Arctic sea ice at a record low again; a warmer February for the U.S. coming

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 8. helmikuuta 2011 klo 13:42 (GMT)

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Arctic sea ice extent for January 2011 was the lowest on record for the month, and marked the second consecutive month a record low has been set, according to the National Snow and Ice Data Center. Most of the missing ice was concentrated along the shores of Northeast Canada and Western Greenland. Relative to the 1979 - 2000 average, the missing ice area was about twice the size of Texas, or about 60% of the size of the Mediterranean Sea. Hudson Bay in Canada did not freeze over until mid-January, the latest freeze-up date on record, and at least a month later than average. The late freeze-up contributed to record warm winter temperatures across much of the Canadian Arctic in December and January. Bob Henson of the National Center for Atmospheric Research has a very interesting post on this, noting that Coral Harbor on the shores of Hudson Bay had a low temperature on January 6 that was 30°C (54°F) above average--a pretty ridiculous temperature anomaly. He quotes David Phillips, a senior climatologist with Environment Canada, who discussed the lack of ice near Canada's Baffin Island: "The Meteorological Service of Canada was still writing marine forecasts as of 7 January, well beyond anything we have ever done." Henson also writes:

"The extremes have been just as impressive when you look high in the atmosphere above these areas. Typically the midpoint of the atmosphere's mass--the 500-millibar (500 hPa) level--rests around 5 kilometers (3 miles) above sea level during the Arctic midwinter. In mid-December, a vast bubble of high pressure formed in the vicinity of Greenland. At the center of this high, the 500-mb surface rose to more than 5.8 kilometers, a sign of remarkably mild air below. Stu Ostro (The Weather Channel) found that this was the most extreme 500-mb anomaly anywhere on the planet in weather analyses dating back to 1948.

Farther west, a separate monster high developed over Alaska in January. According to Richard Thoman (National Weather Service, Fairbanks), the 500-mb height over both Nome and Kotzebue rose to 582 decameters (5.82 km). That's not only a January record: those are the highest values ever observed at those points outside of June, July, and August."



Figure 1. Monthly January sea ice extent for 1979 to 2011 shows a decline of 3.3% per decade. Image credit: National Snow and Ice Data Center.

The warm temperatures in Canada and record sea ice loss in the Arctic were also due, in part, to a strong negative phase of the Arctic Oscillation (AO). The Arctic Oscillation and its close cousin, the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) are naturally occurring pressure patterns in the Arctic and mid-latitudes. A negative AO and NAO results when we have weaker than normal low pressure over the Arctic, and weaker than normal high pressure over the Azores Islands. This fosters an easterly flow of air off the warm Atlantic Ocean into the Canadian Arctic, and also weakens the winds of the polar vortex, the ring of counter-clockwise spinning winds that encircles the Arctic. A weaker polar vortex allows cold air to spill southwards out of the Arctic into eastern North America and Western Europe. Thus, the strongly negative AO and NAO the past two winters have been largely responsible for the cold and snowy winters in these regions, and exceptionally warm conditions in the Arctic. I described this pattern in more detail in my December post titled, Florida shivers; Hot Arctic-Cold Continents pattern is back. It is possible that Arctic sea ice loss is largely responsible for the unusual Arctic Oscillation pattern we've observed during the past two winters, as well as for the record-strength ridges of high pressure observed over Greenland and Alaska this winter. It should not surprise us that Arctic sea ice loss would be capable of causing major perturbations to Earth's weather, since it is well known that changes from average in sea surface temperatures over large regions of the ocean modify the jet stream, storm tracks, and precipitation patterns. The El Niño and La Niña patterns are prime examples of this (though the area of oceans affected by these phenomena are much larger than what we're talking about in the Arctic.) Another example: Feudale and Shukla (2010) found that during the summer of 2003, exceptionally high sea surface temperatures of 4°C (7°F) above average over the Mediterranean Sea, combined with unusually warm SSTs in the northern portion of the North Atlantic Ocean near the Arctic, combined to shift the jet stream to the north over Western Europe and create the heat wave of 2003, the deadliest heat wave in history with 30,000 - 50,000 deaths in Europe.

