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I would also like to note, that the flow of moist air went WEST, not east as we would normally expect. This fronts moving left, instead of right, matches the highly peculiar path and behavior of Hurricane Sandy, and the LP system Sandy combined with. That occurred late last October, and was caused by a blocking HP areas stuck over Baffin Bay and the Labrador Sea. Every year we are seeing confirming extraordinarily rare weather events in the NH that conform with the Francis and Vavrus hypothesis. We are now entering the eighth autumn since the blowout melt year of 2007, and every year evidence of altered jet stream behavior mounts.
Toggle Commented Sep 13, 2013 on Pinpointing the minimum at Arctic Sea Ice
More data to support Jennifer Francis and Steve Vavrus; extreme weather is being causing by changes in jet stream behavior. The Colorado floods were caused by a big blocking HP systems stuck over Canada and the Eastern US. Jeff Masters had this to say (please note that the rainfall amounts are off the charts; each of the last three days saw rainfall that roughly matched the MONTHLY rainfall record for this area): Colorado's epic deluge is finally winding down, as a trough of low pressure moves across the state and pushes out the moist, tropical airmass that has brought record-breaking rainfall amounts and flooding. Devastating flash floods swept though numerous canyons along the Front Range of Colorado's Rocky Mountains Wednesday night and Thursday morning, washing out roads, collapsing houses, and killing at least three people. The flood that swept down Boulder Creek into Boulder, Colorado was a 1-in-100 year event, said the U.S. Geological Survey. A flash flood watch continues through noon Friday in Boulder. According to the National Weather Service, Boulder's total 3-day rainfall as of Thursday night was 12.30". The city's record rainfall for any month, going back to 1897, is 5.50", so this week's rainfall event is truly extraordinary. Some other rainfall totals through Thursday night include 14.60" at Eldorado Springs, 11.88" at Aurora, and 9.08" at Colorado Springs. These are the sort of rains one expects on the coast in a tropical storm, not in the interior of North America! The rains were due to a strong, slow-moving upper level low pressure system to the west of Colorado that got trapped to the south of an unusually strong ridge of high pressure over Western Canada. This is the same sort of odd atmospheric flow pattern that led to the most expensive flood disaster in Canadian history, the $5.3 billion Calgary flood of mid-June this summer. The upper-level low responsible for this week's Colorado flood drove a southeasterly flow of extremely moist tropical air from Mexico that pushed up against the mountains and was lifted over a stationary front draped over the mountains. As the air flowed uphill and over the front, it expanded and cooled, forcing the moisture in it to fall as rain. Balloon soundings from Denver this morning continued to show levels of September moisture among the highest on record for the station, as measured by the total Precipitable Water (PW), which is how much water would fall at the ground if the entire amount of water vapor through the depth of the atmosphere was condensed. Four of the top eight all-time September highs for Precipitable Water since records began in 1948 have been recorded over the past two days: 1.33" 12Z September 12, 2013 1.31" 00Z September 12, 2013 1.24" 12Z September 13, 2013 1.23" 12Z September 10, 1980 1.22" 00Z September 2, 1997 1.21" 00Z September 7, 2002 1.20" 00Z September 13, 2013 Wunderground weather historian Christopher C. Burt discusses how this year's flood compares to previous Colorado floods in his latest post.
Toggle Commented Sep 13, 2013 on Pinpointing the minimum at Arctic Sea Ice
Ouch, I shouldn't post late at night. Disregard the portion of that last comment regarding wind direction. The wind will be originating in the Laptev and blowing into the ice pack, tending to push the polynya toward the NP. Eventually the HP is expected to settle over NP (next weekend), and the clockwise rotation will push the edges of pack toward the Fram, but there won't be much wind over the central portion of the pack. If the HP had set up over the Canadian Arctic Archipelago, then we would have had a much more interesting scenario.
