Scroll To Top

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Weather weirdness in the Arctic - record high temperatures and record low sea ice

Sou | 8:55 AM Go to the first of 26 comments. Add a comment

The extraordinary situation in the Arctic has to be mentioned before too many more days have passed. I've no time to write a detailed article at the moment, so what I'll do instead is post some information that's been around the traps lately. First some tweets from Zach Labe (@ZLabe), who has been keeping us all informed on Twitter.


Then there's this - 2016 didn't register as the lowest ice extent on record when ice is the lowest, but it has been the lowest ice extent for much of the year:
Mark Brandon (@icey_mark) has a couple of articles about this unusual situation. One of them goes into some detail, with lots of images. The other is a gif of the growing season in the Arctic this year from 1 September 2016 to 16 November 2016.



There's not been anything on this at the "post-truth" climate conspiracy blog WUWT. In fact there's been nothing on the Arctic since Anthony wrote, somewhat prematurely and in typical denier fashion, with the headline: "Inconvenient: Record Arctic Sea Ice Growth In September".  I mean really and truly - was he not aware of how silly that is? Shades of DenialDepot. When arctic sea ice reaches near record lows, and any time after a minimum extent, sea ice is bound to grow again as winter approaches. The lower the extent the faster it is expected to grow. Except it hasn't. Not this year.

Remember the map of surface temperatures from a few days ago - it seems that the heat up north has continued in November:

Figure 1 | Map showing mean surface temperature, anomalies for October, from the 1951-1980 mean. Source: GISS NASA


I'm out of time and have to go. There have been articles in the mainstream media - I'll add links to them below when I get a chance in the next few hours. If you have more information please add it to the comments. There'll be a lot more written about this no doubt.


Update - from Tony Banton


Tony Banton (a UK meteorologist) has explained what has led to the unusual warming in the Arctic (from his comment below). I've added some links in square brackets, and added para breaks.

Tony Banton November 23, 2016 at 3:19 AM

There appear to be a few reasons to the warm arctic currently.

Firstly the Stratospheric PV did not develop as usual this year [see here]. It is weak and currently headed for Siberia instead of strong and sat over the pole.

This has allowed a -AO (High pressure) to dominate the Arctic [see here and here] - which means diverging air and along with the greater open waters evaporating more cloud, has stopped temperatures from falling away.

Of course at the start of the freeze, waters were well above normal and a period of +NAO [see here] may well have kept them from falling that quickly in the Barents, Kara and Laptev Seas. The weak Strat PV is thought to be tied up with low Solar at the mo (means less warming via UV destruction of low latitude stratospheric O3 and so a weaker DeltaT there) and the extra moisture available from the E-Siberian Seas aided the early/faster/greater than usual westward advance of Eurasian snow-cover, leading to a large pole of cold to form and build a strong Siberian High. This in itself favours a winter predominance of -AO. Also a La Nina favours early winter -AO.

Long range forecasts indicate it's persistence to at least the end of the year.


References and further reading


Record Low Arctic Sea Ice Extent - blog article by polar oceanographer, Mark Brandon, 17 November 2016

Global sea ice has reached a record low – should we be worried? - article by Michael Le Page at New Scientist, 21 November 2016

The big melt: Sea ice hits record lows at North and South Poles - article by  Joseph Dussault at The Christian Science Monitor

‘Things are getting weird in the polar regions’ - article by Chris Mooney at Washington Post, 21 November 2016

Troubling Signs in Antarctic and Arctic Sea Levels - article by Curt Mills on US News

What the Heck Is Going on at the North Pole? - article by Phil Plait at Slate, 21 November 2016

Global sea ice shrinking at unprecedented speeds, warns scientist - article by Lucy Pasha-Robinson at The Independent, 20 November 2016

How Much Arctic Sea Ice Are You Melting? Scientists Have an Answer - article by Amina Khan at Sci-Tech Today, 4 November 2016




26 comments :

  1. The MSM articles are a bit light on the science though Sou. Here's some from NASA:

    NASA Researches Storm Frank in the Arctic

    Storm Frank was last Xmas, but the MSM also neglect to mention the recent "Fram Strait Cyclone" that seems to have had a similar effect.