References
Feudale, L., and J. Shukla (2010), "Influence of sea surface temperature on the European heat wave of 2003 summer. Part I: an observational study", Climate Dynamics DOI: 10.1007/s00382-010-0788-0


Figure 2. The 6-10 temperature forecast issued by NOAA's Climate Prediction Center calls for an above-average chance of warm temperatures across most of the U.S. by mid-February.

A warmer forecast for February
Over the past two weeks, the Arctic Oscillation has undergone a major transition, changing from negative to positive. This means that low pressure over the Arctic has intensified, which will act to speed up the counter-clockwise spinning winds (the polar vortex.) This spin-up of the polar vortex will tend to keep cold air bottled up the Arctic, leading to more Arctic sea ice formation and warmer winter conditions over the U.S. This warm-up is reflected in the latest 6 - 10 day temperature outlook from NOAA's Climate Prediction Center (Figure 2.) Could it be the groundhog was right, and we have only three more weeks of winter left? Time will tell--we have little skill predicting what may happen to the Arctic Oscillation more than about two weeks in advance.

Jeff Masters

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359. washingtonian115
9. helmikuuta 2011 klo 22:09 (GMT)
Spring will be coming early.The trees outside have already sprouted buds.Not a good sign becuase...
1.I hate spring,and....
2.My alergies are terrible.
Member Since: 14.08.2010 Posts: 10 Comments: 15736
358. hurricanelonny
9. helmikuuta 2011 klo 21:28 (GMT)
Quoting txag91met:
Nice post Jeff...looks like the AO may trend back negative towards the end of the month.


Any graphs to back that up. I don't really see AO going neg. this month.

http://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/products/precip/CWli nk/daily_ao_index/ao_index_mrf.shtml
Member Since: 12.08.2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 6
357. Patrap
9. helmikuuta 2011 klo 20:26 (GMT)
Sowwy,,

new ENtry by Dr. Masters.

Member Since: 3.07.2005 Posts: 415 Comments: 125699
355. SulgraveLLC
9. helmikuuta 2011 klo 20:24 (GMT)
Dr. Masters:

Have you had a chance to consider the implications of these two new papers below? How might they change current climate change models and interpretation of global warming trends?

Thank you.

1. Bathymetric controls on Pliocene North Atlantic and Arctic sea surface temperature and deepwater production.
M.M. Robinson, P.J. Valdes, A.M. Haywood Et Alia.
Palaeogeog., Palaeoclim., Palaeoecol., In Press, Online 1/15/2011.
doi:10.1016/j.palaeo.2011.01.004
http://www.sciencedirect.com/science?_ob=ArticleU RL&_udi=B6V6R-51YBTRC-1&_user=10&_coverDate=01%2F1 5%2F2011&_rdoc=1&_fmt=high&_orig=search&_origin=se arch&_sort=d&_docanchor=&view=c&_acct=C000050221&_ version=1&_urlVersion=0&_userid=10&md5=31d81caa9b7 8fcb5938ee9d81625ca4c&searchtype=a
Abstract
The mid-Pliocene warm period (MPWP; ~ 3.3 to 3.0 Ma) is the most recent interval in Earth's history in which global temperatures reached and remained at levels similar to those projected for the near future. The distribution of global warmth, however, was different than today in that the high latitudes warmed more than the tropics. Multiple temperature proxies indicate significant sea surface warming in the North Atlantic and Arctic Oceans during the MPWP, but predictions from a fully coupled ocean–atmosphere model (HadCM3) have so far been unable to fully predict the large scale of sea surface warming in the high latitudes. If climate proxies accurately represent Pliocene conditions, and if no weakness exists in the physics of the model, then model boundary conditions may be in error. Here we alter a single boundary condition (bathymetry) to examine if Pliocene high latitude warming was aided by an increase in poleward heat transport due to changes in the subsidence of North Atlantic Ocean ridges. We find an increase in both Arctic sea surface temperature and deepwater production in model experiments that incorporate a deepened Greenland–Scotland Ridge. These results offer both a mechanism for the warming in the North Atlantic and Arctic Oceans indicated by numerous proxies and an explanation for the apparent disparity between proxy data and model simulations of Pliocene northern North Atlantic and Arctic Ocean conditions. Determining the causes of Pliocene warmth remains critical to fully understanding comparisons of the Pliocene warm period to possible future climate change scenarios.

