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

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

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

UK Met 20160122 31143270 UK Met 20160122 2 day for 31146915

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Vent melts sea ice fig1_arctic

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

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

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

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

UPDATE  —SATURDAY NIGHT—

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

ATLANTIC AIR HEADING TO THE POLE AGAIN

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

 

 

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(south of) ARCTIC SEA ICE –Turkish Delight–

One of the more surreal bits of history is the start of World War One, which we now can see, with 20-20 hindsight, was a complete disaster for Europe, especially the Victorian royalty. At the start,  the English and German thrones held two grandsons of Queen Victoria, and the Czar of Russia was married to a granddaughter.  The entire slaughter could have been avoided if the family had been a bit more functional, and had put their foot down on the lesser powers who were starting the war up. However the English royal family referred to the Kaiser of Germany as “that dreadful cousin Willy”, and when push came to shove they seemed to think of war as a sporting event. In September 1914 the public was assured, “It will be over by Christmas”. The first troops marched off on prancing horses in absolutely gorgeous uniforms with feathers and shining helmets, as if they were off to a jousting tournament in medieval times, and not on their way to meet machine guns.

By Christmas many were waking up to the realities of modern warfare, but the leaders, who sent others to die charging machine guns, still seemed to hold the idea that the dying troops were like football players put on “injured reserve”, a sad aspect of a jolly good sport. They decided to hold a Christmas Truce, when they could meet with their fellow officers on the opposing side, toast the holiday with fine bandy, and exchange helmets.

Christmas Truce 1914, as seen by the Illustrated London News. However the troops refused to be left out, and they too fraternized with the enemy, breaking ranks to drink, sing Christmas Carols, and play soccer with their sworn foe.

Armistice Day football match at Dale Barracks between german soldiers and Royal Welsh fusiliers to remember the famous Christmas Day truce between germany and Britain PCH

Armistice Day football match at Dale Barracks between German soldiers and Royal Welsh fusiliers to remember the famous Christmas Day truce between Germany and Britain PCH

You can hardly blame the troops. After all, they had been promised the war would be over by Christmas, and it was Christmas. What’s more, they proved the war could be over, if only the leaders would behave sanely. However the leaders did not. They banned Christmas truces for the rest of the war, by which time the royalty of Germany, Russia, the Austrio-Hungarian Empire and the Ottoman Empire had lost their power, and Britain was greatly weakened. In the view of the English poet Wilfred Owen it was as if Abraham was asked to sacrifice his son, and then, when God offered a ram, caught by its horns in a thicket, to be used instead of Isaac (or Ishmael if you’re Muslim), Abraham had refused the substitution, and insisted on killing his son.

PARABLE OF THE OLD MAN AND THE YOUNG

So Abram rose, and clave the wood, and went,
And took the fire with him, and a knife.
And as they sojourned both of them together,
Isaac the first-born spake and said, My Father,
Behold the preparations, fire and iron,
But where the lamb for this burnt-offering?
Then Abram bound the youth with belts and straps,
and builded parapets and trenches there,
And stretched forth the knife to slay his son.
When lo! an angel called him out of heaven,
Saying, Lay not thy hand upon the lad,
Neither do anything to him. Behold,
A ram, caught in a thicket by its horns;
Offer the Ram of Pride instead of him.
But the old man would not so, but slew his son,
And half the seed of Europe, one by one.

                                                       Wilfred Owen

Wilfred Owen was machine-gunned dead a week before the war ended. His mother got the news even as all the church-bells were ringing, rejoicing that the “War To End All Wars”  was at long last over.

So now here we are, 101 years later, and are we any wiser for all the horror we have seen? Sadly, I think not, for we seem on the verge of a new slaughter between the Islamic and the non-Islamic. The royalty on either side may be different, and may not focus so much on their lineage, but they are as brainless.

It seems proof that money cannot buy happiness. Who has had more money than the Arab states, with their oil revenue, but do they use this surplus to make happiness, or to brew hate and war?  And, when you look at the West, has money led to reason, or to greater greed? When you look at Hollywood, has money and fame led to goodness?

The good people, in my humble opinion, continue to be the troops in No Man’s Land, which in modern terms are the slums, and the factories, and fast food restaurants, and rural wastes, and any place the helpless abide. They yearn for leaders, but the leaders are fools. They yearn for guidance, but the guides are lost. They yearn for teachers, but the teachers only parrot nonsense. Who is there that will help them?

Basically, they have to count on themselves. If you want to see kindness and not hate, or generosity and not greed, or purity and not lust and gluttony, you are more liable to see it among the poor, for, while they have the same bad qualities all humans own, they have no where else to turn but to each other, for goodness.

This is a disgrace to all others who claim to represent goodness. Why don’t the poor trust them? Because the poor have seen all Temples, Churches, Mosques, Parliaments, Thrones, and Madison Avenue Agencies be too caught up in their greedy battles for power, wealth, and acclaim (and even mere self-gratification) to be free of the all-pervading perversions that make them liars, and liars can’t represent Truth. The poor can’t turn to them.

