Top climate story of 2008: Arctic sea ice loss

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 4:03 PM GMT on January 12, 2009

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The top climate story of 2008, as it was in 2007, was the extraordinary summertime sea ice retreat in the Arctic. For the second consecutive year, we experienced the opening of the fabled Northwest Passage through the Canadian Arctic waters. Explorers have been attempting to sail the Northwest Passage since 1497, and 2007 and 2008 are the only known years the passage has been ice-free. In addition, 2008 saw the simultaneous opening of the Northeast Passage along the coast of Russia. This meant that for the first time in recorded history, the Arctic ice cap was an island--one could completely circumnavigate the Arctic Ocean in ice-free waters. Although the summer ice extent in 2008 finished 9% higher than 2007's record minimum, it was still an extraordinary 34% below average, according to the National Snow and Ice Data Center. Furthermore, the ice was thinner at the September 2008 minimum compared to 2007, so the total ice volume (thickness times area) was probably at its lowest point in recorded history in 2008.


Figure 1. Daily arctic sea ice extent for September 12, 2008. The date of the 2008 minimum (white) is overlaid on September 16, 2007--last year's minimum extent (dark gray). Light gray shading indicates the region where ice occurred in both 2007 and 008. Image credit: National Snow and Ice Data Center.

The Arctic "perfect storm" of summer weather in 2007 did not repeat in 2008
The summer of 2007 saw a "perfect storm" of weather conditions favorable for ice loss. Unusually strong high pressure over the Arctic led to clear skies and plenty of sunshine. Arctic winds, which usually blow in a circular fashion around the Pole, instead blew from the south, injecting large amounts of warm air into the Arctic. How unusual were these conditions? Well, at last month's meeting of the American Geophysical Union, the world's largest scientific conference on climate change, J.E. Kay of the National Center for Atmospheric Research showed that Arctic surface pressure in the summer of 2007 was the fourth highest since 1948. Cloud cover at Barrow, Alaska was the sixth lowest. This suggests that once every 10-20 years a "perfect storm" of weather conditions highly favorable for ice loss invades the Arctic. The last two times such conditions existed was 1977 and 1987.

The 2008 melting season began in March with slightly greater ice extent than had been measured in previous years, thanks to a relatively cold winter during 2007-2008. However, since so much ice had melted during the summer of 2007, most of the March 2008 ice was thin first-year ice, which extended all the way to the North Pole. The total ice volume in the Arctic in March 2008 was lower than what the record-breaking year of 2007 had seen. This led to speculation that a new record minimum would be set in 2008, and Santa's Workshop would plunge into the ocean as ice melted at the North Pole. However, the "perfect storm" of summertime weather conditions did not materialize in 2008. From May through July, cooler temperatures and winds less favorable to ice loss occurred. When very warm temperatures moved into the Arctic in August, the ice loss rate accelerated to levels higher than in 2007. However, with sunlight waning, ice loss was not able to reach the levels seen in 2007. Arctic temperatures in the summer of 2008 were up to 4°C cooler along the Siberian coast than in 2007 (Figure 2).


Figure 2. Difference in surface temperature (°C) between the summer of 2008 and the summer of 2007. Blues and purples indicate areas where is was cooler in 2008. The biggest change was over the Bering Sea between Alaska and Russia, where exceptionally sunny weather with southerly winds in 2007 caused record-breaking warmth. Image credit: NOAA/ESRL.

The future of arctic sea ice
Climate models have done a poor job predicting the recent record loss of arctic sea ice (Figure 3). None of the models used to formulate the official word on climate, the 2007 United Nations IPCC report, foresaw the shocking drop of 2007-2008. At the December 2008 AGU meeting, Wieslaw Maslowski of the Navy Postgraduate School hypothesized that the reason for this was the models' improper handling of ocean currents and how they transport heat. He blamed 60% of the melting during the past decade on heat brought in by ocean currents, and projected that summertime arctic sea ice would completely disappear by 2016. Dr. Jim Overland of NOAA's Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory was more conservative, projecting a 2030 demise of arctic sea ice. He thought we would be "hanging around where we are for a while", and thought it would take two more unusual summers like the "perfect storm" of 2007 to push the system to an ice-free state. He further noted that while summertime air temperatures have been near record levels the past few years in the Arctic, there has been one period of comparable warmth, in the 1930s and 1940s. The year 1941 still ranks as the warmest year in the Arctic, though 2007 was virtually tied with it. However, the warmth of the 1930s and 1940s was different than the current warming, and was caused by the Siberian High moving unusually far east over Europe, driving warm, southerly winds over Greenland. The warmth in the past decade, in contrast, is associated with a warming of the entire planet, and is not due to an unusual pressure pattern driving warm air into the region. This means that the current warming is accompanied by much warmer ocean waters, which have helped caused much of the arctic sea ice loss the past two years by melting the ice from beneath.