Research Highlights
► We alter GCM bathymetry to see if warming is aided by ocean ridge subsidence. ► We find an increase in both Arctic sea surface temperature and deepwater production. ► The results offer a warming mechanism and an explanation for data-model disparity. ► Our results are compatible with paleoceoanographic and geophysical evidence. ► The Iceland–Faroe Ridge has a greater effect on climate than does Denmark Strait.



2. Weakening of the equatorial Atlantic cold tongue over the past six decades.
Hiroki Tokinaga1 & Shang-Ping Xie1.
Nature Geoscience 2011
doi:10.1038/ngeo1078
http://www.nature.com/ngeo/journal/vaop/ncurrent/ full/ngeo1078.html
Seasonal and interannual variations of the equatorial cold tongue are defining features of the tropical Atlantic Ocean, with significant climatic and biogeochemical effects. However, its long-term changes are poorly understood owing to biases in observations and climate models. Here we use a suite of bias-corrected observations, and find that cold-tongue variability has weakened during the past six decades. We find that sea surface temperature has increased across the basin, with a local enhancement over the eastern equatorial Atlantic. This warming pattern of the sea surface is most pronounced during boreal summer, reducing the annual cycle through a positive ocean–atmosphere feedback. Specifically, the eastward-intensified warming leads to enhanced atmospheric convection in the equatorial eastern Atlantic region, as well as to less vigorous trade winds. These in turn deepen the thermocline in the east, and reinforce the sea surface warming pattern. The flattened thermocline and reduced thermocline feedback weaken interannual variability of equatorial sea surface temperatures and Guinea coast precipitation associated with the Atlantic Niño. We suggest that the observed changes could be associated with cooling by anthropogenic aerosols, an effect that is stronger in the Northern than in the Southern Hemisphere. If the aerosol emissions decrease in the next decades, the tropical Atlantic may experience yet another shift as the greenhouse gas forcing increases.


Member Since: 8.02.2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 0
353. Neapolitan
9. helmikuuta 2011 klo 20:23 (GMT)
Quoting HaloReachFan:


Who are these thousands of certified life-long climatologists you bring up?

It's not just climatologists; it's nearly every national and international scientific body. Here's a listing of such bodies that have come out with position statements supporting AGWT: the InterAcademy Council, the European Academy of Sciences and Arts, the International Council of Academies of Engineering and Technological Sciences, the Network of African Science Academies, the Royal Society of New Zealand, the Royal Society of the United Kingdom, the Polish Academy of Sciences, the National Research Council, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the American Chemical Society, the American Institute of Physics, the American Physical Society, the Australian Institute of Physics, the European Physical Society, the European Science Foundation, the Federation of Australian Scientific and Technological Societies, the American Geophysical Union, the European Federation of Geologists, the European Geosciences Union, the Geological Society of America, the Geological Society of Australia, the Geological Society of London, the International Union of Geodesy and Geophysics, the National Association of Geoscience Teachers, the American Meteorological Society, the Australian Meteorological and Oceanographic Society, the Canadian Foundation for Climate and Atmospheric Sciences, the Canadian Meteorological and Oceanographic Society, the Royal Meteorological Society, the World Meteorological Organization, the American Quaternary Association, the International Union for Quaternary Research, the American Association of Wildlife Veterinarians, the American Institute of Biological Sciences, the American Society for Microbiology, the Australian Coral Reef Society, the UK Institute of Biology, the Society of American Foresters, the Wildlife Society, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American College of Preventive Medicine, the American Medical Association, the American Public Health Association, the Australian Medical Association, the World Federation of Public Health Associations, the World Health Organization, the American Astronomical Society, the American Statistical Association, the the Institution of Engineers Australia, the International Association for Great Lakes Research, the Institute of Professional Engineers New Zealand, along with national science academies for the following nations/areas: Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Cameroon, Canada, the Caribbean, China, France, Ghana, Germany, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, India, Japan, Kenya, Madagascar, Malaysia, Mexico, Nigeria, New Zealand, Russia, Senegal, South Africa, Sudan, Sweden, Tanzania, Turkey, Uganda, the United Kingdom, the United States, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.