Truth doesn’t die, though people ignore it. It whistles in the bitter winter winds the poor endure, as the rich close coal power plants for falsified reasons. It smiles with the sunshine of unexpected thaws. Perhaps this is why so many talk so much about the weather. The weather, at least, is not a liar. It is what it is.

Autumn is ending with kindness for the eastern USA and much of Europe, as mild winds have surged from west to east. It is a Christmas miracle for many poor people, to have heating bills be so low.  Of course, Global Warming fanatics manage to make misery of good news, by suggesting it would be far better if the poor were cold, but the Truth ignores them, and temperatures over most of Europe are far above normal, (as is shown in the anomaly map Dr. Ryan Maue makes possible from GFS data at the Weatherbell site).

20151215 gfs_t2m_anom_eur_1

This warm surge may be followed by a second even stronger surge, and perhaps a third, which is a kindly truth for Europe, at the very start of their winter, although the end of winter may be very different. However a weather pattern that is kindly for the poor of one area may not be so kindly for other areas, and in this case you should look to the bottom right of the above map, where temperatures are below normal in Turkey, Iraq, Iran, Saudi Arabia and Jordan.

Now, before you get too caught up in the oncoming war between the Islamic and non-Islamic, and snicker “it serves them right”, I should mention cool weather is a cause for celebration in some of those lands. The poor, who cannot afford air conditioning, don’t need it.

However Turkey is too far north, and as the milder air rams east it is like a plow that shoves some Siberian cold north to the Pole, but other Siberian air south, where it is part of a backwash or counter-current that brings amazing snows to Turkey. The poor there can’t be too happy, as hundred of villages are cut off.

http://iceagenow.info/2015/12/17452/#more-17452

Now, when an area is hit and buried by snow, people tend to slip and fall down in the snow. We can chuckle about the situation because, just as the warm sun falls on rich and poor alike, the snow can make a young, strong, healthy and relatively wealthy guy lose his dignity. However suppose the person slipping and falling is a poor and elderly woman. It is not so funny, then. And who will stop to help her? The young, strong, healthy and relatively wealthy guy with lots of dignity? Or a scrawny, little Red Riding Hood?

 

This is not an example of Christmas Spirit, as Turkey is a Muslim nation, and they don’t celebrate Christmas,  but I like to think Jesus would smile at the above pictures. In like manner, I like to think that Mohammad would smile at how I behave, though I do not live in a Muslim nation.

For it is not the prophets who are to blame for hate between peoples. Nor is it the poor.

The ones who bear the blame are obvious. They need not be named. They rule with greed, hate and lust, and attempt to inflame such irrational reasoning in the people they lead. However perhaps the poor are reaching a point where they will simply feel enough is enough, and be sick of it.

ARCTIC SEA ICE —The Cruel Pool– December 7-13, 2015

Sometimes I simply sit back in awe and wonder over weather features our Creator brews up, especially when they take forms that in some ways are outside of our ordinary expectations, and defy the constructs our small minds come up with to grapple with something as giant as “weather”.

I tend to see things in simplistic terms, and one construct I fall back on is the idea of a “storm track” with nice and neat low pressure areas rolling along this track like trains. However the recent surge that crossed the Atlantic and dove across Europe into Siberia seems in some ways like a javelin of energy. It wasn’t really marked very well by nice, neat circles of isobars marking nice, neat storms rolling along,  but rather ripped through all my nice, neat preconceptions like a spear through tissue paper.

I’ve poked about, trying to get the take others have on what was occurring, and noticed Piers Colbyn suggested the sun hit us with extra energy, (perhaps as a TSI spike).

https://weatheraction.wordpress.com/2015/12/09/piers-corbyn-nw-england-extreme-floods-driven-by-wild-jet-stream-mini-ice-age-conditions-nothing-to-do-with-co2/

I sort of like the idea of some sort of trigger hurling the javelin, which caused the flooding in Scotland as the spear of moisture passed through:

Spear 1 screenshot_2015-12-07-17-36-29-11

As this javelin plunged into the cold, dense air parked over the tundra and taiga of Siberia’s vastness, it shoved the cold aside and forward like a snowplow. I’ve already remarked on how the cold got pushed south to give snow to Persia:Persian Snow 151207113212_snow_in_iran_640x360_isna_nocredit

The poor nation of Syria was hit by cold which set a record for the entire month of December, not even ten days into the month, with Damascus hitting -9°C.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/weather/features/35031257

A lot of cold air was plowed east, pouring out into the north Pacific, which will (perhaps) shift the Aleutian low south and west, and (perhaps) cause the jet stream to pour arctic air south into Canada. But how cold is that air, out over the Arctic Sea?

Now that is where my wondering gets tickled, for apparently the javelin didn’t merely plow the cold south and east, but also plowed it north, up over the Pole.