Toggle Commented Aug 27, 2013 on Hole at Arctic Sea Ice
The big polynya between 75E and 120E should grow substantially this week. I thought it would fill in resulting in a big low concentration area in the pack, but now this doesn't seem likely. Today it increased in size, and tomorrow the winds shift. Jim Hunt, if you are reading, post your gif showing the last week ending today. Then get ready to start a new one. HP should extend out toward the pole over at least the next four days, and the wind over the polynya should begin blowing toward the Laptev and the N. Siberian Islands. This wind should push the ice east of the polynya toward Siberia, and the width of the polynya could easily grow 50-100 km over the next four days or so. Then the forecast shows the HP completely blanketing the NP without strong winds for the next 4 days or so (but this far out the forecast is more likely to be wrong than not). In this case, the last week plus the next two weeks will show the most interesting ice pack action this season. When will the normal ice drift resume? If we finally get a move toward the Fram, the big holes will drift right over the pole, and will result in not only low concentration (<50%) ice at the NP, but even open water!
Toggle Commented Aug 27, 2013 on Hole at Arctic Sea Ice
I've noticed the same thing with HYCOM over the last several weeks. I don't understand the mis-match either.
Toggle Commented Aug 9, 2013 on Third storm at Arctic Sea Ice
Gerhard: This year, I haven't been able to match the drift forecast (or hindcast for that matter) at that site with actual weather events. It does show dramatically increasing drift as the storm weakens... go figure!
Toggle Commented Aug 7, 2013 on Third storm at Arctic Sea Ice
Actually these severe storms in the Arctic Basin are new. The one paper that says otherwise, used such a low threshold for defining a cyclone, that almost all significant LP cells where caught in the statistical analysis. According to that paper there are two "cyclones" every summer day in the Arctic. Essentially, what the paper showed, was that the Arctic Basin historically sees a lot of LP systems... no big surprise that! Other researchers looked at severe storms, and the data there shows that most severe Arctic cyclones hit in the winter, and at the edges of the ice pack in the Greenland Sea and the Bering Sea. Severe cyclones over the summer ice pack are rare. There was one before 2007, two in 2007, apparently one in 2008, one in August 2011, and the GAC 2012, before this year's three severe cyclones over the pack (so far). GAC 2012 was the 13th strongest storm in the polar latitudes, and none of the stronger storms hit in the summer. The persistence of these cyclones over the ice pack is also new... There could be a lot of reasons why the meteorology seems to be changing to cause these events (warmer continents, jet stream changes, ice/sea/atmosphere heat transfer changes, overturning sea layers under the storm, etc.. What we don't know, speaks volumes... and shouts warnings.
Toggle Commented Aug 7, 2013 on Third storm at Arctic Sea Ice
This is an interesting storm, much different than last year's GAC 2012, but in some regards, similar. The pressure is 976 versus last year's low pressure around 965, but... there is a HP of 1028 not far away over the Beaufort. From what the meteorologists say, this pressure difference should drive some very severe winds. This storm is much tighter, with the wind fields not extending as far as last year's storm which essentially covered the entire width of the Arctic Basin from the New Siberian islands to the Canadian Arctic Archipelago. Last year's storm pulled in significant air masses from both Siberia and Canada. Similarity? The timing is only a few days later than last year, and the storm formed in the vicinity of the New Siberian islands. (BTW - there was a large storm around August 9th in 2007 that formed and was centered in about the same location. There were two large storms in 2007, with the first hitting around the third week of June and centered in the Beaufort.) This storm also is forecast to migrate to the sweet spot, centered along the 180 longitude, with the wind field extending to the NP, just as the GAC 2012 did. And the storm is forecast to be fairly intense until Saturday, for about five days of heavy storm, similar to the six days or so the GAC 2012 pounded the Arctic. Right now the center of this storm is right over the E. Siberian fractured ice pack, and this ice pack is surely being decimated, with some severe overturning of the surface seawater layers. We should see a loss of at least 100k SIE in this region (perhaps including some loss in the nearby Chukchi and Laptev regions) within 48 hours, and I expect the storm will reduce SIE by about 300k in these regions by Saturday. The Beaufort will also likely lose 100k-200k this week. Even with spreading and ice divergence around the NP, as the storm moves that direction, the seven days starting today, should see a total SIE decline of about 600k-700k sq km (short of the million sq km SIE decline caused by GAC 2012). Storms earlier in the insolation top melt season cause divergence, but also reduce heat absorption, and reduce surface melt. Storms in August hit the weakened pack, overturn water, and draw huge amounts of thermal energy in the form of water vapor from lower latitudes into the Arctic. That's why this storm will do much more damage than the earlier storms this year. This is my opinion, after watching and examining the storm events since 2010, and reviewing the storm/ice pack history in 2007. I covered some of this in comments on this blog in August 2011 and August 2012.