Figure 3. Arctic sea ice extent from observations (thick orange line) and 13 model forecasts used to formulate the 2007 IPCC report (light lines). The thick black line is the multi-model ensemble mean, with the standard deviation plotted as a dashed black line. Image has been updated to include the observed 2007 and 2008 measurements. Image credit: Arctic sea ice decline: Faster than forecast by Stroeve et al., 2007.

The impact on the jet stream
The unprecedented melting of arctic sea ice the past two summers has undoubtedly had a significant impact on the early winter weather over the Northern Hemisphere. Several modeling studies presented at the December AGU meeting showed that sea ice melt on this scale is capable of injecting enough heat into the atmosphere to result in a major shift in the jet stream. Dr. Overland remarked that the early cold winter over North America this winter, and the exceptionally cold and snowy early winter in China last winter, were likely related to arctic sea ice loss. The sea ice loss induced a strong poleward flow of warm air over eastern Siberia, and a return flow of cold air from the Pole developed to compensate. Thus regions on either side of eastern Siberia--China and North America--have gotten unusually cold and snowy winters as a result.

The impact on sea level rise
The loss of arctic sea ice will have little impact on sea level rise over the next few decades. Since the ice is already floating in the ocean, melting it does not change sea level much--just like when ice melting in a glass of water will not change the level of liquid in the glass. In the case of sea ice, there is a slight sea level rise, since the fresh melt water is less dense than the salty ocean water it displaces. If all the world's sea ice melted, it would raise global sea level by only 4 mm. This is a tiny figure compared to the 20 feet of sea level rise that would occur from complete melting of the Greenland ice sheet--which is on land.

The impact on melting of the Greenland Ice Sheet
The big concern with arctic sea ice melt is the warmer temperatures it will bring to the Arctic, which will bring about an accelerated melting of the Greenland Ice Sheet. As the sea ice melts, the resulting warmer average temperatures will increase the amount of dark, sunlight-absorbing water at the pole, leading to further increases in temperature and more melting of sea ice, in a positive feedback loop. As temperatures warm, partial melting of the Greenland Ice Sheet will raise global sea levels. While no one is expecting 20 feet of sea level rise from the total melting of the Greenland Ice Sheet for many centuries, even one meter (3.3 feet) of sea level rise due to the partial melting of the Greenland Ice Sheet can cause a lot of trouble. The official word on climate, the 2007 IPCC report, predicted only a 0.6-1.9 foot sea level rise by 2100, due to melting of the Greenland ice sheet and other factors. These estimates did not include detailed models of ice flow dynamics of glaciers, on the grounds that understanding of the relevant processes was too limited for reliable model estimates. The IPCC estimates were also made before the shocking and unexpected loss of arctic sea ice of the past two summers. In light of these factors, a large number of climate scientists now believe the IPCC estimates of sea level rise this century are much too low. The most recent major paper on sea level rise, published this month by Grinsted et al., concluded that there was a "low probability" that sea level rise would be in the range forecast by the IPCC, and predicted a 0.9 - 1.3 meter (3 - 4.3 feet) rise by 2100. Pfeffer et al. last month concluded that a "most likely" range of sea level rise by 2100 is 2.6 - 6.6 feet (0.8 - 2.0 meters). Their estimates came from a detailed analysis of the processes the IPCC said were understood too poorly to model--the ice flow dynamics of glaciers in Greenland and Antarctica. The authors caution that "substantial uncertainties" exist in their estimates, and that the cost of building higher levees to protect against sea level rise is not trivial. Other recent estimates of sea level rise include 1.6 - 4.6 feet (0.5 - 1.4 meters) by Rahmstorf (2007).