That isn’t all that unusual, and is one reason the Laptev Sea leads all coastal arctic seas, when it comes to the creation and export of sea-ice. The cold air created by the snow-pack over Siberia does what cold air is inclined to do, namely sink, and creates high pressure as it presses down, but it can only press down so much before it presses outwards, and on the coast of the Laptev Sea this creates south winds that are anything but warm. They are the coldest south winds north of the equator, in fact, and roar north with such ferocity that they rip the sea-ice away from the coast, creating polynyas of open water even when the winds are as low as -70°C. This open water rapidly freezes, and then it too is pushed out to sea. Enormous amounts of ice are created in the Laptev sea, even though the ice there never gets all that thick. And, considering this outflow from Siberia happens even in ordinary circumstances, it will be all the more likely to occur when encouraged by a javelin plowing through Siberia.

As I watched the DMI maps the past week, the cold air pouring north from Siberia was obvious, even if the origins were beyond the edge of these maps. The high pressure I dubbed “Igor2” was pumped up, on the Pacific side.  Of interest was the fact that the gale I called “Tip3” was sucked east by (apparently) the surge associated with the “javelin”, while the gale I called “Tip4” behaved like a leaf swirling about in the wake of a race car, loop-de-looping back to Greenland.

DMI3 1208 mslp_latest.bigDMI3 1208 temp_latest.bigDMI3 1208B mslp_latest.bigDMI3 1208B temp_latest.bigDMI3 1209 mslp_latest.bigDMI3 1209 temp_latest.big DMI3 1209B mslp_latest.big DMI3 1209B temp_latest.big DMI3 1210B mslp_latest.big DMI3 1210B temp_latest.big

The last map shows a decent gale off the coast of Norway, but in fact that is a “zipper” and associated with the occluded mess Tip4 created when he retrograded to Greenland. You get some idea of this mess by looking at the UK Met map.UK Met 20151210 29951109 The UK met map shows the “javelin’s” isobars still remain strongly west to east across Britain, Scandinavia and into Siberia, but not much of a “storm track” in the North Atlantic, where everything has bogged down to a stalled, occluded mess. In fact the low to the lower left of the map (which we might as well name “Tip5”) is likely to dawdle towards Spain, before perhaps probing up towards the English Channel. In terms of invading the arctic, the Atlantic is not much of a threat. A slight flow is pushing towards the Pole from the open waters of Barents Sea, but it is nothing like the surges we have seen.

Without invasions, the Pole swiftly chills, and this can be seen by the recent plunge of the DMI temperatures-north-of-80° graph. (The recent slight uptick is due to the air from Barents Sea.)DMI3 1210B meanT_2015

It makes me nervous when temperatures become “normal” over the Pole, because it represents a reservoir of nasty cold, a truly cruel pool. It wouldn’t be so nervous-making if the flow was zonal, for then you would know the cold would be trapped up there, which is where it belongs, as far as I’m concerned. However the flow has been meridenal, which tends to suggest the cold is just winding up before a pitch, or rearing back before an uppercut, or (add the sports metaphor of your choice).

Some of the cold air has been leaking down the east coast of Greenland, which may chill the Atlantic and cause future troubles, but in the short term is good news for places like the USA and Europe and China. However a lot of wicked cold is simply remaining up at the pole, as a building threat.

I mentioned earlier that the cold air spilling from Siberia into the Pacific might relocate the Aleutian low, and cause the jet stream to aim down into North America. Cold already is oppressing the north of Alaska and Canada,  but so far hasn’t started south:Spear 2 gfs_t2m_noram_1 Mr. Bastardi, over at the Weatherbell site, seems to suggest this ferocious cold is likely to roar down the Rocky Mountains into the west of North America, which will not effect me right away, which is fine with me. I prefer reading reports from Calgary of bone-chilling blasts. Or from Colorado. Or even from Texas or Phoenix.

I figure we here in New England payed our dues last winter. (Of course, I am not the guy who figures out this thing called “dues”. Some celestial angel does those calculations, which is why I never get the millions I figure I’ve earned by being so charming all my life.)

My hope is that we get a winter for softies, here in New England, and I don’t have to attend to ice on my driveway, and therefore have lots of time to attend to ice in the arctic.

Something very odd has been happening in the DMI ice-extent graphs. Rather than explain it I’ll just let you look at the two graphs. The first is for 15% coverage, and includes “coastal areas”, and the second is for 30% coverage, and has coastal areas “masked out”. (Click graphs to enlarge and clarify)

DMI3 1210B icecover_current_new DMI31210B icecover_current How two graphs, produced by the same agency, can give such differing impressions, is beyond my capacity to explain. The first will be loved by Alarmists, as it shows less ice, as the second will be adored by Skeptics, as it shows more ice.  (My own take, for what it is worth, is that the thicker and denser ice is increasing, even as the ice that doesn’t really matter so much, at the edges, is diminished.)