Toggle Commented Aug 7, 2013 on Third storm at Arctic Sea Ice
To be clear, I think the CAB ice pack can be shredded and dispersed near the NP this year, by this storm, because the pack is already splintered right up to the NP (as shown in the Arctic Mosaic tiles r04c04 with the NP at the lower left corner, and r03c04 with the NP at the upper left corner). If the storm center moves northward from the 150E-180E direction and ends up over the NP, the storm will first push the ice floes in the pack toward the Fram or Svalbard, then push ice out away from the NP in all directions when the LP center sits over the NP. This could result in open seas near the NP. At the same time, even though this storm moves the ice around, the storm is much weaker and windfield smaller than the GAC of 2012. I don't think it will knock out SIE like the million sq km one week loss in 2012. The flash melt will be much smaller, and so I still expect the September SIE will be in the 4.8 million range. The interesting stories this year, are the repetitive and persistent storms in the Arctic, and the fractured (and perhaps dispersed) ice pack right up to the NP.
k eotw: The maps you linked to shows how ice concentrations climb a bit during the last week of July and the first week of August, as the melt ponds either drain or refreeze. This happens every year, and shows up as a leveling/increase of SIA, and even a slight leveling periods in the SIE graphs around the 1st of August. Also the images you linked show the edges of the pack didn't recede much in the last several weeks, probably due to cooler seawater around the edges (less insolation during the spring/summer this year compared to previous years), and not as much ice pack movement shifting ice over the lower latitude waters. The condition of the ice pack at the lower latitudes did degrade to some degree this year, as the ice spread out some, but this just helped keep the edge of the pack fairly stationary.
The storm starts today, and the forecast has changed somewhat, and it doesn't look good for the ice. Although the size and breadth is nowhere near the GAC of 2012, the forecast shows the storm lasting for 5-6 days, weakening, then continuing right to the end of the forecast period (very unreliable more than five days out). This storm is going to tell the tale of the 2013 melt period in terms of SIE, SIA, and sea ice volume. I think it will tear the CAB ice pack apart to a degree we have never observed before. If the storm moves gradually up to and centers over the NP, we will get a substantial amount of open sea (with less than 15% concentration) at the North Pole for the first time in observed history. We may see some of the forecasters who predicted open water at the NP this decade, vindicated this year.
I expect a SIE of around 4.9 as well. Last year's melt would've come in close to 2007 without the GAC of 2012, or about 4.3. But last year there was very large amounts of solar absorbed in the open areas of the Beaufort, Chukchi, E. Siberian, and Laptev, that set the table for the cyclone. The ice pack this year in those regions isn't going to come anywhere near last year's melt. The only wild card would be another GAC, and the forecast doesn't show anything close to last year's storm. For a storm to have maximum impact, it has to hit in the right spot (centered around 80N, somewhere between 105W to 165E longitude), and hit in early August. We don't see anything like that on the horizon. So the best forecast would extrapolate current SIE to end of season based on normal year's melt. This would give a forecast SIE of around 5.0, but allowing for some thin ice in some regions, I get 4.9. We get a one year reprieve in bad news.