(While there are a small handful of organizations that remain officially non-commital, none reject the theory of AGWT. For the record, the last one that did was the American Association of Petroleum Geologists--go figure--but even that group went non-commital a few years ago.)

(And, no, I'm not in any way saying that there are climatologists in those groups. Nor am I saying that every person in those groups, climatologist or otherwise, adheres to AGWT. But the groups as a whole have taken the majority opinion, and based their position statements on that opinion.)

Is it really anyone's opinion that the tens of thousands of scientists represented by these groups are all involved in a conspiracy to deprive people of their freedoms or to extract exorbitant taxes? And does anyone really believe that a handful of politicians bought and paid for by Big Energy carry the same science credibility as the majority of those in the above bodies do?
Member Since: 8.11.2009 Posts: 4 Comments: 13301
351. JLPR2
9. helmikuuta 2011 klo 20:15 (GMT)
So this is not about weather, but I got a question.
You guys know your civil rights, right?

If the republican governor of Puerto Rico signs a law that makes illegal protests and any type of marches or manifestations by civilians that interrupt any public services related to health or education, is that legal?

Doesn't that go against the right to freedom of speech and association?
Member Since: 4.09.2007 Posts: 7 Comments: 8459
345. Some1Has2BtheRookie
9. helmikuuta 2011 klo 19:48 (GMT)

Quoting Patrap:
Well,,were screwed as screwed can be with Leadership like this maroon.

House Energy Committee Chairman Fred Upton Denies Human Role In Climate Change (VIDEO)


+ 1,000,000,000

The sad thing is that those on the Titanic that did not believe the ship would sink also did not prevent others from getting on the lifeboats. What we are seeing now is the burning of the lifeboats before anyone can put them to use. Fifty years from now, Fred Upton will be dead and will care less if he was right or wrong.


Member Since: 24.08.2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 4728
344. kwgirl
9. helmikuuta 2011 klo 19:44 (GMT)
Quoting JFLORIDA:
try to find balance rather than wacked out panic over GW propaganda.

I want to know what "panic" is - as nothign has been done for 30 years - gas and FF is at near a all time high - two wars in the Mideast - Climate disasters mounting. Crop disasters. Permafrost melt, Alpine forest dying, Ocean Acidification and mercury content so high you have to limit seafood and freshwater fish intake.

What exactly is "panic" in this situation? Considering really nothign is done and we still subsidize FF to an extent.
IMPO, I think the answer is NOW!
Member Since: 28.03.2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 1532
342. HaloReachFan
9. helmikuuta 2011 klo 19:36 (GMT)
Quoting HaloReachFan:


Who are these thousands of certified life-long climatologists you bring up?


Yea that's what I thought. You have no idea how many states we have and you won't comment on what I asked.
Member Since: 15.09.2010 Posts: 1 Comments: 563
341. kwgirl
9. helmikuuta 2011 klo 19:27 (GMT)
Quoting FFtrombi:


I dunno, you seem to be pretty certifiable. Btw, what are these American freedoms that are not normal elsewhere that you are so busy defending?
Name calling otherwise known as free speech?
Member Since: 28.03.2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 1532
340. HadesGodWyvern (Mod)
9. helmikuuta 2011 klo 19:14 (GMT)
Seychelles Meteorological Services
Tropical Cyclone Advisory #3
TEMPETE TROPICALE MODEREE BINGIZA (05-20102011)
22:00 PM Reunion February 9 2011
=====================================

At 18:00 PM UTC, Moderate Tropical Storm Bingiza (996 hPa) located at 13.7 54.6 has 10 minute sustained winds of 35 knots with gusts of 50 knots. The cyclone is reported as moving west at 5 knots.