Tomorrow I hope to find time to catch up with the doings of Faboo (the north Pole Camera) which is hurrying south along the east coast of Greenland. The cameras are still sending pictures, and it has moved so far south that some of the pictures are lighter than others, but apparently the lenses are still very obscured by hoarfrost, so all you see is black for night and purple for day.

However the main emphasis of this post is the cruel pool building over the Pole, and the pondering about who will get that cold air, when an arctic outbreak sends it south. (I hope it hits some poor boy yearning for a White Christmas, and arrives on Christmas Eve,)

UPDATE: “JAVELIN” CROSSES ASIA; CAUSES SUPER-STORM?

I’ve just been noting the passage of what I called either a spear or javelin through Siberia. It has now reached the Pacific and is still milder than the air both to the north and to the south (though it has been cooled a lot crossing the deep snow-cover of Siberia, and “milder” is now 10°F)(-12°C):Javalin 3 gfs_t2m_arctic_1

So far the javelin seems to be deflected a bit further south than I expected by the (so far) stubborn cold (-55°F; -48°C) lodged over east Siberia. However what is an interesting “coincidence” to me is the massive gale computer models see blowing up in the Bearing Sea tomorrow (Sunday).

Javalin 4 gfs_mslp_uv10m_arctic_5I am not qualified to say whether this super gale, at the very bottom of the above map, is actually related to the impulse that gave northern Britain its recent floods. My eye has just been following something east, and a qualified meteorologist might be quite correct to call any connection between the two events an optical illusion. But, as an observer, I figure I should mention it. (For those with home barometers, 933mb is like your barometer reading 27.55 inches.  IE Super-dooper typhoon.)

DMI MAPS UPDATED SUNDAY EVENING

The weak remains of Tip4 and secondary and tertiary elements have drifted east to the Kara Sea, bringing some slightly milder air to the Pole, but not the true Atlantic moisture that comes in surges all the way up from the Azores. In a sense this is home-grown Atlantic air, polar in origin.

Across the Pole Igor2’s high pressure continues to mark some very cold air that is pouring north from East Siberia and across towards Canada. Some is exported down the east coast of Greenland, but North America is increasingly in danger of an onslaught from the north.

A Pacific storm is off the map south of Alaska, and the Pacific super-gale hasn’t developed yet.

FABOO UPDATES

On December 7 Faboo (the North Pole Camera) was blown south to 78.879°N, 8.174°W, which was another 18.75 mile to the SSW. Temperatures were fairly flat, with a low of  -21.4°C at 0600Z and a high of -18.1°C at 1500Z. Breezes fell off from the prior gales, but remained strong, slacking off from 25 mph to 15 mph.

December 8 saw the winds fade away to a calm, as temperatures fell from -18.7°C at midnight to -26.1°C at 1800Z. The buoy’s movement slowed to 6.14 miles, to 78.790°N, 8.186°W. There was a slight wiggle to the SE at 1500Z,  midst the SSW motion.

On December 9 calm conditions continue, and likely hoarfrost froze up the anemometer and wind-vane. Movement slowed further to 3.22 miles, to 78.744°N, 8.143°W. Temperatures crashed to -29.2°C at 0900Z and then recovered to -21.0°C at the end of the period at 2100Z.

December 10 saw movement of 6.63 miles to 78.648°N, 8.119°W, wobbling east, west, east and west as it proceeded south. Temperatures rose to a high of -17.7°C at midnight and a low of -23.1°C. at noon. Winds were not reported, likely due to hoarfrost.

December 11 saw the buoy move back west, as it continued south, to  78.577°N, 8.201°W, 5.02 miles further south. Temperatures were at their highest at midnight at -21.7°C and sunk to -27.3°C at 1500Z. No wind reports.

On December 12 Faboo drifted another 5.81 miles SSW to 78.494°N, 8.274°W. No wind reports, and temperatures remaining very cold for Fram Strait at -26.3°C at midnight down to -28.5°C at 1500Z.

Faboo is still well out in Fram Strait, and somewhat amazingly the cameras are still functioning, though the hoarfrost is likely so thick on the lenses that all we see is blackness. The slab of ice it is on is likely still fairly solid, or at least one of the cameras would be sunk. Much of the ice moving down into Fram Strait is solid, and the air has been very cold with few mild incursions. Of we could get some gentle south winds we might get a lens thawed, and get a few decent pictures from Faboo before it gets crunched. (As the ice moves south it tends to compress against the coast of Greenland. In fact all the thin “baby ice” from earlier this autumn has vanished from the NRL thickness map, turned into a much thicker jumble along the coast, south towards Denmark Strait.)