The weather this year hasn't really been good for ice melt, and so I don't think we should be expecting to surpass 2007 (unless we get another major storm in early August - read on below). We are now entering bottom melt season, where the ice melt primarily uses heat from the seawater, and insolation impact diminishes rapidly. This year, the amount of open water around the pack has been much less than in prior years, and the Beaufort, Chukchi, East Siberian, and Laptev have clearly not gained as much heat from insolation as in prior years. These regions have had a lot more ice to reflect solar radiation. The side of the pack toward Svalbard is in terrible shape, but the extra 400k-500k sq km on the other side will help protect the Central Arctic Basin pack. The last storm did some damage, but was too far south, hit a more consolidated pack (that helped prevent major wave action and resulting ice loss), and was much weaker and not in the best position to rip the pack apart like the GAC of 2012. So will we see another major storm in early August? The long term forecast shows another storm forming in about a week, but the forecast is highly unreliable that far out. By mid-week, the forecast will be clearer and more dependable. The position of the next storm appears to be almost identical to the position of GAC12, with the wind field extending almost to the NP. If the long range forecast pans out, and the storm is positioned like GAC12, then the Beaufort and Chukchi will be ripped apart, and the warm air and moisture sucked into the low (from the very hot regions in Siberia this year), will carry a lot of heat in the East Siberian region. If this storm pans out, I find it interesting that the storm would hit within a day or two of the anniversary of GAC of 2012, and in almost the same "sweet spot" in the Arctic (that is almost ideally located to cause ice extent loss). But I still think would do much less damage than GAC of 2012, since there should be less heat available, and the GAC of 2012 was much more powerful than this year's storms. The next ten days will tell the tale of the ice melt in 2013.
Toggle Commented Jul 27, 2013 on Second storm at Arctic Sea Ice
There was a lot more lying going on than that. Brad, could I send you an energy policy economic analysis? You would find it interesting. Please send me an email address to contact.
1 reply
Peter Ellis: This is exactly what I didn't want to happen. I didn't want the problem to become this public, which is why I used this old thread to discuss it. I especially don't want any discussion with Steve Goddard, who believes that water exists at its triple point in the Arctic (he can't read a phase diagram), doesn't understand either Henry's law, Raoult's law, or Dalton's law; and doesn't know how to estimate the thermal energy released by air and water vapor as they cool… and doesn't want to seem to want to learn. He brings to mind Mark Twain's famous quote: "Never argue with an idiot, because the onlookers may not be able to tell the difference." I have spent an inordinate time studying this problem, and have talked to Dr. Meier's people, and there is nothing I want to say publicly. I am going dark on this issue.
Clarification to last comment upon re-reading it: I am agreeing with your earlier observation Ned, that we won't be able to reverse-engineer the problems in MASIE.
Wow, Ned, you really went off there. Do you really think a correlation of 0.5 is that good? What was the correlation for Day 0 of the most recent run? Was it even 0.5? Anyway, I had spent the last few hours going over the NSIDC daily data, which I didn't get until just this last week, and did compare MASIE and NSIDC daily numbers, with a preliminary first pass look, then I wrote a response offline, and I came here to post it, and there is your comment… I am going to post it the way it read, not changing a word: OK, Ned, I am throwing in the towel. But not in the direction you think, and not for the reason you want. I looked at the NSIDC numbers for July, August, and September last year, and the July and August numbers this year. I was going to check the correlation you calculated, but before I did that I simply wanted to see the daily "error", using NSIDC as the benchmark and the MASIE as the variable. I got a shock. These numbers are preliminary, and I need to look day by day to check for gaps, but the results so far are pretty compelling. Its too bad we didn't have daily NSIDC SIE data earlier in the season. Last year the daily errors came in as I would expect: July 2011 NSIDC was higher by an average of 220k with the root mean square error (RMSE) = 224k, since there were two days with negative errors. July 2011 RMSE= 224k August 2011 RMSE= 247k September 2011 RMSE= 200k (NSIDC and MASIE paths crossed) I was able to reduce the errors, and match observable events (storms, date of minimum, unusual pack movements) by introducing a 5-day lag for the MASIE reported data. 5d lag July 2011 RMSE= 214k versus 224k 5d lag August 2011 RMSE= 121k versus 247k 5d lag September 2011 RMSE= 101k versus 200k I expected July 2012 to more or less match July 2011 since the other SIE measures tracked very close to July 2011 over the month. And if there were bigger errors they would be due to the longer lag. But alas, no. MASIE showed a much bigger RMSE in July of this year, than last year, with RMSE in July hitting 363k and then in August skyrocketing to 715k so far. Even before the storm, the RMSE hit 436k on the one first few days in August. These differences are much higher than last year. Since MASIE has only been around since 2010, we simply don't have the track record for this report, to compare and spot discrepancies. Introducing a lag won't be able to fix this large an error. Here are the numbers, and note that using a 12d lag to correct August 2012 worked well, but threw off July: 12d lag July 2012 RMSE= 540k versus 362k 12d lag August 2012 RMSE= 112k versus 715k so far… I still see a 12d lag in response to timed events like the GAC-2012, but clearly MASIE has bigger problems than a simple reporting lag. And we won't be able to reverse-engineer these problems like you said. MASIE should still see a delayed minimum, but I can't begin to guess how that minimum will compare with Bremen or NSIDC, let alone IJIS. I'm finished until after the minimum hits.
Ned, the link to the NSIDC single day data is on Neven's Daily Graphs page.
Dr Tskoul: If Bremen and NSIDC hit minimums after September 18, MASIE may not show the SIE minimum until October, so it won't show the refreeze in late September. You are correct that this hypothesis will stand or fall by the end of September, unless NSIDC pulls the MASIE reports before then.
Ned, you are correlating single day data reports from MASIE against an average data set from IJIS… further, the time frame you selected is too large to test the hypothesis I am proposing. Sometimes the MASIE report is higher than IJIS and sometimes lower. Furthermore, the two SIE measurement systems use significantly different grid sizes. Finally, I don't find your correlations very strong. Try plotting NSIDC single day data for the last several months, and compare to the MASIE single day data; both should show very close SIE readings for the same date, but don't. If you shift the MASIE data 10-12 days you will find a much closer match with NSIDC numbers. I suggested this earlier, but you just repeated the same exercise you did last year. I will take physical system observations coupled with actual heat and mass transfer calculations, particularly if available in a specific area or region… anytime… over an inconclusive statistical correlation on different average period data from different measurement systems over a timeframe where differences can be averaged out and obscured. In process control, we use a step change to measure the system response, and the GAC-2012 gave us that step change. The MASIE data shows a serious transportation lag (the term process control engineers use for a delayed response to a step change, caused by the measurement and reporting system), to the GAC of 2012.
Now lets talk about the storm signature on the SIE data. The SIE reported by DMI showed a sizable uptick after the storm abated; the Bremen report shows at least one "level day" which we can't quantify without the actual numerical report; NSIDC daily data, shows a slight uptick on August 10th after the 240k decline the day before, and before the decline continued with another century break the next day. So yes, the broader measures (that don't give us the regional impact of the storm on the three regions hit worst), show leveling or upticks after the storm abated; this is just as we would expect from the melt/measurement processes, and consistent with prior melt events caused by storms. MASIE also usually shows a big uptick after storm drops, like the upticks after the August storm last year, but also upticks after a big drop in early September. So the storm signature big drop - uptick - continued stronger than normal decline until the damage pack becomes more stable… this signature is present in all the SIE data for the storm, and in the MASIE total Arctic reports, and in all three regions most impacted by the storm, in the MASIE regional reports. Even the Canadian Archipelago data is consistent with the storm impact there. This adds more observations that clearly support the hypothesis that the recent MASIE reported data were actually observed and collected during the storm dates.
