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Chris, Those historic ice charts are incredible. Thanks for sharing the link.
Toggle Commented Jul 15, 2014 on ASI 2014 update 5: low times at Arctic Sea Ice
"It appears to be a developing La Niña. Notice the strengthening/deepening equatorial blue stripe extending off of South America." This stripe of blue is the residual upwelling from a previous Kelvin wave that sent cool water towards the eastern Pacific a few months ago. The upwelling is slowly fading out. There's actually a very warm, downwelling Kelvin wave sitting at the international dateline that's incoming (eastward moving) and causing alarm over an El Niño by summer. With subsurface temperatures up to 5 C above average, this pulse of warm water is comparable to the Kelvin waves from early 1997 that led to the powerful El Niño of that year. On the rightmost image in the panel, the depth of the 20 C isotherm is expanding eastward: clear evidence of a turn in the Pacific's phase.
Likelihood of El Niño 2014-2015 has convincing models backing it up, from NOAA Climate Forecasting System. Latest ocean temperature anomalies starting to look ominous as well. Pool of warm water is gradually collecting around Pacific side of South America. Being that central tropical Pacific is supposed to warm from here on out (whenever "out" takes us), I think we're already on the way to very hot next two years. Not quite a super El Niño of vintage 1998 so far, but one stronger than 2010 seems reasonable at this stage.
Toggle Commented Jan 13, 2014 on Looking for winter weirdness 2014 at Arctic Sea Ice
Looks as though SSW may be "closing", as middle/upper stratosphere anomalies begin to shrink. This is probably not going to be as big as 2013's SSW.
For my last comment, I meant to say "hasten the melt of whatever snow is present..." mid-paragraph. My fault.
Snow coverage is quite below average in much of Europe and the western US. This set-up is similar to 2007 and 2012 when snow was also below-average in Europe. NOAA's model ensemble at CFS also implies a much warmer-than-average late winter/early spring for Europe, which I guess could hasten whatever snow is present in Scandinavia and western Russia. Too early to say where 2014 maximum will sit, but it's already looking like a low-ball, and the lack of snow is not a good omen for protection of ice this summer. We shall see, being that it is only January.
"Hope you have your long johns ready,Dalton like minimum has already started. Things can get real cold fast just like it can get hot." Dalton minimum, eh? Hope you're exaggerating. The folks at NOAA seem to think winter 2013-2014 is going to be somewhat unremarkable for cold weather. Back to sea ice: IJIS version 2 now showing 9/12/2013 slightly lower than same day 2010.
Toggle Commented Sep 13, 2013 on Pinpointing the minimum at Arctic Sea Ice
Understandably, too. About 7-10" of rain in 24 hours, obliterating the previous record in 1919. "The City of Boulder has broken a rainfall record set more than 90 years ago. Boulder has received seven to 10 inches of rain in the past 24 hours. That breaks the previous record of 4.8 inches set on July 31, 1919. A flash flood warning remains in effect for Boulder County until 8:30 p.m. Thursday. All City of Boulder facilities, including libraries and recreation centers, will remain closed on Friday." Three lost their lives, many homes have been flooded. Terrible situation. For what it's worth, 5-day moving average of NSIDC extent (before site went down) was lower than 2009's 5-day min. Daily extent still slightly above 2009 as of 9/11/13.
Toggle Commented Sep 12, 2013 on Pinpointing the minimum at Arctic Sea Ice
Nice analysis. Interesting summary on the varying roles of atmospheric pressure during the melt and freeze seasons. With today's NSIDC numbers, the extent pulled away from 2009 a minute too soon. Yesterday, 2013 was within 2k km^2 of tying the 2009 minimum. Unclear if it will be beat now. IJIS/JAXA's extent already has 2013 below 2009. CT area is gliding above the minimum of 2009. Vanishing odds that 2013 will fall below 2009 there. I say we have about a week left for this thing to shake out. The rest of this exercise is for documentary purposes now. I'm ready to call this melt season over to wait and see what the 2013-2014 freeze season looks like.