Further east there is still open water all around Svalbard, but we are likely to see Svalbard freeze swiftly, for it is entilerly surrounded by water that is now below 0°C, and only remains liquid due to its salt content. (Click to enlarge, and click again to enlarge further.)Fram Ice 1212 general_20151211Further west Hudson Bay is rapidly freezing over.Hudson Bay 20151212 CMMBCTCABering Strait has also frozen up.Concetration 20151212 arcticicennowcastThe only area with much below-normal ice-extent continues to be Barents Sea, which is likely to see an increase of ice on the Svalbard side over the next week.

Half-horsepower Persian Snows

A strong west-to-east flow across northern Europe is driving polar Atlantic air deep into Siberia. (Maps below are created by Dr Ryan Maue from GFS initial data, and are among thousands of maps he makes available at the Weatherbell site.) (Click maps to clarify and enlarge.)

Persia 1 gfs_mslp_uv10m_eur_6

This air is actually quite mild for December (although below freezing by the time it gets to Russia. Below freezing appears as pink on the map below.)Persia 2 gfs_t2m_eur_1

To get a feel for how above-normal the air actually is a temperature anomaly map is helpful. The map below shows temperatures are most above normal in Finland.Persia 3 gfs_t2m_anom_eur_1

This surge of relatively mild (but still below freezing air) will extend far across Asia, but does not represent the very cold (-40°C) Siberian air being warmed, but rather replaced. The displaced air is pushed north into the Arctic Sea, or west into the Pacific, or south and then east by a sort of backwash under the west winds. You can see the cold appearing in the lower right of the map above.

What this means is that places like Persia, Lebanon, Syria and Israel are seeing very cold conditions. Even the ordinarily hot and desert dry United Arab Emerites are seeing cold rain and temperatures down near freezing. UAR Cold Rain 3820661127

This is often an unexpected side effect of mild west winds across the Baltic and into Russia. Siberia is a huge place, larger than the USA and Canada put together, and its tundra and taiga create huge amounts of cold air. It is difficult to comprehend the enormity of this reservoir, or how impossible it is to warm this vastness in the dark days of December. It is only when a fringe of this cold comes east as a sort of backwash, and snows fall in the holy land, that one glimpses a hint of how gigantic the area of cold is. It perhaps can be shoved aside by a surge of air from the west, but it doesn’t just vanish, and I was particularly interested in pictures of the snow in Persia (Iran). Persian Snow 151207113212_snow_in_iran_640x360_isna_nocredit

It is a bit stunning to realize that the displaced Siberian air has it colder south of the Caspian Sea than it is way up in Finland. (One thing to realize is that the relatively milder air rushing east past Finland is constantly losing heat, and will be quite cold after a week or so over the deep snows that cover most of Siberia this autumn.) In fact it is so cold over Persia that things are running at half-horsepower.1931874(1)

OK, OK, I admit it is a bad joke, but I actually thought this statue was so cool that it deserved an entire post just to share it. It just goes to show you that you never know what you’ll discover, when you wander the web looking for news.

 

 

ROMANIANS AND BRITISH AGREE: WINTER IS ONE MONTH EARLY

From a Romanian site here: http://www.antena3.ro/actualitate/trenuri-blocale-si-localitati-fara-energie-electrica-din-cauza-caderilor-de-zapada-318120.html

Comes news of an early season snowfall that stopped trains, mostly because the trains are electric and trees dropped limbs onto the lines over the trains.

Trenuri blocale şi localităţi fără energie electrică, din cauza căderilor de zăpadă 16

Crudely translated, the report states this:

Travellers from personal train Suceava – Cacica were taken by minibus and taken home after the train was stopped Sunday afternoon in the station Todireşti, said County Council (CJ) Suceava, John Catalin Nechifor, according to Agerpres. The train was stopped at the station after power line was damaged because of falling trees and branches that yielded abundant snow. However, Nechifor said that another issue was brought before the train Ilva Mica – Suceava which was stopped after probably , trees fell on power grid, between the towns Kindergarten and Larion. According to Nechifor during the evening railway line between Transylvania and Suceava will be functional.Also, President CJ Suceava showed that there were failures in the electricity supply in the area Campulung Moldovenesc, but in Vatra Moldoviţei teams E.ON interfering spot for redeploying the network.

Moldova has a report on this website http://stirileprotv.ro/stiri/actualitate/cod-galben-de-ploi-si-ninsori-in-toata-tara-si-cod-portocaliu-in-suceava-si-neamt-unde-stratul-de-zapada-va-depasi-10cm.ht and the report there contains the significant (crudely translated) statement, ” Traffic was blocked on the road between Suceava and Gura Humorului, where winds broke several power cables. Shortly after it started to snow heavily, two cars had crashed violently on the same road.All seven people, located in both cars arrived at the hospital. Young: “It’s too early winter, we did not expect, now move on warm clothes.” Hostel from the mountains of the county Neamt snow deposited on leaves still green trees and grass.

If winter came when the leaves were still green, even the trees got fooled. Considering they spend more time outside than humans do, it is little wonder if humans were taken by surprise.