    In other (not wholly unrelated?) news South West England is flooded again after Storm Angus was immediately followed by yet another moisture laden low pressure system:

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-devon-38049907

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Jim. I missed your article - sorry. The link you gave doesn't work. I expect this is what you meant:

      http://greatwhitecon.info/2016/11/nasa-researches-storm-frank-in-the-arctic/

      Delete
    2. Thanks Sou. Cut 'n paste fail. At least the 2nd link was correct!

      Warming to my theme, it's disappointing (IMHO) that even the likes of New Scientist don't delve a bit deeper into the science behind "the extraordinary situation in the Arctic", such as the "heat and moisture fluxes" mentioned at JCH's link.

      Delete
    3. Agreed.

      Sent in for publication in May 2016...

      Arctic sea ice has been substantially retreating since the 1980s, particularly in September, under simulated global warming conditions. The simulated sea ice reduction is consistent with satellite observations. On the other hand, Arctic cloud cover has been increasing in October, with about a 1-month lag behind the sea ice reduction. The delayed response leads to extensive sea ice reductions because the heat and moisture fluxes from the underlying open ocean into the atmosphere are enhanced...

      They are either onto something or extremely lucky.

      Delete
    4. It might also explain what looks like a spike in snowfall on Greenland.

      But a spike is a spike - I prefer to wait at least a week to see what happens.

      Delete
  2. Published three days ago:

    Effect of retreating sea ice on Arctic cloud cover in simulated recent global warming

    ...These results suggest that an increase in Arctic cloud cover as a result of reduced sea ice coverage may bring further sea ice retreat and enhance the feedback processes of Arctic warming. ...

    ReplyDelete
  3. Brere Eli has been commenting on a related story. As I noted there some folk may be inclined to ascribe this to weather, but the nature of these excursions from the norm are such that these events may come to be seen as the first perceptible signs of a tipping point.

    If that's actually what we're observing, it would be a Bad Thing Indeed.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Addendum.

      Me, I'm pretty certain that this an early indication of a fundamental shift*. And not the first - the enormous loss of coral on the Great Barrier Reef this year is a separate measure and an important one. And there are others...

      These are signs, and they're saying to the passengers in the handbasket: "Hell, this way" and "Click, clack, front and back". Sadly, they are likely also saying "One way"...

      Delete
    2. Ah, the asterisk. I was going to comment at some length on how things may spring back up for a year or several, but that the regime shift will be apparent with the passage of time. But you get the drift.

      If any numpties want to argue it further I'll engage, but really, the fundamental point should be apparent. I guess I'm just too cynical (and resigned?) to bother with an a priori detailing.

      Delete
    3. This tipping point has probably been passed a decade or so ago. At present temperatures Arctic sea cannot exist other than seasonal, if at all. We have been looking at the transition to this situation for years already: the old ice still has to melt away and it does, with acceleration.

      After this it gets more interesting. The refreeze in winter may falter already after the first zilch ice summer. I've already had to trash 30 years of meteorological experience wrt circulation patterns, trashing process started 2006 and finalized during Russian inferno 2010 and since things are become crazier by the week. But when Arctic Amplification really comes in, undermodelled as it is by a factor two or perhaps even three, I'll be in Wonderland.

      Delete
  4. No need to be alarmed. Every climate scientist in the world has been telling us for years that stuff like what happened in The Day After Tomorrow isn't remotely possible ;-)

    Oh, wait: "And then <strike>they</strike>Nature came for everybody." (sorry, best I could do as HTML 'strike' tag still not enabled here).

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Something like this. The word 'surprised' or 'surprising' in documents like this should be changed into 'told y'all so'.
      A system crash in a way is always surprising, because unpredictable. Like pinpointing the moment an icicle will fall during the thaw. The cause of the huge event, collapse, tends te be tiny.