Peter Ellis: You are starting to twist and nitpick the data… not a good sign. You focused on the Canadian Archipelago in the MASIE data, and ignored the other regions. Lets look at the whole picture, shall we? The biggest gain was not in the CA, it was in: E. Siberian +98k Which with the other regions most affected by the storm, Beaufort +36k, Chukchi +36k, amounted to +170k of the +279k. The other big regional gains came in the Greenland +50k and your selected favorite datapoint of the day, the Canadian Archipelago +43k. Lets take a good look at the archipelago reports. Two days before the CA had 307131.25 k, and the next day… whoa, what's this? Exactly the same number, 307131.25. And now the latest report, shows a gain of +43k. Looking at the records, there were four days with 306k to 307k, then the jump by 43k. Lets go back and look at the Bremen maps and examine the CA during the storm days of August 5-August 10. What do we see? Prior to the storm only the mouth of the McClure strait is blocked, and this continues until some ice moves from the Beaufort into the strait on August 7, with continued big moves into the strait on August 8th and 9th. By August 10, some portions of ice pack extended almost 200km into the Archipelago. And elsewhere in the CA, some ice reappeared on the Bremen map, as the massive storm cold front blanketed the region with snow. Clearly the uptick in the CA data reported yesterday is consistent the storm days impact on the CA. I don't have the time to chase down every red herring you throw at me. If you were interested in the CA MASIE report for this region, why didn't you check it out? I just can't investigate every little dimple in the data. I am focusing on the enormous heat transport during the GAC-2012, and the high heat transfer rates necessary to wipe out approximately 400k sq km of mostly 70%+ concentration meter plus thick ice, and another 100k of 30% + concentration ice, primarily in three regions, and in just a few days. These events don't happen very often… in fact, never before in August during the satellite era. And the MASIE data for these regions for the days this incredible event hit the Arctic, shows no sign of it! How is that possible? You have been trying for days now, to come up with a plausible explanation, and you've failed. You need re-evaluate your position.
And today the detachment almost showed up in the MASIE map, showing an event that occurred on Sunday. Tomorrow the detachment should be complete. MASIE is about 1.0M behind the SIE extent, and will need to turn on the afterburners to catch the other.
Seke Rob: Yes, the "classic signature" response of sea ice extent to a large storm. The initial big drop, as ice is dispersed and pushed around, increasing the heat transport into the ice floe/block area, and the increased heat transfer to the ice by water disturbing the normal stagnant colder water directly next to the ice, and disturbing the protective stagnant film layer of water (laminar layer) that slows the heat transfer. And of course the floes break up, and are submerged, increasing the surface area for heat transfer. As pointed out in some of my comments from last August linked to earlier in this thread, the amount of heat transfer to melt out 100k sq km in one or two regions is enormous. When an event like that occurs, there MUST be a causal factor that increased the heat transfer by a factor of 10x, and probably 30-50x, normal heat transfer rate. So for a one day storm, the SIE falls like a rock on day 1, and maybe into day 2, but after the storm abates, many of the dispersed and flooded floes re-emerge and collect together, or re-flash as Neven puts it, to show up in the count again. Typically the rebound is 20-50% of the melt. In this case the rebound in the MASIE of 279k today, after dropping 731k during the storm shows a rebound of about 38%. This is the kind of SIE response one would expect from a major storm lasting several days. But wait! Where was the storm? We didn't see a major storm in the regions showing the drop and rebound in SIE. So What caused the massive increase in heat transfer to melt out a net of 452k so quickly? Peter and Ned are completely ignoring this, and offer only that the measurements are noisy and vary that much. I don't buy it. The amount of heat to cause this kind of SIE loss requires a spectacular weather event. And the evidence should be even clearer in the regional graphs? Lets check… Beaufort region. Chukchi and the E. Siberian all show the classic storm signature response. As I have pointed out over and over, the regional SIE data response show this was the GAC-2012 storm effect showing up in the data, with a lag of 12 days! It is impossible to transfer enough heat to get this kind of SIE loss, without weather systems playing a key role.
skywatcher: I answered your question (before either of your two recent requests to answer the question). I even quoted your question right at the beginning of the comment. If you are having trouble seeing this comment, I can re-enter it. Let me know, I aim to please.