What would 3 feet of sea level rise mean?
Rising sea levels will lead to permanent and intermittent flooding in low-lying coastal areas across the world. A global sea level rise of .9 meters (3 feet) would affect 100 million people worldwide, mostly in Asia. The impact of hurricane storm surges will significantly increase as a result of sea level rise. Given a 3 foot rise in sea level, Hurricane Ike's storm surge would have overwhelmed the levees in Port Arthur, Texas, flooding the city and its important oil refineries. Galveston's sea wall would have been overtopped and possibly destroyed, allowing destruction of large portions of Galveston. Levees in New Orleans would have been overtopped, resulting in widespread flooding there, as well. I'll have a full analysis of who's at risk, and what the risks are, in a series of forthcoming blog posts this year.

What can we do?
One reasonable suggestion, presented by Trish Quinn of NOAA at the December 2008 AGU meeting, would be to limit the amount of crop residue burning that goes on in Eastern Europe and Asia each year. These fires generate large amounts of black soot that blows into the Arctic. These black particles on the white ice leads to a significant amount of warming during the summer months, when the black particles absorb sunlight.

For more information
The wunderground sea level rise page has detailed background info on sea level rise.
The wunderground Northwest Passage page is also a good reference.
realclimate.org has a nice post summarizing the recent sea level research.

I'll have a new blog post Wednesday or Thursday.

Jeff Masters

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315. i looked at the article...all i have to say is "whiskey tango foxtrot", over? LOL

i guess it gets around to an approximated empirical heat transfer coefficient, but far less rigorous than even i imagined! :)
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Here is the text notification from NWS:

"EFFECTIVE TUESDAY NOVEMBER 1 2001...THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE
WILL IMPLEMENT A NEW WIND CHILL TEMPERATURE INDEX. THE LATEST
ADVANCES IN SCIENCE...TECHNOLOGY AND COMPUTER MODELING HAVE
RESULTED IN A SIGNIFICANTLY IMPROVED WIND CHILL INDEX. THE NEW
INDEX WILL PROVIDE A MORE ACCURATE...UNDERSTANDABLE AND USEFUL
FORMULA FOR CALCULATING THE POTENTIAL DANGER FROM THE COMBINATION
OF WIND AND COLD TEMPERATURES. THE METEOROLOGICAL SERVICES OF
CANADA HAS SCHEDULED IMPLEMENTATION OF THIS SAME NEW WIND CHILL
INDEX ON OCTOBER 2 2001.

THE NEW WIND CHILL INDEX WILL:

1. USE CALCULATED WIND SPEED AT AN AVERAGE HEIGHT OF FIVE FEET
/TYPICAL HEIGHT OF AN ADULT HUMAN FACE/ BASED ON READINGS
FROM THE NATIONAL STANDARD HEIGHT OF 33 FEET /TYPICAL HEIGHT
OF AN ANEMOMETER/

2. BE BASED ON A HUMAN FACE MODEL

3. INCORPORATE MODERN HEAT TRANSFER THEORY...I.E....HEAT LOSS
FROM THE BODY TO ITS SURROUNDINGS DURING COLD AND
BREEZY/WINDY DAYS

4. LOWER THE CALM WIND THRESHOLD FROM 4 MPH TO 3 MPH

5. USE A CONSISTENT STANDARD FOR SKIN TISSUE RESISTANCE...AND

6. ASSUME NO IMPACT FROM THE SUN.

"

(Face model?...yeah, I see why it is an oddball equation and a bit subjective. Let's just hope it really is effective and consistent at communicating the dangers.)

Member Since: August 16, 2007 Posts: 6 Comments: 12463
315. "obtuse"....now there's a term you only hear in geometry classes, engineering discussions and marriage counseling sessions! LOL
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our low tonight is to bottom out at -4f as for windchills that don't matter its cold either way
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 176 Comments: 55536
Quoting pearlandaggie:
307. Atmo, i know what you were talking about and understood the point you were trying to make....i hope you didn't post all of that just for me! four semesters of engineering calculus is burned into my memory :)

by the way, i've been dying to ask you this...how do they calculate the windchill factor? is it through innuendo and observation or is it a more scientific endeavor that involve heat transfer coefficients?