The culprit for the cold has been a high pressure which, on my Sea-ice posts, I named “CPR” (which was short for “Cross Polar Ridge”.) This ridge of high pressure for a while extended from Bering Strait to Norway, and the winds on the Eurasian side of this cross-polar feature drew air from the East Siberian Sea to Finland and then south towards the Caspian. The cold air has resulted in snow-cover far south in western Russia.Swan 1 ims2015285

This same high pressure “CPR” has largely faded away over the Pole, collapsing south over Europe and now forming a ridge extending from just north of the Caspian Sea all the way west to Britain. East winds now blow in an arc from Siberia to Ireland.Swan 3 gfs_precip_mslp_eur_3Much cold air came south with this high pressure. (Temperature in this map are in Fahrenheit, and pink represents below freezing.) Swan 2 cmc_t2m_eur_3

It can be seen that this high pressure’s east winds would be transporting the cold air to the west, and riding the back of these east winds were Bewick’s Swans.

Britain facing 'longest winter in 50 years' as Siberian swan arrives early

Unlike the trees of Romania, ducks, geese and swans are unlikely to be fooled. This likely occurs because they spend a lot of their time with their butts in water, and know when water is about to freeze. It would be big trouble if your butt got frozen into a lake, and in the case of the larger birds some need water to run across in order to get airborne. In fact some go so far as to suggest it was ducks that first spoke the phrase, “Get my ass out of here.”

Apparently swans have a habit of staying just ahead of the freeze, and there is a Russian expression that states, “The swan brings snow on its bill”, because they tend to fly just ahead of the first severe cold. Therefore, when the first Bewick’s Swan landed in a sanctuary in Slimbridge, Glouchestershire a month earlier than last year, and earlier than ever reported since records started to be kept (in 1963), people feared it might signify the start of a long, cold winter.

http://travel.aol.co.uk/2015/10/13/uk-weather-longest-winter-50-years-siberian-swan-arrives-early/

The story was picked up by the Telegraph which added “Spurred on by bitter north easterly winds, many of the swans are currently gathering in the Netherlands, with 45 on Lake Gooimeer and 80 on Lake Lauwersmeer.” and they also had some cool pictures:Bewick's swans have migrated to Slimbridge every winter since 1963

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/weather/11926752/Britain-faces-longest-winter-in-50-years-after-earliest-ever-arrival-of-Siberian-swan.html

So there you have it, one of the rare cases of people in Romania agreeing with people in England.

People tend to form a beautiful variety of cultures which some, calling themselves “progressive”,  oppose, thinking a bland, international McWorld culture would be better, and individuality should be abolished in all its forms, including the variations that lead to some being called English and some being called Romanians. I think this would be a huge loss, and would be preferring the myopia of Cyclops to the depth perception which owning two eyes and two views allows.

However I must admit two views can involve distrust. Here in New England the Natives have always distrusted the Newcomers, and any deal made with “the other side” was suspect.  For this reason the word “Indian” was sometimes used (until it became politically incorrect) to indicate something you couldn’t trust. An “Indian Giver” was someone who gave you something they later took back, and “Indian Summer” was a late autumn warm spell liable to be followed by very un-summery weather. Even more politically incorrect was the word for an early cold snap, which often preceded an “Indian Summer”, which was called a “Squaw winter”. “Squaw” was the word for an Indian woman, and now is deemed very racist, sexist, and very, very naughty.  Therefore, in the bland spirit of internationalism, I should say, “Early Winter” and “Late Summer”. Bleah. I figure there are too few adjectives as it is, and if I have to say “An early winter followed by a late summer may mean a hard winter,” it lacks the meaning of, “A squaw winter followed by an Indian summer grows the stingy Yankee’s woodpile.” Political incorrectness communicates more.

In any case, the old, weatherwise Yankee I once knew didn’t say a squaw winter always foretold a hard winter. It did set them on edge, but they could speak of early snows that were followed by relatively mild winters. They knew weather is complex, and were always scanning the skies for updates.

However one thing they put a lot of stock in was the behavior of wildlife. I’m quite sure they would tell the people of England to pay attention to those Bewick’s Swans, even if the current cold spell is followed by a nice, long, warm spell.

(A hat tip to Ben Vorlich for alerting me to the swans in England. Also to http://iceagenow.info/ for the information about early snows in eastern Europe,) (which now includes Bulgaria:    iceagenow.info/2015/10/heavy-snow-in-bulgaria/  )

PS   …MEANWHILE, HERE IN NORTH AMERICA…

Here’s a report from Maine about how short the snow-free period was this year. (Maine is the most northeasterly state of the USA.)

PPS   …Meanwhile, in Russia…

From the site:  http://hmn.ru/index.php?index=1&ts=151014130514

Where snow cover was established?