Toggle Commented Sep 11, 2013 on Pinpointing the minimum at Arctic Sea Ice
He's a predictable one, that David Rose. The "How skeptics view Arctic sea ice decline" animation is awesome. Well done, Dana. All in all, it's worth stating unequivocally that 2013 was still a bad year for sea ice. Not as white knuckle as 2012, but definitely a confirmation of the continual downward trend. Major losses on the Atlantic side, a polynya near or at the north pole, fourth lowest volume, and likely sixth lowest extent. Climate systems change in timescales too slowly for human timescales to appreciate. Yet, the change in the Arctic has been fast enough to give us a peak into the future. If I had believed that every bounce in the stock market beginning in December 2007 was a "recovery", by March 2009, I'd have been a very poor man. In a physical system such as the Earth's climate, there needs to be a physical reason for any "recovery." So long as greenhouse gases continue to accumulate, we can reasonably expect the sea ice to continue declining. So to David Rose, I say veritas curat.
Toggle Commented Sep 9, 2013 on IPCC crisis meeting at Arctic Sea Ice
While not the record smashing year I and quite a few others were anticipating, this year has provided us with an incredibly vibrant series of events to keep expanding our education. And though maybe not as exciting as the melting season, I am looking forward to observing the coming freeze season in its own way. Any fracturing events to witness? What will be our "goat's head" guiding us on the ice's drift when the remaining ice gets flanked by new ice? Maybe wili's "bear's head?":,92.msg13122.html#msg13122 And will spring arrive early, keeping snow extent to a minimum; or will it be late again, and perhaps delay the ice's demise another year? There's a lot of physics to the Arctic that I'm beginning to appreciate and maybe it will keep me from expecting too much or too little. We keep questing for further understanding, but sometimes I think nature does just act in a way that wants us to keep quiet and just watch the show for what it is.
Toggle Commented Aug 22, 2013 on Hole at Arctic Sea Ice
Jim, agreed. Today's early glimpse into MODIS looks as terrible as ever. But for the awkward fast ice hitched to Severnaya Zemyla, he Atlantic side is getting shaved back very dramatically this year. That is something to be said about one of the more atrocious aspects of this year, in spite of higher overall extents than recent years.
Toggle Commented Aug 22, 2013 on ASI 2013 update 7: cold and cloudy at Arctic Sea Ice
A sincere congratulations to Neven. I am always humbled by the amount of thorough work everyone does here and am glad it has reached this amount of acclaim. Well deserved. Geoff, I think I've heard it all. No warming since 1998, 1997, 1995, 2002... They trip on themselves with this kind of inconsistent and malevolent misuse of statistics, but are so steeped in willful ignorance, I doubt any dose of reason can cure them. As soon as we get another record hottest year, they'll just reset the timeline, or fish around for whatever obscure month-to-month trend fits their immature storyline.
Walt Meier on "Are scientists conservative about sea ice?": "Sea ice models, though far from perfect, are the best tools we have to understand and project the future changes in sea ice. While the models on average show a slower trend, a closer look provides a more subtle view. Looking at averages can mask important variations in the sea ice that occur in the real world. Individual model simulations do show periods of rapid ice loss lasting several years, but they also show periods of stasis, with little or no trend, over several years. ... Thus the observations that we are seeing may be a period of rapid ice decline that models indicate will happen from time to time. And we may be due to experience a period of slow down. There is no certainty of this and scientists have been surprised by the dramatic record lows in 2007 and 2012." I suppose Walt's post may deserve a more focused discussion, but it's a sticky issue for sure. I have great respect for Walt, but I have a hard time reconciling chalking up the recent decline to a "period of rapid decline" and that we may be overdue for a slow period. Analogous to this, I suppose, would be the global surface temperatures and the "rapid warming period/hiatus period" duality. This seems valid enough. And I don't suppose there's any way to really falsify this notion until we see several more years of sea ice data come forth. My sinking feeling is that--from the now famous sea ice observations versus models graph--observations being consistently below the models one standard deviation line is a red flag that the models did not expect the Arctic to be as vulnerable as it actually is. But if it's variations that's sagging the extent numbers so aggressively below the transient sea ice "sensitivity" that models expected from the GW signal, I'd be interested to know what they may be. Incidentally, only from 2007 to present do the satellite data suggest any sort of rapid decline that is so shockingly deviated from the norm. From 1979 to 2006--the relative "good old days"--the pace of ice loss had already been tracking well below the ensemble mean of the models. So I find myself reverting to my strong hunch that the case here is that the Arctic is far more vulnerable to global warming than had been anticipated. Any slow period of melt would be more relative to the pace of the 1979-2006 years than what is being suggested in the models. This is exactly the kind of unsettling thought I have that has kept me on the edge about the Arctic, and it no doubt fuels what I notice is maybe a consensus here on the ASIB that ice-free summer conditions are mere years away, not decades.