Wind chill is a rather obtuse equation with some odd numbers within that actually was changed after I took the class that covered it.

See the details here. (Amazing...something useful from USAtoday!)
Member Since: August 16, 2007 Posts: 6 Comments: 12463
311. i feel your pain...err, cold...my friend!
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307. i remember thinking "wtf?!?!?" when the prof started talking about a Bessel J function! LOL
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309. boy, you're not lying about that!
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Quoting pearlandaggie:
305. dayum...where do you live? it's actually supposed to freeze here tonight :)

the low is forecast to be a balmy 29F :)
306 toronto,ont.canada
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 176 Comments: 55536
307. Atmo, i know what you were talking about and understood the point you were trying to make....i hope you didn't post all of that just for me! four semesters of engineering calculus is burned into my memory :)

by the way, i've been dying to ask you this...how do they calculate the windchill factor? is it through innuendo and observation or is it a more scientific endeavor that involves heat transfer coefficients? (i know i could look it up but i figured you'd like to showcase what fine school you went to! whoop!)
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Quoting pearlandaggie:
latest SC24 sunspot went *poof*...everything is clear again...

it will remain quiet a while yet its just that the longer we go without it the more likly of a big event to precede the rtn its happen before it will happen again just a matter of time only we have a lot more at stake this time around the last was just the telegraph
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 176 Comments: 55536
Quoting pearlandaggie:
wow...the blog is slow tonight....i guess everyone is worn out tonight :)


Well yes....quiet weather for over a week
Member Since: July 19, 2008 Posts: 43 Comments: 4051
Quoting pearlandaggie:
293. partial differential equations? what are those? why can't a computer solve them? what's a Taylor series?

LOL...just jerkin' your chain atmo...by the way, are your PDEs homogeneous today? :) are they of the third order? ;)


Remember sitting in a cal class and hearing the words "No real solution"? A Taylor series is the method used to get an answer that is close, wrong, but close. However far you carry out that Taylor series has a lot to do with how much error is present.
I think WRF, in research applications, gets carried out to the 7th term regularly, with the rest truncated. (trying to remember why it is always carried out to an odd number...anyone?...I know this but cannot recall it).

BTW, I think my post was the blog killer. My eyes glazed over while typing it...I imagine the same for those reading it...sorry.

The point is that a lot of equations are solvable and provable only if grossly simplified. For example the radiative transfer equation (RTE) in the atmosphere is provable through integration if you conveniently leave out the effect of clouds (an exceedingly variable component). Otherwise our friend 'no-real-solution' rears it's ugly head again.
Member Since: August 16, 2007 Posts: 6 Comments: 12463
305. dayum...where do you live? it's actually supposed to freeze here tonight :)

the low is forecast to be a balmy 29F :)
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cold has blasted by me its 11 f out with a chill -9f
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 176 Comments: 55536
by the way for those that haven't heard...


2008 Ends Spotless and with 266 Spotless Days, the #2 Least Active Year Since 1901, Portends Cooling
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latest SC24 sunspot went *poof*...everything is clear again...

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300. Ike, no offense, but I hate your name after this past September! :)
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298. well, what are you doing on here, then? LOL
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300. IKE
Check out the temperature and dew point in Minnesota.....

Minneapolis Crystal, Minnesota (Airport)
Updated: 40 min 30 sec ago
Overcast
-4 °F
Overcast
Windchill: -15 °F
Humidity: 59%
Dew Point: -15 °F
Wind: 5 mph from the ESE
Pressure: 30.20 in (Rising)
Visibility: 10.0 miles
UV: 0 out of 16
Clouds:
Mostly Cloudy 6000 ft
Overcast 7500 ft
(Above Ground Level)
Elevation: 866 ft
Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37860
Quoting HadesGodWyvern:
..or to cold to type anything


That too. I had to put on some pants and a jacket while I was in the house -- I normally don't have to do that, no matter how cold it gets. And I might be going to Mississippi in a couple of days, where lows could plummet into the teens on Thursday morning...
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Quoting pearlandaggie:
wow...the blog is slow tonight....i guess everyone is worn out tonight :)


I know I am... I've only slept for about an hour today.
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297. HadesGodWyvern (Mod)
..or to cold to type anything
Member Since: May 24, 2006 Posts: 52 Comments: 46530
wow...the blog is slow tonight....i guess everyone is worn out tonight :)
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293. partial differential equations? what are those? why can't a computer solve them? what's a Taylor series?