      Delete
    2. The link - https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/nov/22/extraordinarily-hot-arctic-temperatures-alarm-scientists

      Delete
    3. Professor Wadhams...

      http://www.independent.co.uk/environment/climate-change-north-pole-above-freeze-global-warming-a7424446.html

      Delete
  5. There appear to be a few reasons to the warm arctic currently.
    Firstly the Stratospheric PV did not develop as usual this year. It is weak and currently headed for Siberia instead of strong and sat over the pole. This has allowed a -AO (High pressure) to dominate the Arctic - which means diverging air and along with the greater open waters evaporating more cloud, has stopped temperatures from falling away. Of course at the start of the freeze, waters were well above normal and a period of +NAO may well have kept them from falling that quickly in the Barents, Kara and Laptev Seas. The weak Strat PV is thought to be tied up with low Solar at the mo (means less warming via UV destruction of low latitude stratospheric O3 and so a weaker DeltaT there) and the extra moisture available from the E-Siberian Seas aided the early/faster/greater than usual westward advance of Eurasian snow-cover, leading to a large pole of cold to form and build a strong Siberian High. This in itself favours a winter predominance of -AO. ALso a La Nina favours early winter -AO.
    Long range forecasts indicate it's persistence to at least the end of the year.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's terrific - thank you Tony.

      I've added your comment to the main article. Hope you don't mind. I've also added a couple of links to stratospheric PV, and Arctic Oscillation and North Atlantic Oscillation. Let me know if they aren't the right/relevant links.

      Delete
  6. My pleasure Sou:

    If anyone wants to follow the progress of NH winter climate drivers - this is where to go....
    Judah Cohen issues a weekly blog update:

    https://www.aer.com/science-research/climate-weather/arctic-oscillation

    ReplyDelete
  7. There's been a large uptick in extent the past three days; about 400k km^2. Current Data looks a little different though still a huge anomaly

    Thru Nov 22 it looks like this: http://forum.arctic-sea-ice.net/index.php?action=dlattach;topic=230.0;attach=38586;image

    The accumulated Freezing Degree Days are still falling further behind despite the cooler weather now moving over the arctic. FDDs largely determine the winter ice thickness growth. So while extent and area may return to somewhere near recent normals, the ice this spring should be significantly thinner; perhaps as much as 0.3m thinner.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Large changes like that in sea ice are probably signalling the stadium wave is starting to do its wave, and global cooling is right around the next corner.

      Delete
    2. Anyone have a towel so we can wipe up the sarcasm dripping all over the floor? Or should JCH just have to clean up his own mess?

      :)

      Delete
    3. I wont risk mentioning Farce X then.

      Delete
    4. I've just seen this:

      http://greatwhitecon.info/2016/11/nasa-researches-storm-frank-in-the-arctic/

      And Re: The paper itself is paywalled, but according to an associated article on the NASA web site:

      [Tony - I've removed part of your comment - there are usually other ways to get papers - Sou.]

      Delete
    5. Sorry:
      Didn't know it was frowned on.

      Delete
  8. Weather weirdness is also Hurricane Otto which underwent rapid intensification just then, formed eye in mere hours time and is going to category 3 if not already there. Before slamming into coasts that have never suffered a hurricane before.
    This is also the latest Carib hurricane in the record (back to 1851); previous record (22 Nov) was just a category 1.
    Seasonality on hurricanes is over. Alex in January. Otto in November. Matthew in between.

    Otto will be a killer. I accuse climate revisionists of every fatality, I do this generally and in person.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Global Weirding. I guess the cold air that should have been trapped in the Arctic had to go somewhere.

    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/nov/24/tokyo-sees-first-november-snow-in-more-than-50-years

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Miraculous... little burps of life saving glacier air.

      Delete

Instead of commenting as "Anonymous", please comment using "Name/URL" and your name, initials or pseudonym or whatever. You can leave the "URL" box blank. This isn't mandatory. You can also sign in using your Google ID, Wordpress ID etc as indicated. NOTE: Some Wordpress users are having trouble signing in. If that's you, try signing in using Name/URL or OpenID. Details here.

Click here to read the HotWhopper comment policy.