Toggle Commented Jul 29, 2013 on Second storm at Arctic Sea Ice
Is anyone else noticing this cyclone might be about to get help from another 980-ish low pressure system coming up north from the Bering Sea in a little over a week?
Toggle Commented Jul 26, 2013 on Second storm at Arctic Sea Ice
I know I'm not the only one who feels this way, but I find maps and animations depicting the Arctic to be quite beautiful. Thanks to the artistic contributors for these visually appealing and helpful depictions.
Toggle Commented Jul 19, 2013 on Ice pack in full at Arctic Sea Ice
Dipole emerges around the 6th of July, expected to carry through the end of the 11-day ECMWF. High pressure of about 1035 hPa emerges over the Beaufort, about the pressure threshold of an anticyclone.
R. Gates (sorry, I believe you go by Robert, but can't remember), do you know of any good links that show daily or weekly volumes of river discharges, particularly for Mackenzie, Ob, and Yenisei? It would be interesting to track these and compare them to their effect on the Beaufort and Kara Seas. Especially since it looks as though the towns along those rivers are either expecting or already experiencing very warm temperatures. Looking at Mackenzie, for instance, I see lots of places with temps in the 70s right now (and expecting to go to the 80s by next week!) Just wondering how much of a role the Mackenzie heat pump might be at play in shaping this year's minimum extent. Thanks!
GFS seems to suggest the cyclone shifting towards the CAA in the next week during its final days... with the bulls-eye of about 990 mb directly over the MYI?? Meanwhile, we see highs appearing over the Siberian side, suggesting the sun will swing by to clear out the ongoing storm wreckage like a push broom. Just wow.
Toggle Commented May 30, 2013 on ASI 2013 update 1: a slow start at Arctic Sea Ice
Yes. Respectfully, those who want to "revise" can speak for themselves. Fundamentally, the situation in the Arctic should give no strong reasons for any substantial turnaround, if any. As far as I'm concerned, it's like the "weather is your mood, climate is your personality" analogy. The week to week weather is going to cause the ice to ebb and flow, and then ebb again. But the Arctic basin from Beaufort, to Chukchi, and crossing over to Laptev is a mess of splintered ice awaiting the brutal June solstice. MODIS shows a lattice of splinters and ice floes on May 28th, suggesting a ghoulish amount of what very much so appears to be FYI getting ready to "go POP." As far back as 2009, there doesn't seem to be an overall comparison to what's happening this year. I don't think even 2012 for the same date can compare with the amount of splintering happening on the Pacific side. This isn't going to be counted in the area or extent numbers, but there is a very significant weakening taking place that I strongly suspect will soon appear in the area numbers. Just my two cents.
Toggle Commented May 29, 2013 on ASI 2013 update 1: a slow start at Arctic Sea Ice
Thanks Neven. Solid work as usual.CT has apparently been out of commission in recent days, so there are no numerical updates on what is happening to ice area in the various seas, but some things I've noticed in the meantime from NASA's Earthview include: 1.) The Chukchi is retreating apace. A new polynya has opened up in the northern Chukchi that is evident as of May 24th. Meanwhile, temperatures are in the upper 60s/lower 70s Fahrenheit in much of Alaska, and the upper 40s towards the coastline. So, there goes the rest of the snow in the PNW. The deepening of a polynya in Beaufort is also apparent. 2.) The Siberian side has slowed down considerably, but based on concentration maps, it's a slushy of ice floes and polynyas, especially in Kara and Laptev, so the melt that is to come in that region is waiting in the wings for the right weather conditions. As long as a sharp refreeze doesn't manifest (which becomes less likely as we press forward to the June solstice), they don't stand much chance anyway. 3.) Hudson Bay and Baffin Bay are continuing to hold somewhat, but they are visibly retreating at this point. Nothing too interesting going on here yet, IMO. All of which are the expected steps that precede the core Arctic basin melt. The question, though, lies in seeing to it that the ice is really as fragile as we imagine it is. I believe it is, but whether we break 2012 or not is somewhat of a wash right now. But the central Arctic is looking more like a mesh of ice cracks waiting to totally splinter into individual floes than a cohesive and strong unit. It's late May, but it's much too early to say the ice is going to fare better than last year. Just another day in watching the Arctic circle the drain.