LOL...just jerkin' your chain atmo...by the way, are your PDEs homogeneous today? :) are they of the third order? ;)
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From wikipedia: "In 2000, the Canadian 32 m (100 ft) twin-hulled patrol boat St Roch II ran the Northwest Passage from west to east in nine weeks and was never obstructed by ice. "

So 2007 and 2008 were not the only years.
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The entire core of a climate model is derived from first facts - conservation equations are modified with assumptions such as hydrostatic equilibrium and then derived in such a way that we can add in a great deal of detail (such as the heat balances from cloud processes, as you alluded to - yeah, they're not that esoteric and yeah, they're in the models)

1. Let us not pretend that we have a real handle on the amplitudes of natural cycles in the past. We haven't effectively measured more than about 2/3 of the latest PDO cycle, for example. The physical equations representing the known natural variability are imperfect, in my opinion. Teleconnections of those cycles haven't been thoroughly fleshed out as well, again in my opinion.

2. Let us not also pretend that climate models can resolve any singular effect. Clouds, for example, are not actually resolved in most global weather models, much less climate models with timesteps in the order of days and months. The physical effects of clouds in weather models are parameterized. This means that they are estimated...correctly or incorrectly is still debatable after 50 years of building a better mousetrap in atmospheric modeling on the order of forecasting a week into the future. There has been work lately showing that a global weather model that does not resolve clouds cannot predict the patterns of the MJO, only a cloud-resolving model can. Would there not be an exact corollary in the realm of climate modeling? How do we know without skillfully predicting something?

3. Aside: Everyone here needs to be reminded that weather models NEVER actually solve the partial differential equations of motion. They only run a calculation of some number of terms of a taylor series and truncate the rest. There will ALWAYS be error present until the rules of calculus change and that error increases as the solution is used as a 'known' in the following equations. Do climate models actually solve the physics or do they have the same limitations? (I really dunno...want to)

I agree with barryweather...it is awfully nice to have real conversations about it all, rather than the name-calling, snide remarks, and attitudes that usually accompany this subject. (Which is why you will almost never see me in Rood's blog...that and tunnel boy)
Member Since: August 16, 2007 Posts: 6 Comments: 12463
futuremet thanks, i live in zephyrhills 40 miles ne of tampa and i think our rain is over. really could of used more but i will take what was given.
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Quoting counters:


Barry, I appreciate your perspective, but I can't adopt it. When someone says something that's wrong, then that should be called out. There are quite a few things that fire has been asserting that are just simply wrong. I know it's confrontational, but if someone is going to engage in debate, then they need to be willing to have their bluffs called and be corrected when they're incorrect. As for persuading minds, to be brutally honest, the majority of skeptics I know are beyond persuasion. A great deal of opinion towards AGW is derived from political cues, and those are difficult to over-ride. I'm not correcting misinformation to persuade skeptics that they're wrong; I'm correcting it so that other people who haven't yet formed their opinion aren't misled and tricked into adopting misleading or false information.



Or not. Your snark isn't appreciated, because you're committing the same false argument that I called fire out on. Some equations must be empirically derived because there is no easy way to get at them from a purely analytical stand point. But guess what? The entire core of a climate model is derived from first facts - conservation equations are modified with assumptions such as hydrostatic equilibrium and then derived in such a way that we can add in a great deal of detail (such as the heat balances from cloud processes, as you alluded to - yeah, they're not that esoteric and yeah, they're in the models). My comments towards fire go towards you to - Love the enthusiasm, but you really don't know what you're talking about. You'd be served very well if you went back to the primary literature and started over it.


Canehunter: The underwater volcano argument is absurd. You can do the math for yourself and see, a back-of-the-envelope calculation is all you need to show that the numbers are off by orders of magnitude. How much heat is released in a volcanic eruption, and how does an immense body of water between it and the sea ice affect how much thermal heat reaches the surface? It's a patently absurd argument which really doesn't even have much traction in the skeptic part of the blog-o-sphere. It even won RealClimate's "Most Bizarre New Contrarian Claim" for 2008.


