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Ridgefield, Washington
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Thank you Jai, although those are somewhat kinder words than I have for them!
Toggle Commented Mar 23, 2014 on PIOMAS March 2014 at Arctic Sea Ice
Since this thread has migrated over to Greenland ice loss I thought I would add to the pessimism. Assume for a moment we have a lake on the surface of the ice at 0C and 1000 meters above sea level. A crack opens under the lake and the water drains away. The question is how much heat does this falling water transfer to subsurface ice as it falls to sea level. If the water lost no heat to surrounding ice then the temperature increase of the water would be about 2.4C. In other words potential energy is converted into kinetic energy then into heat. I am assuming the temperature of the water when it has fallen 1000meters is still 0C so all of the heat has been transferred to the surrounding ice potentially causing even more melt if the ice is at 0C. The conversion of Mechanical Energy to Heat: This extra heat inside the ice has great potential to cut channels, and weaken underlying ice. I have seen discussion here about the channels and water stored under the ice. The canyons on the surface are also cut into the ice in a similar fashion as the water looses elevation as it runs along the bottom of the canyons.
Toggle Commented Mar 18, 2014 on PIOMAS March 2014 at Arctic Sea Ice
Thanks, that makes sense. All that latent heat stored in the IPWP and elsewhere is causing the hair on the back of my neck to stand up. I hate to think about what a substantial release of that heat over a relatively short period of time could do.
Hans, one of things I have noticed about El Ninos coming on is that weather conditions more like what are expected during an El Nino can begin, at least sporadically, months before an El Nino gets underway. Possibly these pre-El Nino changes are partially responsible for the changes in air circulation patterns that have driven so much heat into the Arctic this winter as well. Analysis of this has been published here to a degree but I do not remember anyone having conclusive evidence. I would like to hear more about this if anyone has more information.
The lively discussions and interchange of ideas on this particular thread have been particularly informative so I want to thank all of the people who posted comments. Hans, hopefully you got enough rain in your area to make a dent in the drought as did I. Unfortunately most of the snow here was limited to above 1300 meters elevation and increased to about half of normal. Below that elevation was mostly rain but it was substantial so the ground is now saturated and rivers are running at normal flows in this area.
Hans, I am seeing rain in radar from your area; that must really be some relief. Up here I am above freezing for the first time in 5 days(37F). What is troublesome is the Climate Prediction Center shows hot and dry for southern California and the Desert Southwest for the next two weeks and colder weather returning to my area. If this holds true and that is a big if because of the high unreliability of the GFS this winter for my area then your area may get more rain. The NAEFS does not agree with this very well either so I am not very confident about either of these forecasts at this time.
LRC you are correct. In the 1960s and 70s the Arctic was robust. There was lots of cold air that spilled out and more where that came from during winter. It didn't matter if there was a blocking ridge or not...Arctic fronts muscled their way in and shoved whatever air was in a place they were headed out of the way. The Arctic was more in charge. Not really so anymore; the colder air is shoved around by the blocking ridges now...what little there is of it. The heat in the oceans now seems to be in charge. Hans, I hope you are getting some good rains your way. I have a foot of snow on the ground here and it looks like rain has been heading into your area.
Hans, yesss!! a couple days of good rains up here and cold enough to snow in the mountains maybe a foot or two vs the 10 feet one would expect this time of year. The forecast is dry once again for this week and cold too. Maybe rain next week(Where have I heard that before?). I just read the snowpack in the Sierra Nevada Mts. in California is at 12% for this time of year. It needs to be greater than that or Ma Nature will be sending in Guido to do more than just break a few knee caps later this spring and summer.
Hans, that article about the coho salmon is utterly depressing. That looks really bad...hopefully you will get some good rains in the next month. Portland, OR uses stream water but not from the Columbia. I am on well water. There is some irrigation water pumped from the Lewis River but I do not know if any towns use river water. I believe most of Clark County water comes from wells.
Toggle Commented Jan 27, 2014 on Looking for winter weirdness 2014 at Arctic Sea Ice
"I'm figuring there will be some precip. during those days." I agree it is looking a little more hopeful. It also appears the "persistent high" will be retrograding or rebuilding in farther to the west after some of the rain this week if the forecast for this area next week does indeed hold up . Forecast for my area: NOAA also thinks it will be cooler for the next couple weeks which has been a persistent trend for the past several days...but please note that forecasts for this area after five days out have been highly unreliable this winter.