Gale Force Winds
===============
30 NM from the center

Near Gale Force Winds
======================
50 NM from the center, extending up to 100 NM in the northwestern quadrant and up to 120 NM in the southern semi-circle

Dvorak Intensity: T2.5/2.5/D1.5/24HRS

Forecast and Intensity
============================
12 HRS: 13.9S 54.3E - 35 knots (Tempête Tropicale Modéree)
24 HRS: 14.2S 54.1E - 40 knots (Tempête Tropicale Modéree)
48 HRS: 15.1S 54.1E - 50 knots (Forte Tempête Tropicale)
72 HRS: 16.3S 53.8E - 70 knots (Cyclone Tropical)

Additional Information
======================

The system has intensified and has been named BINGIZA by the weather service of Madagascar. Convection has significantly strengthened and is wrapping around the center for the latest hours. Moderate easterly shear is expected to maintain within the next 36 hours. Consequently as slower intensification is expected. After that (Friday night), upper level conditions is expected to improve significantly with lower shear under the upper level ridge and good outflow specially polewards. Therefore, a stronger intensification rate is expected by that time. System is moving west southwest along the western side of the subtropical ridge. Tomorrow a deep mid latitude trough is expected to be south of the system around 50E and generate a strong weakness in the subtropical ridge. This pattern should allow a gradual polewards turn and a slow down of the track. Latest models from 0:00Z agree with this southward turn for Friday and Saturday. At longer range, some models like UKMO show a more southwestward track under the steering influence of a ridge located to the southwest of the system and other models like the very last ECMWF show a now southward track. Present forecast is based on a consensus of all available models.

INHABITANTS OF MASCARENES ISLANDS AND THE EASTERN COAST OF MADAGASCAR SHOULD CLOSELY FOLLOW THE EVOLUTION OF THIS SYSTEM.

The next tropical cyclone advisory from Seychelles Meteorological Service will be issued at 0:30 AM UTC..
Member Since: 24.05.2006 Posts: 48 Comments: 43702
339. HaloReachFan
9. helmikuuta 2011 klo 19:09 (GMT)
Quoting Neapolitan:

Yeah, Upton is another perfect example of just why politics needs to stay out of science. On the one hand, thousands of certified life-long climatologists saying the planet is warming up due to decades of unimpeded CO2. On the other hand, a non-climatologist heavily beholden to fossil fuel interests declaring that AGW is a fraud.

Guys like Upton are interested in taking away our rights as not just Americans, but as humans. To him and his ilk, profit is the only thing that matters. Profit over people. Profit over common sense. Profit over all. The future will judge him harshly--but by then it will be too late.


Who are these thousands of certified life-long climatologists you bring up?
Member Since: 15.09.2010 Posts: 1 Comments: 563
338. Neapolitan
9. helmikuuta 2011 klo 19:07 (GMT)
Quoting Patrap:
Well,,were screwed as screwed can be with Leadership like this maroon.

Yeah, Upton is another perfect example of just why politics needs to stay out of science. On the one hand, thousands of certified life-long climatologists saying the planet is warming up due to decades of unimpeded CO2. On the other hand, a non-climatologist heavily beholden to fossil fuel interests declaring that AGW is a fraud.

Guys like Upton are interested in taking away our rights as not just Americans, but as humans. To him and his ilk, profit is the only thing that matters. Profit over people. Profit over common sense. Profit over all. The future will judge him harshly--but by then it will be too late.
Member Since: 8.11.2009 Posts: 4 Comments: 13301
337. mfaria101
9. helmikuuta 2011 klo 19:06 (GMT)
Greetings all, I don't usually post much preferring to lurk most of the time but ran across this article in Slate and couldnt resist passing it on:
Link
enjoy, (back to lurking)
Member Since: 29.05.2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 30
335. HaloReachFan
9. helmikuuta 2011 klo 18:55 (GMT)
Quoting FFtrombi:


I dunno, you seem to be pretty certifiable. Btw, what are these American freedoms that are not normal elsewhere that you are so busy defending?