Toggle Commented May 26, 2013 on ASI 2013 update 1: a slow start at Arctic Sea Ice
To summarize the mind of a denier failing the sniff test: "No global warming since 1997. No Arctic ice melt since 1989. And the New York Yankees have been losing more games since 2002, so they are clearly becoming a worse baseball team. No, don't try to explain to me how they won the 2009 World Series! They're on the downtrend!" This kind of nonsense is their M.O. Draw a line from the highest peak to the lowest trough, or vice versa, and call it a cooling or recovery. When they can't counter with science, apply Occam's Razor and take the path of least resistance: pick a random point, subtract it with another point of different numerical value (hopefully you should be able to do this at ease by age 6), draw an absurd conclusion, then call yourself a genius for uncovering these egregious lies of climate change skullduggery. It's so puerile and pseudo-intellectual, I'm not sure if it's more appropriate to laugh or to cry. It is kind of amazing how much we find ourselves playing whack-a-mole with these people, considering they are not interested in learning from their mistakes or what have you. It's intentional deceit. That's obvious by now. They are only interested in finding some combination of data that will get them what they want to see. Like school-age children, they run home and can't wait to show everyone that they know addition and subtraction; except that children are actually genuinely interested in finding answers to questions, so I'm not being fair to young people. These fools just entertain themselves with confirmation bias and by bathing themselves in the groupthink of conspiracy theories. It. Is. Old.
Toggle Commented May 13, 2013 on Party like it's 1989 at Arctic Sea Ice
2.9 +/- 0.2 Part intuitive extrapolation from the long-term and medium-term trends; part based on present weather patterns. We see persistent high pressures parked over the north pole since the 2007 event, which is helping to drive these warm temperature anomalies. Evidently, spring has arrived in many parts of northern Europe and Russia, with air temperatures now well above average since mid-April, according to NCEP/NCAR data. This pattern is expected to linger for weeks. This is already weakening the Laptev, Kara, and East Siberian Seas, evidenced by festering polynyas. SSTs have remained well above average in areas like Barents Sea, much to the detriment of the Arctic ice from the vantage point of currents. The possibility of bottom melt aided by the Arctic Ocean's exposure to sunlight resulting from the massive 2012 ice loss adds to the uncertainty, but in my opinion, not for the better.
As fascinating and terrifying as this all is with regards to the deep ocean heating--especially regarding Balmaseda et al. (2013)--I'm still unable to wrap my mind around the ramifications of it. If I understand it correctly, part of the reason the deeper ocean is warming faster than the surface recently may have something to do with the persistence of a negative PDO and the dominance of La Niña over the past decade, such that the extra energy being poured into the Earth is being bottled up deep in its patient waters, whereas cold water is being exposed to the surface. But, once the Earth snaps out of this passive-aggressive La Niña and switches to a cathartic and very aggressive El Niño, the heat that's been accumulating will at least be partially released to the air. This would make sense intuitively, but it leaves me wary as to how the deepest ocean waters would come to play, since I am somewhat unsure (apart from the role of thermohaline circulation) how the deepest, warmest of waters could be brought to the surface. It isn't as though the laws of physics have changed. The acceleration of carbon dioxide within a logarithmic radiative forcing calculation still implies a steady rise in CO2's climate forcing role. And the fact that the oceans have been taking up more heat doesn't negate that some of the extra energy from GHGs and feedbacks is still going to go into melting sea ice/glaciers and lifting surface temperatures. If it's natural variation that's changing the distribution of heat at the moment, that's even more upsetting, since the pendulum will eventually swing the other way, and on and on. To me, it reads as the ocean building a savings account for future warming that will be brought to the surface from time to time via El Niño discharges or other climatic oscillations. I, too, share my lament of a lack of understanding of the deep ocean with Trenberth. Given our current understanding of what 3% or so of the world's deepest oceans we've explored, I don't take much solace in the idea of the ocean being our savior.
Toggle Commented Mar 29, 2013 on Melting of the Arctic sea ice at Arctic Sea Ice
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Mar 29, 2013