IA “Meteonovosti” / 13:05 Wednesday, October 14

  October 14 national calendar – Protection of the day. On this day in Russia celebrated the meeting of autumn to winter. According to folk etymology, the name of the holiday is associated with the first snow that covered the ground. And where in Russia is now the snow has covered the ground? The snow cover is confidently gaining the north of the Far East. The white blanket has covered herself most of the territory of Yakutia and Magadan region, and in some places it has reached the height of 30 cm. Chance of snow (height 1-5 cm) is in the central regions of Khabarovsk and Primorye territories. In Eastern Siberia is a bit of snow, the snow cover was formed only in places Taimyr, Evenkia and north of Turukhansk district. But in Western Siberia, which in October had already been invaded by snow cyclone it is snow in most areas. In the south, the snow depth is substantially greater than 5 cm, but in the north, in the Yamal-Nenets district snow cover in some places more than 20 cm. Uncharacteristic early dressed in white Urals. After a heavy snowfall, which took place here at the end of the first decade of October, in the west of the Sverdlovsk Region the snow cover in some places more than 30 cm in many areas of the Perm region of 18 to 25 cm, is covered with snow and the South Urals. On the European territory of Russia is snow in the east Middle Volga (up to 5 cm). Closed by snow most of the territory of the Komi Republic, and in some places the snow depth reaches 30 cm. In the east of the Nenets Autonomous District of snow cover reached 10-15 cm. /  Meteonovosti.ru  /

WIND SWINGS IN EUROPE

A low over the Baltic Sea with an extension over Italy are bringing a generally northerly flow Across Norway, Britain, and Spain. This is very different from last year when floods of warmth came up from the Azores high all the way to Finland.  The Azores high is suppressed at the bottom of the map.

UK MET 0201A 22029536

As the Baltic low weakens and is moved east, the Azores high is not able to slide north behind it, and rather a high pressure full of colder air which, though moderated by the Atlantic, is largely from arctic source regions starts to be pumped up south of Iceland. Rather than gales crossing the Atlantic and sliding north of Norway, bringing surges of warmth to Scandinavia, the lows are heading north and crashing into Greenland and Baffin’s Bay, with the warmth streaming towards the pole to feed an Arctic Gale, (mentioned in the prior post.) The best Atlantic storms can do is push a weak low into the Mediterranean via Spain.

UK Met 0201B 22033116

As the Baltic low fades east an new Atlantic gale forms north of Iceland, and a non-Azores high pressure is pumped up and approaching Britain, as the weak low enters the Mediterranean. The northern flow is breaking down over Western Europe. West winds are starting to develop a cross-Atlantic flow northwest of Iceland.

UK Met 0201C 22033624

Friday’s map shows the non-Azores high pressure extending across Europe, and winds from the west to its north. Though this seems to promise a break for Scandinavia from north winds, the Atlantic air is of a colder sort, with no benign Azores kindness. To the south of the high the winds will be east, when are seldom kindly in Europe, with Siberia in that general direction.

The gale south of Svalbard is weakening and is actually an appendage of a larger Gale brewing up over the Pole.

UK Met 0201D 22037814

What follows will be interesting to watch. Some models show the low south of Svalbard dropping back down to the Baltic, and the north winds returning to Norway, Britain and Spain. No winds from the Azores are in sight.

ANOTHER COLD WAVE FOR EUROPE? (Updated thrice)

On his blog at Weatherbell Joe Bastardi noted that a major North Atlantic Storm looks likely to crash into Scotland, and in its wake alter the pattern over Europe, which could become colder and snowy. Here’s the GFS map of the storm on Thursday morning: (Dr. Ryan Maue map from Weatherbell.)

Europe 1 gfs_mslp_uv10m_eur_13

The UK Met map shows the same situation, Thursday morning:

UK Met 0113 21579599

Last year such a storm always seemed to bring a surge of warm air up from the Azores all the way to Finland, but this year not only is the warm sector cooler, often with it’s sourse region Greenland (moderated by cross-Atlantic travel), but the warm air doesn’t penetrate so far north before the storm’s cold front, (with air from Iceland)  catches up and occludes the warm air up off the ground.  In this case the north side of the storm’s east winds will be tapping into very cold air parked over Scandinavia and eastern Siberia.

Europe 2 gfs_t2m_eur_1

By Friday the storm is winding down a little, and crashing into Norway.

Europe 4 21581442

There is much less warm air over Scandinavia. Where has it gone?

Europe 3 gfs_t2m_eur_17

I think at least some of that arctic air has been sucked east and then south, into the storm. The much milder waters of the northern tendrils of the Gulf Stream, heading up towards Barents Sea north of Norway, warm that frigid air right down at the surface of the water, but a couple of hundred feet higher up that air remains extremely cold, and is curved around and down towards Scotland.

By Sunday the storm has moved on northeast of Norway, and the map shows isobars straight from the Pole to London.

Europe 5 21586106

The temperature map shows it much warmer over Scandinavia, but much of the cold air seems to have been gobbled up by the passing gale and swung down to milder climes, as nearly all of England is below freezing, as is much of Germany, France, and even Spain.