Compare our freedoms to Canada and Britian. Go ahead have fun. Oops my computer says I misspelled Britian but idc.
Member Since: 15.09.2010 Posts: 1 Comments: 563
334. Patrap
9. helmikuuta 2011 klo 18:55 (GMT)
Ramble on...
Member Since: 3.07.2005 Posts: 415 Comments: 125699
333. FFtrombi
9. helmikuuta 2011 klo 18:51 (GMT)
Quoting Jedkins01:



No there shouldn't be a removal of any regulation, early America, the Industrial Age, gives a great example why no regulation is bad.

However, some of us, still have our sanity, some of us, don't worship mother earth, and some of us try to find balance rather than wacked out panic over GW propaganda. Some of us believe in learning how to improve the environment, but aren't wacked out nut-cases that want utter removal of all things leading to the supposed end of the world do to Global Warming. Some of us actually have enough sanity and balance left to care about the environment. Yet realize regulating will destroy American freedoms as well as collapse society as we know it.


I dunno, you seem to be pretty certifiable. Btw, what are these American freedoms that are not normal elsewhere that you are so busy defending?
Member Since: 6.11.2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 165
332. Jedkins01
9. helmikuuta 2011 klo 18:48 (GMT)
Quoting greentortuloni:


So you're saying what? There should be no regulations on what we can dump in the environment?

The rich (the ones that own and run the companies that complain about regulations) make sure they live far from any pollution. Anti-regulatory ideas are the guff they sell to the gulllible or to the politicians.



No there shouldn't be a removal of any regulation, early America, the Industrial Age, gives a great example why no regulation is bad.

However, some of us, still have our sanity, some of us, don't worship mother earth, and some of us try to find balance rather than wacked out panic over GW propaganda. Some of us believe in learning how to improve the environment, but aren't wacked out nut-cases that want utter removal of all things leading to the supposed end of the world do to Global Warming. Some of us actually have enough sanity and balance left to care about the environment. Yet realize regulating will destroy American freedoms as well as collapse society as we know it.
Member Since: 21.08.2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 6884
331. Jedkins01
9. helmikuuta 2011 klo 18:41 (GMT)
Quoting jwh250:
Evil Oceans Produce 16 Times As Much CO2 As Humans


Posted on February 8, 2011 by stevengoddard


Maybe we can tax the oceans?

http://oceanworld.tamu.edu/resources/oceanography -book/carboncycle.htm



remember Global Warming activists worship the Earth, mother nature is sacred because we evolved from it, the goddess gaia wills for us not to tax her oceans. She said to tax and to take away American freedoms :)
Member Since: 21.08.2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 6884
330. HaloReachFan
9. helmikuuta 2011 klo 18:35 (GMT)
Quoting jwh250:
Maybe we can tax the oceans?



I think so.
Member Since: 15.09.2010 Posts: 1 Comments: 563
329. greentortuloni
9. helmikuuta 2011 klo 18:22 (GMT)
Quoting Surfcropper:


Are you kidding me? LOL

What grade did you get in reading comprehension in 3rd grade?

I think its terrible [all the junk that finds its way into the ocean, man-made, robot-made, natural elements that shouldn't be there, asteroids, the trans-atlantic cable,].

But I am all for the sinking of structures to produce artificial reefs. Eventhough the materials of such structures may not be natural to the environment, I've seen first hand what it produces in a short period of time. I think its very chivalric of the human to adopt such actions for our aquatic mutant cousins.