If you all are interested in continuing this conversation, feel free to drop by Ricky Rood's blog.



So basically what your saying is it's really carefully figured guesstimating, So it's still just junk.

You can polish a turd, You know what it still is?

I see you failed to find a model that will help in the real world. When you do please let us all know. Fact is all the "solid" irrefutable evidence is well within the margin of error. For instance what is the standard deviation for thermometers? Can one derive a higher level of precision than is possible from a single instrument? By adding more of the same?

You are really barking up the wrong tree, first go back to 9th grade science and learn a bit about statistics and their proper analysis. Then we can talk about your "proof" or will it be poof!

P.S. the climate models don't take clouds into account. They do however take water vapor into account. Because without it any warming would be moot. Of course water vapor is self regulating, When the air gets a bit much we get rain.




To your point about realclimate....

Hahahahaha you trust Mann! I'm shocked. He doesn't believe in the little ice age, the roman optimum, or any temperature cycles. Just warmer now, it's true because I said it with this fancy chart. ha,ha

I bet you didn't learn on realclimate that co2 went down did you?
Member Since: September 3, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 444
Quoting severstorm:
i'm sorry futuremet spelled your name wrong.


That's okay

That depends where you live, the mesoscale low that moved through Northern FL was weak.

I live in Port St Lucie, and a weak squall line is about to our area, and will like get .5 inches of rain.

If you live farther north however, that's all the rain for today lol.
Member Since: July 19, 2008 Posts: 43 Comments: 4051
289. HadesGodWyvern (Mod)
(First full advisory from RSMC Nadi on a cyclone.) - wow sort of a slow season than previous two year with Xaxier in November in 2007 and Daman in 2008.

Fiji Meteorological Services
Tropical Disturbance Advisory Number ONE
TROPICAL DEPRESSION FIVE-F
6:00 AM FST January 14 2009
====================================

At 18:00 PM UTC, Tropical Depression Five-F (999 hPa) located at 15.4S 170.7E has 10 minute sustained winds of 25 knots with gusts of 30 knots. The depression is reported as moving east-southeast at 15 knots and is expected to curve on a more southeast track.

Position POOR based on multispectral enhanced infrared imagery with animation, latest SSMIS Pass, and peripheral surface observations.

The sytsem lies embedded in an active monsoonal trough, under the 250 HPA subtropical ridge in a region of decreasing shear and increasing diffluence. Deep convection has popped close to the low level circulation center to the west and south with spiraling rain bands evident to the east. An active convergence zone remains to the north. Dvorak Intensity based on curved band patter yield DT=PT=2.0 and MET=2.5.

FT based on DT, resulting in T2.0/2.0/D0.5/24 HRS;

Outflow and convection are expected to increase significantly in the next 12-18 horus as an amplifying under trough migrating from the southwest starts to influence TD FIVE. TD FIVE is expected to intensify further as it continues to track southeast in a region of low environmental shear.

Global models (EC/GFS) are not picking this small system, while the UK model identifies a wak circulation where TD FIVE is located but does not develop it. The models are currently indentifying a low analyzed to the south of Fiji and rapidly deepening it while moving the system to the southeast in the next 12-24 hours.

POTENTIAL FOR 05F TO DEVELOP INTO A TROPICAL CYCLONE IN THE NEXT 24 HOURS IS MODERATE.
Member Since: May 24, 2006 Posts: 52 Comments: 46530
i'm sorry futuremet spelled your name wrong.
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sorry DDR the snow is mine =) all mine =) LOL

you can have the ice though, all that you want.

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futermet, when will this rain be? only got .11 of an inch today
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285. DDR
Quoting Bonedog:
yea conchy hopefully no more ice. We still have 1/2 inch of ice on all the trees and under the 5 inches of snow. And with all this cold weather I dont see the ice going anywhere anytime soon
Could you send some of that snow and ice to Trinidad,its hot & dry.
Piarco international
27 C
Partly Cloudy
Humidity: 70%
Wind: 13 km/h / 3.6 m/s from the ENE
Heat Index: 29 C

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yea conchy hopefully no more ice. We still have 1/2 inch of ice on all the trees and under the 5 inches of snow. And with all this cold weather I dont see the ice going anywhere anytime soon
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Quoting barryweather:
Counters- You raise very valid points and overall your post is very good. You have to be careful how you address people given that this is a sensitive subject if you really want them to hear you. Using words like wrong to describe someone's thinking will only deepen the divide.



