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

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 01:42 PM GMT am 08. Februar 2011

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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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the you tube vids messed up the page got to remember when ya post vids you have to select old embed code or you will mess up the blog page if not
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no
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Someone screwed up the blog...Anyway Ya'll miss me?.It's okay if you say no.
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Magnitude 5.2 - OFF THE COAST OF OREGON
2011 February 08 22:02:01 UTC
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Cat 5 Attack on NE Queensland.

CYCLONE YASI the full incredible chase video


Aerial footage of Cyclone Yasi devastation


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Of minor interest today is that CycloneOz has his webcam up and running because of a winter storm that is supposed to hit his area. Looks sunny right now, though!
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201. DocNDswamp
11:09 PM GMT am 08. Februar 2011
re: 143,

Eyes, sorry I failed to respond earlier... A close call, but hearing your location / viewing the Jackson NWS forecast for Hattiesburg, ya sure got a chance of changeover to include sleet and snow, not just frz rain... Good luck on the white, fluffy stuff!

MSZ074-091515-
FORREST-
INCLUDING THE CITIES OF...HATTIESBURG
423 PM CST TUE FEB 8 2011

.TONIGHT...MOSTLY CLEAR. LOWS IN THE UPPER 20S. NORTHEAST WINDS
AROUND 5 MPH.
.WEDNESDAY...A 30 PERCENT CHANCE OF RAIN IN THE AFTERNOON. PARTLY
CLOUDY. HIGHS IN THE MID 50S. EAST WINDS 5 TO 10 MPH.
.WEDNESDAY NIGHT...RAIN...SNOW AND SLEET IN THE EVENING...THEN
SNOW AND RAIN AFTER MIDNIGHT. SNOW ACCUMULATIONS UP TO 1 INCH.

CLOUDY. LOWS AROUND 30. NORTH WINDS AROUND 10 MPH. THE CHANCE OF
PRECIPITATION 90 PERCENT.
.THURSDAY...CHANCE OF FLURRIES IN THE MORNING. CLOUDY IN THE
MORNING...THEN BECOMING PARTLY CLOUDY. COOLER. HIGHS IN THE MID
40S. NORTH WINDS 5 TO 10 MPH.
.THURSDAY NIGHT...MOSTLY CLEAR. LOWS IN THE MID 20S. NORTHWEST
WINDS AROUND 5 MPH.

LOL, the chance of flurries would get us excited down here...

Cheers!

Member Since: September 21, 2005 Posts: 94 Comments: 4794
199. Xandra
10:53 PM GMT am 08. Februar 2011
Quoting MichaelSTL:


That already looks pretty likely, since January was warmer than the same month during the last La Nina. Well, at least in the satellite data, but very likely also in the surface data, especially since sea surface temperatures are warmer.

Edit - didn't you mean El Nino, since that would cause a higher global temperature peak. Although of course either state shows warming over the last one (depending on strength; there were several weak El Ninos between 1998 and 2010, while the 1998 El Nino was still much stronger than 2010; by contrast, the current La Nina is much stronger than the last one, yet hasn't caused as big of a drop in temperature).

No, I meant La Nina. That’s why I had the trend line in the bottom. I made a typo ! ;) Next La Nina will have its big drop at a higher level is the correct sentence! ;)
Member Since: November 22, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 1281
198. VAbeachhurricanes
10:42 PM GMT am 08. Februar 2011
Quoting Patrap:
To: U.S. West Coast, Alaska, and British Columbia coastal regions
From: NOAA/NWS/West Coast and Alaska Tsunami Warning Center
Subject: Tsunami Information Statement issued 02/8/2011 at 2:05PM PST

At 2:02 PM Pacific Standard Time on February 8, an earthquake with preliminary magnitude 5.2 occurred 195 miles/314 Km southwest of Eugene, Oregon .

The magnitude is such that a tsunami WILL NOT be generated. This will be the only WCATWC message issued for this event.

The location and magnitude are based on preliminary information. Further information will be issued by the United States Geological Survey or the appropriate regional seismic network.





No Tsunami Watch, Warning, or Advisory in effect


Thats the second and larger one of the two in that same region today. Any warning signs of a third and even larger one?
Member Since: September 6, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 6624
197. Patrap
10:31 PM GMT am 08. Februar 2011
To: U.S. West Coast, Alaska, and British Columbia coastal regions
From: NOAA/NWS/West Coast and Alaska Tsunami Warning Center
Subject: Tsunami Information Statement issued 02/8/2011 at 2:05PM PST

At 2:02 PM Pacific Standard Time on February 8, an earthquake with preliminary magnitude 5.2 occurred 195 miles/314 Km southwest of Eugene, Oregon .

