, at latitude 32°45′ N, is another matter. Even if the snow all melts away in three or four days, more sunlight is bounced back to outer space by the one white blot in the Sahara on the map below than at the entire Pole in December. (Gibraltar hidden by clouds to upper left.)

Sahara 2 sahara-snow

It would be interesting to come up with a number for the heat-loss of such freak events, and compare the number to heat-loss amounts at the Pole in late August. As it is, Alarmists tend to simply say some heat-loss matters and some doesn’t. The actual fact may be that the freak events add up, and are indicative of climate moving towards a cooler state (perhaps due to the “Quiet Sun”).

Currently our Polar temperatures, though still above normal, are roughly five degrees colder than last year’s. It will be interesting to watch the oncoming surge of south winds in the Atlantic, and see if we come close to matching last year’s. (2017 left; 2018 right.)

 

The total sea-ice extent is quite low, as calculated by the DMI:

DMI5 0110 osisaf_nh_iceextent_daily_5years_en

I expect this to now become the Alarmist focus, though most of the “missing” sea-ice is on the Pacific side outside the Arctic Ocean. They tend to have a focus that is highly selective. The problem is that last year at this time, when “extent” didn’t support their narrative, they tended to pish-tush “extent”, and to say “volume” was important, because the 2017 volume was lower than 2916’s. This year you hear less about “volume” because 2018 is above both 2016 and 2017, (black line at far left of graph).

DMI5 0110 Volume FullSizeRender

To me it seems the “Quiet Sun” chill may be starting to have its effect, despite its counter-intuitive ability to increase warm El Ninos and decrease cool La Ninas. The main thing is that there is no apparent “Death Spiral”. Although sea-ice is at low levels there is no crash in its levels as was predicted. In fact Tony Heller produced a comparison with the thickness of ice on New Year’s 2008 with this New Year’s, and if anything the ice now looks more substantial.

DMI5 0111 Heller Attachment-1

Stay tuned.

*******

 

I thought that, with that huge gale crashing into southern Greenland, it would be interesting to check the Greenland mass-balance gathered by DMI. It has been relatively cold and dry over the west of Greenland after big storms early in the season, and the mass-balance was trending back towards average, which filled me with dread. Why? Because the moment the mass-balance slips below average the selective focus of Alarmists seizes on the news as verification of their narrative. And this in a way twists my arm and forces me to counter,  explaining the nuances of a loopy jet stream, bringing up things like snows in the Sahara, even though there is little chance they’ll heed. (Mostly I debate for the onlookers on-the-fence.) Any delay in such futile debate is a great relief, and this big gale provided such a delay by dumping a huge amount of snow in southeast Greenland. (Current to left; average to right.)

Greenland MB 20180110 todaysmb

The morphistication (transit) of this storm over Greenland is liable to dump more snow, before it reforms between Greenland and Svalbard and the dry northern winds resume down Greenland’s east coast. This will create a blip in the mass-balance graph, and delay the inevitable hoopla a while.

Greeenland MB 20180110 accumulatedsmb

I count my blessings.

ARCTIC SEA ICE –In honor of O-buoys–

The blogger “Nigel” (AKA “Jasbond007”) (I assume) has done me a great favor by sharing pictures he captured from O-buoy 14, in the “comments” of my posts. In case you missed his offerings, I think it is well worth repeating the links he gave me to batches of pictures at”Flikr”.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/161602435@N07/

https://www.flickr.com/photos/jasbond007/galleries/72157667628714069/with/39184834041/?rb=1#photo_39184834041

Nigel has the selective eye of a good observer, and it shows in other pictures he shares here:

https://www.flickr.com/photos/jasbond007/

I have asserted elsewhere that a good observer may not have any degrees in Arctic-Sea-Ice-Science, but still have value because they may catch something others overlooked. They may not be a “professional witness” in a court of law, but they still have value and even power, as a “just plain witness.” To be a witness is enough, and older scientists of the better sort have learned to cock an ear when someone who knows next to nothing about the science they study shares an insight. Einstein was said to question children, when adults utterly bored him.