Toggle Commented Jan 26, 2014 on Looking for winter weirdness 2014 at Arctic Sea Ice
John, I do not remember many blocking highs along the west coast of North America in the 1960s to 1990. Yes there were some but they did not usually last all that long. There were more in February and fewer in November and December. I think more importantly I do not remember them building in before frigid weather moved into the eastern half of the country. Instead weaker ridges built in as a result of the cold air moving south then were gone in a few days. This year the high pressure has been here nearly all winter and has stopped the westerlies from interfering with the cold. My point is that then the Arctic cold air driving south was the driver of the ridges building. Now the driver of the ridges building is something else...likely the heat buildup in the eastern Pacific.
Toggle Commented Jan 25, 2014 on Looking for winter weirdness 2014 at Arctic Sea Ice
Hans, the weather models used by the US National Weather Service have been highly unreliable after about 5 days out. I think they usually use the GFS....but don't quote me on that. It does look like some very light rain coming in and possibly a little snow if the high pressure retrogrades west far enough. Mountain temperatures have continued to be very warm and snow depths are minimal as most of the mountain snow from 2 weeks ago has melted. I am not going to get too excited until I see it.
Toggle Commented Jan 24, 2014 on Looking for winter weirdness 2014 at Arctic Sea Ice
Hans, I am about 275 ft. elevation above the nearest rivers with a major flood threat on top of a little knoll 20 feet elevation above the nearest small creek so no worries there. I have lived here since the 1950s and have never seen winter weather like this so persistent. There have been a couple of very dry Januaries but the previous months had been in the normal range(+ or - 50%)for rainfall. Either Ma Nature is sending some serious shots across the bow or she has decided that it is time to start paying up...not sure about that yet but I think we will not have to wait too many more years before she says, " Okay, I'm sending Guido in, time to pay up." The weather and climate indicators I am reading about certainly sound like we are in transition to a serious El Nino. The weather conditions in my area for the past year are very different from any transition to an El Nino that I have seen previously though. I am also wondering if it will be a big melt season for the Arctic especially with the low ice levels currently in the Bering Sea and other peripheral areas.
Toggle Commented Jan 18, 2014 on Looking for winter weirdness 2014 at Arctic Sea Ice
Hans, thanks for the link. I had about 3 days worth of good rains up here a week ago...that is all. It is back to sunny and warm again now that the fog has cleared and it does not look like there is very much more snow in the mountains than there was 2 weeks ago. In fact much of the new snow is likely melting with temperatures at 1500 to 2000 meters elevation hovering around +5 to +12 degrees C yet once again. There were stories on that link of peoples' experiences when droughts end. Hopefully you are high enough above any streams in your area that you will not be flooded out and you have a defendable space around your house from forest fires.
Toggle Commented Jan 18, 2014 on Looking for winter weirdness 2014 at Arctic Sea Ice
"--a few parts per billion" --wili I think that with extremely toxic materials like mercury it is important to state actual numbers of molecules rather than parts per billion. It is easily calculated how many molecules of water there are in a set volume of water. A mole of distilled water contains 6.022 X 10^23 molecules of water and has a mass of just over 18 grams. 18 grams of distilled water at 4 degrees C occupies a volume of 18 milliliters. 1 part per billion =1/1,000,000,000 = 1/10^9 Therefore (6.022 X 10^23)/10^9 = 6.022 X 10^14 or about 602,200,000,000,000. So at 1 part per billion mercury, every 18 milliliters of water contains just over 600 trillion molecules of mercury. This sounds a lot different than 1 part per billion and I believe it represents a much clearer view of how much mercury is actually contained in the water,
Toggle Commented Jan 18, 2014 on Bromine, chlorine and mercury at Arctic Sea Ice
Questions: There have been a number of posts about all the extra snow in the Arctic this is the extra snow counted as extra ice thickness or is the snow not counted as extra ice thickness? Or, is there a way the snow is factored in based on % water content?