The magnitude is such that a tsunami WILL NOT be generated. This will be the only WCATWC message issued for this event.

The location and magnitude are based on preliminary information. Further information will be issued by the United States Geological Survey or the appropriate regional seismic network.





No Tsunami Watch, Warning, or Advisory in effect
Member Since: Juli 3, 2005 Posts: 426 Comments: 128875
196. RitaEvac
10:26 PM GMT am 08. Februar 2011
nah saying 5.2
Member Since: Juli 14, 2008 Posts: 1 Comments: 9630
195. Jedkins01
10:25 PM GMT am 08. Februar 2011
I get a good laugh every time I watch these long term climate predictions, when forecasting weather 10 days for my local weather in Tampa Bay is already a hard enough task. And no, I'm not stupid enough believe climate is magically different then meteorology. No, actually, Climatology is that much more complex. In fact, to forecast this Global Warming propaganda is exceedingly worse than a meteorologist saying he knows what the weather will be like in Tampa Bay area 3 Saturday's from now.

Grow up because the real world isn't governed by the theories in your dream world...


Member Since: August 21, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 7687
194. RitaEvac
10:24 PM GMT am 08. Februar 2011
What a 9.0 off the west coast? Tsunami wipe out if so
Member Since: Juli 14, 2008 Posts: 1 Comments: 9630
192. Patrap
10:21 PM GMT am 08. Februar 2011




Close approach of Apophis on April 13, 2029






Member Since: Juli 3, 2005 Posts: 426 Comments: 128875
191. RitaEvac
10:21 PM GMT am 08. Februar 2011
3 degrees in Amarillo TX VS 52 degrees 95 miles to the SE. A near 50 degree spread in less than 100 miles
Member Since: Juli 14, 2008 Posts: 1 Comments: 9630
190. Xandra
10:18 PM GMT am 08. Februar 2011
Next La Nina will have its peak at a higher level! The trend speaks for itself! Link
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189. belizeit
10:18 PM GMT am 08. Februar 2011
Link
Member Since: Januar 10, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 926
188. belizeit
10:16 PM GMT am 08. Februar 2011
Link
Member Since: Januar 10, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 926
186. Jedkins01
10:12 PM GMT am 08. Februar 2011
Quoting MichaelSTL:
LOL:

Big Chill for the Greenhouse

Monday, Oct. 31, 1988

Says meteorologist and oceanographer James O'Brien of Florida State University: "We are predicting that by next year, average global temperature will retreat to 1950s levels, slowing up planetary warming by 30 to 35 years."


You laugh at people with exceedingly more knowledge about the atmosphere than you? How arrogant can you possibly be? Take you're genius glasses off. You don't know what the heck you are talking about.


Sorry your pissed that the atmosphere doesn't cooperate with your panicky expectation that the world will end from CO2 increase. The atmosphere does what it wants, not what arrogant people with political biases say. If you are educated enough about the atmosphere, then you should be heavily convicted.
Member Since: August 21, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 7687
185. 1900hurricane
10:11 PM GMT am 08. Februar 2011
Wow, those are some insane ratios!



MESOSCALE DISCUSSION 0096
NWS STORM PREDICTION CENTER NORMAN OK
0350 PM CST TUE FEB 08 2011

AREAS AFFECTED...SRN KS...NWRN OK...OK/NRN TX PANHANDLES...EXTREME
SERN CO

CONCERNING...HEAVY SNOW

VALID 082150Z - 090245Z

HEAVY SNOWFALL RATES OF 1-2 INCHES WILL PERSIST ACROSS MUCH OF SRN
KS...AND EXPAND INTO NWRN OK AND THE OK/NRN TX PANHANDLES THIS
EVENING. LOCALLY REDUCED VISIBILITIES WITH N/NELY WINDS OF 20-30 MPH
WILL OCCUR AT TIMES.