Barry, I appreciate your perspective, but I can't adopt it. When someone says something that's wrong, then that should be called out. There are quite a few things that fire has been asserting that are just simply wrong. I know it's confrontational, but if someone is going to engage in debate, then they need to be willing to have their bluffs called and be corrected when they're incorrect. As for persuading minds, to be brutally honest, the majority of skeptics I know are beyond persuasion. A great deal of opinion towards AGW is derived from political cues, and those are difficult to over-ride. I'm not correcting misinformation to persuade skeptics that they're wrong; I'm correcting it so that other people who haven't yet formed their opinion aren't misled and tricked into adopting misleading or false information.

Quoting Stanb999:
empirically derive equations....Haha...:)

WOW, That is a fancy way for saying guesstimating.


Or not. Your snark isn't appreciated, because you're committing the same false argument that I called fire out on. Some equations must be empirically derived because there is no easy way to get at them from a purely analytical stand point. But guess what? The entire core of a climate model is derived from first facts - conservation equations are modified with assumptions such as hydrostatic equilibrium and then derived in such a way that we can add in a great deal of detail (such as the heat balances from cloud processes, as you alluded to - yeah, they're not that esoteric and yeah, they're in the models). My comments towards fire go towards you to - Love the enthusiasm, but you really don't know what you're talking about. You'd be served very well if you went back to the primary literature and started over it.


Canehunter: The underwater volcano argument is absurd. You can do the math for yourself and see, a back-of-the-envelope calculation is all you need to show that the numbers are off by orders of magnitude. How much heat is released in a volcanic eruption, and how does an immense body of water between it and the sea ice affect how much thermal heat reaches the surface? It's a patently absurd argument which really doesn't even have much traction in the skeptic part of the blog-o-sphere. It even won RealClimate's "Most Bizarre New Contrarian Claim" for 2008.


If you all are interested in continuing this conversation, feel free to drop by Ricky Rood's blog.
Member Since: February 4, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 166
Bone: Hopefully no more of those nasty ice storms and lots of your beloved snow!
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281. unf97
Good evening! We have been tremendously spoiled by such an unseasonably warm period since mid-December here in Jax area. It has been nice, but all good things eventually comes to an end. A low pressure area which organized earlier today off the GA coast bought us a rainy, cold day here in Jax. I just measured just under an inch of rain. Temperature only 49 degrees. That temp has been holding steady all day long. Old man winter is about to come in full force from now until the end of this upcoming weekend. A peek at the latest GFS runs have trended even colder than past runs. The arctic express is coming full blast as a massive arctic high pressure area (>1050mb) descends from the central Canadian provinces to the Northern Plains by Thursday morning. The High center only weakens slightly (1045 mb) dropping S-SE near Western Tennessee region by Friday morning, settling over the SE US. This has all the makings for being the coldest air mass of the winter for many in the Eastern ConUS. Here in Jax, latest forecast calls for minimum temps Thursday morning near 30 degrees. The arctic boundary will plow through during the day Thursday, with the coldest air arriving Friday-Saturday period. Forecast low of 21 degrees both Friday and Saturday mornings. Max temps mid 40s Friday, low 50s Saturday. Temps may possibly dip into the upper teens inland areas NE FL/ SE GA as well. NWS Jax in area forecast discussion noted that we potentially will see the coldest temps since 2003. Significant freezes expected here through the upcoming weekend.
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More rain is to come for central fl
Member Since: July 19, 2008 Posts: 43 Comments: 4051
279. unf97
Good evening! We have been tremendously spoiled by such an unseasonably warm period since mid-December here in Jax area. It has been nice, but all good things eventually comes to an end. Old man winter is about to come in full force from now until the end of this upcoming weekend. A peek at the latest GFS runs have trended even colder than past runs. The arctic express is coming full blast as a massive arctic high pressure area (>1050mb) descends from the central Canadian provinces to the Northern Plains by Thursday morning. The High center only weakens slightly (1045 mb) dropping S-SE near Western Tennessee region by Friday morning. This has all the makings for being the coldest air mass of the winter for many in the Eastern ConUS. Here in Jax, latest forecast calls for minimum temps Thursday morning near 30 degrees. The arctic boundary will plow through during the day Thursday, with the coldest air arriving Friday-Sat period. Forecast low of 21 degrees both Friday and Saturday mornings. Max temps mid 40s Friday, low 50s Saturday. Temps may possibly dip into the upper teens inland areas NE FL/ SE GA as well. NWS Jax in area forecast discussion nboted that we potentially will see the coldest temps since 2003. Significant freezes expected here through the upcoming weekend.
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278. ayi
Rather than heading south, ex-TC Charlotte is making its way back into the south east of the Gulf of Carpentaria. With a ridge coming in off the Indian Ocean it could see the system pushed further up into the Gulf. It's in an area of lower wind shear and the old girl could fire up again. But if I'm reading it right, there doesn't seem to be much convergence.