Toggle Commented Jan 12, 2014 on PIOMAS January 2014 at Arctic Sea Ice
A question I have is, "Will an el nino have the same effect as in the past, i.e. deluges in California, or will the persistent blocking ridge prevail?" With new weather regimes seemingly the rule more than the exception I am not really sure which way things will go anymore. Also, according to Cryosphere Today the NH sea ice anomaly is back below 1,000,000 km^2 at -1.027m km^2.
Toggle Commented Jan 12, 2014 on Looking for winter weirdness 2014 at Arctic Sea Ice
Hans, the rains have returned up this way at least for a few days. Like you say the forecast calls for dry weather again as the ridge builds back in. I had about 40" of rain in 2013 which is drier than normal...about 8" below normal. Had it not been for 1 day in August with over 4" of rain and another day in September with another 4" of rain from those cutoff lows/quasi land subtropical depressions moving in from the southeast it would have been an exceptionally dry year. At this rate winter will be over and there will only be a little bit of snow up in the mountains.
Toggle Commented Jan 12, 2014 on Looking for winter weirdness 2014 at Arctic Sea Ice
Rob Dekker, I am not sure why Cliff Mass was so dismissive about your comment as I have not read either paper myself and have relied on analysis by others to help understand them. I have read Cliff Mass for a considerable length of time(years) and found his blog to be informative and quite accurate which is why I provided the link to that blog in my post above on January 7 in the first place. Hopefully his dismissive comment won't deter you or others away from his blog.
Toggle Commented Jan 10, 2014 on Looking for winter weirdness 2014 at Arctic Sea Ice
A series of strong storms in the westerlies off the coast of North America have undercut the high pressure along the coast with heavy warm rains on the way with snow levels mostly above 1800 meters elevation. These storms appear to be staying north of a strong lobe of this high pressure over California. The high pressure is forecast to reform next week so this rain probably won't last too long.
Hans, it is not quite that dry up here but the streams are running at summer flows. Still dry today but it looks like rain is threatening as a portion of the westerlies are starting to undercut the high pressure... Maybe you will get a little rain down your way too.
Clearly global circulation patterns are wildly different than normal. Neven, thanks for publishing on this topic and to the others who have provided copious links. I came across this article also from Fairfax Climate Watch about the changes in the westerlies that helped me understand some of the changes taking place: Also, there is a weather blog from Cliff Mass of UW which is mostly about the US Pacific Northwest weather. This is also an excellent blog and may be of interest to a few readers:
jdallen, I had that very thought earlier before I read your comment: "looking like a summer weather pattern." The pattern on the west coast of North America has been and still is similar to a summer weather pattern too. The forecast is for the high pressure here to break down a little over the next week or so then build back in. Forecasts for rain are now in the forecast again but in the previous month rainy forecasts just haven't panned out much. We'll see if this happens. I am under a temperature inversion up to about 500meters but above 500 m the temps have been running about +5C to +15C above normal since about December 20. Early December was about that much below normal for temps. Lack of precipitation is the most unusual I have ever seen though.
Jdallen, I am wondering that myself although there does appear to be a couple patches of fairly decent westerlies. Wili, I would like to have the answer to that question myself. There does, however, appear to be enough westerlies that the cells haven't completely fused.,89.89,270 The fog finally cleared out here today in SW Washington and I had a clear view of the mountains. Everything looked green except the tops of Mts. St Helens, Adams, and Hood. Even at 1300 Meters of elevation the mountains were green where normally there is 2 to 3 Meters or more of snow. On Mt. St. Helens at 2000 Meters elevation the rocks looked to be about 50% snow covered. Extremely unusual.
Hans, according to the GFS (The GFS has been highly unreliable for the past month.) thinks that there is a chance that the westerlies will finally undercut the high and bring some rain. Maybe, but we could get a split flow with most of the energy still going over the top of the high. On the plus side there are some westerlies farther out in the Pacific that could eventually break through. So far it appears that everything is still going over the high into the sub arctic. Forecasts out more than 3 days have been so unreliable that I would not bank on too much rain until I saw it. Mostly the forecasts have been for rain or snow that never materializes. Let's see what happens with this now.,89.89,270