In my case I am just too busy with boring stuff of little consequence, like the IRS of the government, and various inspectors who make life unsafe claiming they are all for insurance, when they are after insurance payments, and are bleeping gangsters resorting to extortion. Such imbeciles have no idea what they miss by ignoring the subject of sea-ice far away. But (sigh) I have to deal with them,  and this leaves me with too little time to study sea-ice around the clock. There are terrible gaps in my watchfulness. For this reason I am hugely grateful that other observers are watching, and see what I have missed. For example, I completely missed what Nigel saw, when O-buoy 14’s unprejudiced eye glimpsed Melville Island in the distance.

20161003

Furthermore, other witnesses take things one step further, and notice what I fail to notice even when I look at the same pictures they do. For example, Nigel notices how high up the camera is, as O-buoy 14 is prepared for operation back in 2015. It is at the very top of the buoy.

Buoy 1 39184837531_bf372689f4_z

And then consider that same camera, well over the heads of those two mortals, was too low to picture a polar bear’s head, and only caught his shoulder:

Buoy 2 39184834041_4d6620d84f_z

Even if you assume, (as I assume), that the yellow part of the buoy in the first picture has melted down to the level of the ice, the bear still must be far taller than the two men deploying the buoy. It gives me pause. Those fellows had guts to do the job they did, and should be named, in recognition of their courage: (Mike Dempsey and John (Wes) Halfacre).

This consideration just shows you what a witness can come up with, just being an observer and saying what may seem obvious, but what others may overlook. This is one thing that made the O-Buoy project so invaluable. (And made the other “North Pole Camera” project invaluable as well.)

If you return to the first picture you must note the solar panels are black. Besides absorbing sunlight for energy they absorb heat, and on calm days this creates a pocket of warmer air around the buoy. It is a sort of microcosm of a UHI (Urban Heat Island). (I call it a BHI [Buoy Heat Island]). The thermometers attached to a buoy may be recording an elevated temperature, especially when winds are calm. This elevated temperature is then fed into a computer which obeys the principle of GIGO (Garbage In, Garbage Out)  and then produces a map of polar temperatures. A lot of hard-working scientists worked overtime to produce the map, and they do not take kindly to some bumpkin like me coming along and stating, “Sorry, but your map is wrong.”

How dare I be so audacious? Well, blame the cameras. They show me the buoy is sitting in a pool of its own making, when no other ice around it is melting. Furthermore, the cameras show melt-water pools skimming over with ice, when the map states temperatures are above freezing. And on and on it goes. The map states the water is ice-free but the camera shows a local clot of ice. Or the map suggests sunshine when the camera shows clouds, or rain where the camera shows snow.

Don’t get me wrong. I don’t want to abolish thermometers or satellites or any nonsense like that. I just feel cameras are a wonderful way of double-checking. They are an invaluable addition to other instruments. The fellows who undertook the visual aspect of buoys deserve great praise. (The name Todd Valentic appears as a credit to the development of the O-buoys.)

Sadly, I am afraid the fellows who developed the cameras don’t get the credit, or the funding, that they deserve. Alarmists don’t like them because cameras did not show the political idea of vanishing ice that Alarmists desired. Skeptics don’t like them because billions have been spent on the Alarmist agenda, and they are sick of the misappropriation of funds. However I believe cameras are worth every penny they eked from the squandering.

Why? Because the eye-witness has value. In our court of law you can have an IQ of sixty, and your testimony still has value. The polar cameras have been a wonderful check-and-balance to those who spend too much time at computers, and never stick their noses out of doors.

For this reason I feel the cameras should be funded, even as the other silly wasting of money is trimmed. Fire the do-nothing people with six-figure salaries, and fund the cameras. Cancel the conventions of blathering political correctness in Paris and Bali, and fund the cameras.

For seeing is believing.