Fair enough. I assumed sarcasm. My bad. Apologies.
Member Since: 5.06.2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 1220
328. Levi32
9. helmikuuta 2011 klo 18:20 (GMT)
Quoting MichaelSTL:


It can be both; however, when there is less sea ice in the first place, as there is in recent years, it delays the formation of the seasonal polar vortex (the normal condition) due to the heat released into the atmosphere, which warms the air and increases heights (the polar vortex, like other low pressure areas, is an area of low heights).

There is good evidence to support this as well; until Hudson Bay completely froze over, there was a large area of temperature anomalies to 20C or more (averaged over a month) centered right where there was open water, compared to average - but it cooled down right as it completely froze over, which to me isn't a coincidence (it happened before the Arctic Oscillation changed as well):





No. Assuming the air directly above is in or near thermal equilibrium with the ocean (which is true most of the time in the high and low latitudes), if there is less ice in the first place, then there was already a greater amount of energy in the air in the first place which was why there was less ice to begin with. There is no "extra" heat being transfered to the air after the event of less sea ice being present. You can't bring up albedo either because we are talking about the polar night during the winter where there is no direct solar radiation energy.

The delay in the maturation of the polar vortex during a low sea-ice winter would be directly due to the already higher level of energy in the atmosphere, which caused the loss of sea ice in the first place.

Note: This doesn't consider atmosphere-independent ocean heating due to ocean currents and meridional overturning circulation oscillations like the AMO which does modulate sea ice. However, as we are clearly talking about AGW here, the concern is with changes in the atmosphere for this particular point. Note that this also means that the most probable cause for the large blocking high in SE Canada this winter was the exceptionally high AMO and Atlantic Tripole values during November and December which transport warm water to the high latitudes of the Atlantic, and are independent of any long-term warming trend.
Member Since: 24.11.2005 Posts: 628 Comments: 26458
326. greentortuloni
9. helmikuuta 2011 klo 18:05 (GMT)
Quoting Surfcropper:


I think its terrible. Some of my favorite things to eat get affected down the eco-line. Remember all the dangerous things in the world before the nineties? Those lead fishing weights? I used to put those things in my mouth, like draw breakers tasting the ocean salt. Maybe that's why I'm the way I am now..
:0


So you're saying what? There should be no regulations on what we can dump in the environment?

The rich (the ones that own and run the companies that complain about regulations) make sure they live far from any pollution. Anti-regulatory ideas are the guff they sell to the gulllible or to the politicians.
Member Since: 5.06.2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 1220
322. Patrap
9. helmikuuta 2011 klo 17:50 (GMT)
Another epic Fail from the Big Wind..

LOL
Member Since: 3.07.2005 Posts: 415 Comments: 125699
317. jeffs713
9. helmikuuta 2011 klo 17:41 (GMT)
Quoting awatland:
I'm confused, does the reduction of Arctic Sea Ice cause the weaker Polar Vortex or does a weaker Polar Vortex cause a reduction of Arctic Sea Ice?? The comments in this blog seem to state both:

"It is possible that Arctic sea ice loss is largely responsible for the unusual Arctic Oscillation pattern we've observed during the past two winters, as well as for the record-strength ridges of high pressure observed over Greenland and Alaska this winter"

and

"Over the past two weeks, the Arctic Oscillation has undergone a major transition, changing from negative to positive. This means that low pressure over the Arctic has intensified, which will act to speed up the counter-clockwise spinning winds (the polar vortex.) This spin-up of the polar vortex will tend to keep cold air bottled up the Arctic, leading to more Arctic sea ice formation and warmer winter conditions over the U.S"

Its a positive feedback. Weaker vortex causes more ice melt. More ice melt means the vortex becomes even weaker, due in part to changed albedo (ocean vs. ice).
Member Since: 3.08.2008 Posts: 16 Comments: 5793
315. Skyepony (Mod)
9. helmikuuta 2011 klo 17:14 (GMT)
Quoting awatland:
I'm confused, does the reduction of Arctic Sea Ice cause the weaker Polar Vortex or does a weaker Polar Vortex cause a reduction of Arctic Sea Ice?? The comments in this blog seem to state both:

"It is possible that Arctic sea ice loss is largely responsible for the unusual Arctic Oscillation pattern we've observed during the past two winters, as well as for the record-strength ridges of high pressure observed over Greenland and Alaska this winter"

and

"Over the past two weeks, the Arctic Oscillation has undergone a major transition, changing from negative to positive. This means that low pressure over the Arctic has intensified, which will act to speed up the counter-clockwise spinning winds (the polar vortex.) This spin-up of the polar vortex will tend to keep cold air bottled up the Arctic, leading to more Arctic sea ice formation and warmer winter conditions over the U.S"


These statements don't really contradict each other. When there is an area that lacks sea ice that should be covered in ice a high tends to build there, blocking the polar vortex. This weakens the polar vortex & tends to spill the cold air south toward the equator while northern latitudes generally have a warmer spell. This year the Hudson Bay failing to freeze on schedule caused the cold to spill over the SE United States (despite La Nina), while the polar vortex was weak & disrupted. Now the NAO has changed since enough of the Arctic has froze that the polar low can strengthen over the northern latitudes~ helping sea ice increase, keeping the arctic cooler & the lower latitudes warmer.
Member Since: 10.08.2005 Posts: 156 Comments: 36157
314. awatland
9. helmikuuta 2011 klo 16:59 (GMT)
Quoting MichaelSTL:


It can be both; however, when there is less sea ice in the first place, as there is in recent years, it delays the formation of the seasonal polar vortex (the normal condition) due to the heat released into the atmosphere, which warms the air and increases heights (the polar vortex, like other low pressure areas, is an area of low heights).

There is good evidence to support this as well; until Hudson Bay completely froze over, there was a large area of temperature anomalies to 20°C or more (averaged over a month) centered right where there was open water, compared to average - but it cooled down right as it completely froze over, which to me isn't a coincidence (it happened before the Arctic Oscillation changed as well):





Thanks for the reply. So what I gather from this is that basically the initial formation of Arctic Sea Ice coincides somewhat with the formation of the Polar Vortex. Once these two "connected" things occur, it creates a situation where the Polar Vortex intensifies the cooling in the region and increases the extent of the Artic Sea pack. So it becomes an issue of timing. If it takes longer for the initial ice to form it takes longer for the Polar Votex to form and there is less time to thicken and extend the Sea Ice in the Arctic region.
Member Since: 31.07.2006 Posts: 15 Comments: 8
312. DEKRE
9. helmikuuta 2011 klo 16:45 (GMT)
Quoting awatland:
I'm confused, does the reduction of Arctic Sea Ice cause the weaker Polar Vortex or does a weaker Polar Vortex cause a reduction of Arctic Sea Ice?? ...


This is called "Feedback"

None of the parameters in the atmosphere are independent, you change one, you change everything else at the same time. A nightmare for modeling
Member Since: 27.04.2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 306
311. awatland
9. helmikuuta 2011 klo 16:35 (GMT)
I'm confused, does the reduction of Arctic Sea Ice cause the weaker Polar Vortex or does a weaker Polar Vortex cause a reduction of Arctic Sea Ice?? The comments in this blog seem to state both:

"It is possible that Arctic sea ice loss is largely responsible for the unusual Arctic Oscillation pattern we've observed during the past two winters, as well as for the record-strength ridges of high pressure observed over Greenland and Alaska this winter"

and

"Over the past two weeks, the Arctic Oscillation has undergone a major transition, changing from negative to positive. This means that low pressure over the Arctic has intensified, which will act to speed up the counter-clockwise spinning winds (the polar vortex.) This spin-up of the polar vortex will tend to keep cold air bottled up the Arctic, leading to more Arctic sea ice formation and warmer winter conditions over the U.S"
Member Since: 31.07.2006 Posts: 15 Comments: 8
309. fireflymom
9. helmikuuta 2011 klo 16:28 (GMT)
45 degrees and light rain just SW of Houston it was 50 degrees last night.
Member Since: 5.06.2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 574

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