Further to the west, a low has developed in the Joseph Bonaparte Gulf, with low wind shear and better convergence.

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Thank you Stan. Thanks to all who have contributed to the conversation.
276. P451
Quoting NEwxguy:
This January doesn't surprise me too much,last January here in the northeast we were much above normal,and many times the following year will be opposite.


You guys further north have not experienced it but not since 2002 have us down south, such as central Jersey and southward, have experienced anything even close to a "normal" winter both in temperature or precip. We've been much above and in six years maybe had 1 or 2 typical deep winter storms (you know, 8-16 inches or so). The past 3 years, aside from a major damaging ice storm, we've had dustings, 1 inch slushes, 3 inch powders, etc.

This year though, it's been colder than it's been since 2002. Where I live we do go on about a 6-8 year cycle where that one year we get wrecked with several huge snow storms. We've missed a few so far but I'm confident we're going to get whacked soon enough - I'm expecting February to be the month where the coastal pipeline sets up. It did it in 2002 why not this year since everything else has lined up.

We'll see....
Member Since: December 16, 2007 Posts: 7 Comments: 10202
LOL conchy No I dont think its silly. Cold is realative. 60s for you folks is cold but not us. Negative temps for me is cold but to someone from say Alaska its not.

I plan on staying warm =) been preping for some time now knowing we were going to get clobbered with the cold.
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I guess I would sound like I'm whining too if I said it was 47 here. Too cold for my tastes...kicked the heat way up and put on a coat.
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Quoting CaneHunter031472:


My apologies. I was trying to understand what you had posted and that is what I figured, anyway instead of taking it as an insult which it was not my intention just take it as an addition to your great posting ok.



No insult taken, The thing is there is so much pressure right now to do something to prevent "the global climate from changing". They don't even say warming or cooling. Barryweather is right in this regard.

We need to be concise in our dealings on forums such as this. Tell the truth, but don't shout it. It doesn't add to a conversation. It will turn off a lot of folks that are on the fence. When you see a fallacy point it out. Tell them why. You will find common ground. This is more important than small talking points.

For instance BarryWeather is more concerned with pollution and quality of life. Aren't we all really. I mean who wants to ruin the planet for the future? Common ground is easy to find, in fact if you read his posts you will find that he to is unsure of anthropogenic global warming. So by attacking with both guns blazed you force folks to duck and cover. That isn't a good way to have a conversation.
Member Since: September 3, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 444
Hey Bone: You must laugh at us Floridian's talking about the cold weather when you are about to see the --'s
Stay warm!
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hey surfmom!

61 degrees how I wish LOL stay warm and keep the animals warm as well.

Heading to a frigid negative 2 here wind chill values 15 to 20 below. Advisories will be posted in the next day as we will not see windchills above zero until saturday sometime

they are also hinting at a major coastal storm early next week =)

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Quoting Stanb999:


Are you kidding me? I was giving a rebuttal to his argument.

If you read my posts above you maybe pleasantly surprised. To your you guys statement. read up then return. Speaking when one doesn't know the subject at hand leaves a not so fresh feeling for all.


My apologies. I was trying to understand what you had posted and that is what I figured, anyway instead of taking it as an insult which it was not my intention just take it as an addition to your great posting ok.
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Quoting surfmom:
Down to 61 degrees from 70 degrees an hour ago...El Norte has arrived :(


Keep warm!!!
Member Since: September 3, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 444

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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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