AN ELONGATED BAND OF HEAVY SNOWFALL LOCATED OVER SRN KS HAS REMAINED
NEARLY STATIONARY...PRODUCING SNOWFALL RATES OF 1-2 INCHES. STRONG
LOWER-MID LEVEL FLOW /SAMPLED AT 40-50 KTS PER ICT AND DDC VWP DATA/
WILL CONTINUE TO FOCUS BROAD ZONE OF ISENTROPIC UPGLIDE ACROSS THE
DISCUSSION AREA. DEEP SATURATED DENDRITIC GROWTH LAYER ATOP COLD
ARCTIC AIR MASS WILL YIELD VERY HIGH LIQUID SNOWFALL RATIOS AROUND
20-30:1.
WITH TIME...MID-LEVEL FORCING WILL INCREASE IN RESPONSE TO
DCVA AHEAD OF AN APPROACHING UPPER SHORTWAVE TROUGH CURRENTLY
POSITIONED OVER THE SRN ROCKIES /PER WATER VAPOR IMAGERY/.
ADDITIONALLY...140+ KT UPPER JET WILL BECOME REPOSITIONED FROM ERN
NM INTO WRN OK...PLACING MUCH OF THE NRN TX PANHANDLE/NWRN OK AND
SRN KS IN THE FAVORABLE CYCLONIC EXIT REGION. THIS WILL CONTINUE TO
SUPPORT A SWD EXPANSION OF HEAVY SNOWFALL INTO THE NRN TX PANHANDLE
AND NWRN OK.

..ROGERS.. 02/08/2011


ATTN...WFO...SGF...EAX...TSA...TOP...ICT...OUN...DDC...GLD...
AMA...PUB...ABQ...

LAT...LON 35130240 35840304 37340273 37680232 38050190 38440117
38839809 38749602 38259494 37759462 37319483 36929579
36069840 35510043 35130240
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183. xcool
09:59 PM GMT am 08. Februar 2011
welcome
Member Since: September 26, 2009 Posts: 2 Comments: 15684
182. EYEStoSEA
09:57 PM GMT am 08. Februar 2011
Quoting xcool:


ENSEMBLE TEMPERATURE





WRF-NMM Forecast Model


TY, xcool :}
Member Since: September 16, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 1496
181. Patrap
09:56 PM GMT am 08. Februar 2011
Quoting Floodman:


Who knows? One of Apophis' cousins could make a sudden appearance and the climate could really change...

Do you think we should find a goodly rock to hide under? LOL











05.27.08

Skies were clear and sunny on Sol 1 on Mars. The temperature varied between minus 112 degrees Fahrenheit in the early morning and minus 22 degrees Fahrenheit in the afternoon. The average pressure was 8.55 millibars, which is less than a 1/100th of the sea level pressure on Earth.

The weather station was activated in the first hour after landing on Mars. Measurements are being recorded continuously.

The Phoenix Mission is led by the University of Arizona, Tucson, on behalf of NASA. Project management of the mission is by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif. Spacecraft development is by Lockheed Martin Space Systems, Denver. The Canadian Space Agency contributed Phoenix's meteorological station. The University of Aarhus in Denmark contributed the telltale on the meteorology mast.
Member Since: Juli 3, 2005 Posts: 426 Comments: 128875
180. xcool
09:54 PM GMT am 08. Februar 2011


ENSEMBLE TEMPERATURE





WRF-NMM Forecast Model
Member Since: September 26, 2009 Posts: 2 Comments: 15684
179. hydrus
09:53 PM GMT am 08. Februar 2011
Quoting Floodman:


Who knows? One of Apophis' cousins could make a sudden appearance and the climate could really change...

Do you think we should find a goodly rock to hide under? LOL
Well. If ya have an asteroid 6 miles in diameter, weighing 14,560 million tonnes, moving at 55,000 mph, even if it lands in the Pacific which has an average depth around 13,000 feet, it would blast a hole through the ocean and the Earths crust straight into the mantle in a split second. There would be 100 mile high tidal wave and all kinds of debris to fly into bullistic orbit around the planet. Which would eventually rain back down due to orbital decay to destroy everything with explosions and firestorms and ALL Earths critters including us would have a bad day. Unless of course it is a dern sturdy rock...:) Good afternoon Flood.
Member Since: September 27, 2007 Posts: 1 Comments: 21507
176. RitaEvac
09:41 PM GMT am 08. Februar 2011
5 degrees in Amarillo TX VS 52 degrees 95 miles to the SE. A 47 degree spread in less than 100 miles
Member Since: Juli 14, 2008 Posts: 1 Comments: 9630
175. Floodman
09:41 PM GMT am 08. Februar 2011
Quoting hydrus:
14,770,000 seconds till hurricane season..maybe...;0


Who knows? One of Apophis' cousins could make a sudden appearance and the climate could really change...