Europe 6 gfs_t2m_eur_33

The question now becomes, “Is this a brief visit of north winds, or could it be more lasting?”

I hasten to add that the above maps are from the virtual world of computer models, which can be false prophets. They have been particularly bad this year, when it comes to seeing cold hit Europe. My personal theory is that they are based on a zonal flow, where storms and air-masses are well behaved and move around and around the earth, and the models have a hard time with loopy “meridianal” flows, where cross-polar-flow brings storms and air masses over the  top.

In a most general way, I would describe the pattern this winter as heading from the Atlantic right up to the Pole, and then rebounding south to Siberia. I am watching to see if the pattern repeats. If it does repeat then the gale, after moving north of Norway, will slouch south into Siberia, and the east winds north of it will bring fresh Siberian cold back to the west, to Europe.

Lastly, I’ll watch to see if the pattern then gets stuck, and “locks in.”  If it does, a repeat of the January and February of 1947 might be seen in England.

If I get time tomorrow I’ll look up an elegant description of that winter in James Herriot’s book, “The Lord God Made Them All.”  If my memory serves me correctly, that winter was mild to start, and they had a green Christmas in Yorkshire, and it wasn’t until late January that times grew hard. If I find it I’ll update this post with his testimony.

UPDATE:   (from Chapter 16 of “THE LORD GOD MADE THEM ALL”)

“…That was in 1947, the year of the great snow. I have never known snow like that before or since, and the odd thing is that it took such a long time to get started. Nothing happened in November and we had a green Christmas, but then it began to get colder and colder. All through January a north-east wind blew, apparently straight from the Arctic; usually after a few days of this sort of unbearable blast, snow would come and make things a bit warmer. But not in 1947.

Each day we thought it couldn’t get any colder, but it did, and then, borne on the wind, very fine flakes began to appear over the last few days of the month. They were so small you could hardly see them, but were the forerunners of the real thing. At the beginning of February, big fat flakes started a steady, relentless decent on our countryside, and we knew, after all that build up, that we were in for it.

For weeks and weeks the snow fell, sometimes in a gentle, almost lazy curtain that remorselessly obliterated the familiar landmarks, at others in fierce blizzards. In between, the frost took over and transformed the roads into glassy tracks of flattened snow over which we drove at fifteen miles an hour…”

This is a fine description of what occurs when a pattern stops swinging between two extremes, and simply “locks in”. It is a rare event, but history does repeat itself, which is why we study it.

UPDATE #2  —JANUARY 15—

By next Wednesday, this is how much snow the American GFS model sees will have fallen on Britain. (Click to enlarge.)

Europe 6 gfs_6hr_snow_acc_uk2_28

Remember, these maps are fiction until verified, and also show how much snow falls, without showing how much melts. Lastly, they are based on a one-inch-of-rain-makes-ten-inches-of-snow formula, and gloppy snow may create lesser amounts, while fluffy powder may double the amounts.

If this forecast verifies, then poor Dr. David Viner is going to again be sorry he ever said, “Children aren’t going to know what snow is”, back in  2000. The “Snowfalls Are Now Just A Thing Of The Past” headline will haunt him to the grave. However he did get a lot of speaking engagements and money out of making a total fool of himself, and some people can count their cash and have no  shame:  http://www.independent.co.uk/environment/snowfalls-are-now-just-a-thing-of-the-past-724017.html

It remains to be seen if the pattern will “lock in” or not.

The above snowfall-map was produced by Dr. Ryan Maue, and lifted from Joe Bastardi’s blog, at the Weatherbell site. (I feel compelled to promote the thousands of maps and excellent commentary I get at that site, for the price of a cup of coffee a day, because I lift ideas and maps from them so often.) Besides studying the action-and-reaction of the current maps, they are historians, and have done well by finding situations in the past that resemble our current situation, and using such analogs to point out what is probable and what is not. They have been suggesting arctic blasts and snow is probable for Europe since September, and currently they are making the study of history look wise and any sort of lazy dependence on computer models look foolish. The models didn’t see the current snow and cold coming, nor did they see the cold and snow that proceeded it.  If you put all your faith in computer models you are likely to wind up looking like Dr. David Viner.

(Note: During his video on Weatherbell this morning Joe Bastardi showed some model forecasts that now have come around and even may be going to the other extreme, for they now show the cold and snow “locking in” over Western Europe for three weeks. {Remember, models are fiction until they verify.) Three weeks may not seem like a long winter, but I know from experience even ten days can seem like an eternity when you are slogging through hardship.  And, if the pattern does “lock in”, it could extend out even further into the future, or “back off” into but a brief thaw, even as it “reloads” for another round. It might be time for some in Europe to heed the old adage, “Prepare for the worst and hope for the best.”)

UPDATE: BBC REPORTS GALES, SNOW, TORNADOES IN BRITAIN AS GALE HITS

http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-30804065  (Picture from Scottish game park.)

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