Do you think we should find a goodly rock to hide under? LOL
Member Since: August 2, 2006 Posts: 10 Comments: 9922
174. hydrus
09:39 PM GMT am 08. Februar 2011
14,770,000 seconds till hurricane season..maybe...;0
Member Since: September 27, 2007 Posts: 1 Comments: 21507
172. Neapolitan
09:18 PM GMT am 08. Februar 2011
Quoting MichaelSTL:
LOL:

Big Chill for the Greenhouse

Monday, Oct. 31, 1988

Says meteorologist and oceanographer James O'Brien of Florida State University: "We are predicting that by next year, average global temperature will retreat to 1950s levels, slowing up planetary warming by 30 to 35 years."

Yeah, O'Brien is a long-time denialist; he was pooh-poohing GW and calling for an ice age while others like Bastardi and Watts were still in high school. It's no shocking news that he's a member of the ultra-right, ultra-ridiculous George C. Marshall CBPP, as well as the pro-pollution, Exxon-funded Fraser Institute and Tech Central Science Foundation. What an objective scientist! ;-)
Member Since: November 8, 2009 Posts: 4 Comments: 13580
171. swampdawg
09:17 PM GMT am 08. Februar 2011
Quoting Jax82:
In case anyone cares, only 160,380 minutes until hurricane season. And yes i'm bored.

That is hilarious.......
Member Since: Juli 1, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 73
170. Levi32
09:14 PM GMT am 08. Februar 2011
Quoting MichaelSTL:


Looks like the CFS still has a cold bias, eh?

Never mind that if a permanent La Nina occurred, global temperatures would simply take a one-time step down, then continue rising.



Global cooling? Nope

The warmest La Nina January on record - despite also being the strongest La Nina (SOI) on record!

Indeed: Keep those PJs on: a La Niña cannot erase decades of warming



The CFS doesn't have a cold bias. The CFS has a continuity bias. If you will remember, last February at this time, the CFS had 2010's El Nino continuing right through the fall season and into early winter.



Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 635 Comments: 26661
169. stillwaiting
09:13 PM GMT am 08. Februar 2011
going up to nyc feb 18-24th,anyone have any idea if the cold wx w/be back by then,im looking for a snowstorm!!
Member Since: Oktober 5, 2007 Posts: 20 Comments: 4970
168. Levi32
09:12 PM GMT am 08. Februar 2011
Quoting MichaelSTL:
LOL:

Big Chill for the Greenhouse

Monday, Oct. 31, 1988

Says meteorologist and oceanographer James O'Brien of Florida State University: "We are predicting that by next year, average global temperature will retreat to 1950s levels, slowing up planetary warming by 30 to 35 years."


While temps retreating to 1950 levels isn't too wild of a guess if this La Nina becomes a multi-year event, the 2nd part of that statement is wrong. One spike or dip doesn't reset the bar.

However, the last 10 years present a pretty flat trend in global temperature during a period that has been pretty balanced between ENSO cycles.

Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 635 Comments: 26661
167. FtMyersgal
09:04 PM GMT am 08. Februar 2011
Quoting cat5hurricane:

EXACTLY. Skilling's informative, detailed forecast and a Cub's loss. Two things you can almost always count on! :)

Is that the same Tom Skilling that worked a Milwaukee weather gig in the 70's? I think WTMJ
Member Since: September 16, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 1219
166. lilElla
09:01 PM GMT am 08. Februar 2011
Quoting cat5hurricane:
157:

Isn't WGN's Tom Skilling the best. Man, I love that guy. You know he was in his glory during that blizzard.


I first watched Tom on a Minneapolis station and was sad to see him leave for Chicago. But, he and Roger are the best!! (Is Roger still around)
Member Since: Dezember 5, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 273
164. DocNDswamp
08:42 PM GMT am 08. Februar 2011
Ditto on much respect for Chicago's Tom Skilling... extremely informative, detailed forecasts that are useful to far more than just the Midwest region...

Certainly worth the wait and a pleasure hearing Tom's analysis / forecast after enduring another pathetic Cubs loss!
;)
Member Since: September 21, 2005 Posts: 94 Comments: 4794
163. CycloneUK
08:39 PM GMT am 08. Februar 2011


Wow 936mb low forecast west of Iceland in 108 hrs...
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161. DocNDswamp
08:29 PM GMT am 08. Februar 2011
Indeed,
Unfortunately, appears that warming trend next week and beyond could seriously melt a lot of the snow pack into the lower Midwest... Hopefully a mild warming trend, or a relatively slow pace to avoid flooding issues - potentially could get ugly if coincides with any hvy rainfalls there...
Member Since: September 21, 2005 Posts: 94 Comments: 4794

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Jeff co-founded the Weather Underground in 1995 while working on his Ph.D. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990.

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