Arctic temperatures the warmest in 2,000 years; 2009 Arctic sea ice loss 3rd highest

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 2:32 PM GMT on September 04, 2009

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It's time to take a bit of a break from coverage of the Atlantic hurricane season of 2009, and report on some important climate news. The past decade was the warmest decade in the Arctic for the past 2,000 years, according to a study called "Recent Warming Reverses Long-Term Arctic Cooling" published today in the journal Science. Furthermore, four of the five warmest decades in the past 2,000 years occurred between 1950 - 2000, despite the fact that summertime solar radiation in the Arctic has been steadily declining for the past 2,000 years. Previous efforts to reconstruct past climate in the Arctic extended back only 400 years, so the new study--which used lake sediments, glacier ice cores, and tree rings to look at past climate back to the time of Christ, decade by decade-- is a major new milestone in our understanding of the Arctic climate. The researchers found that Arctic temperatures steadily declined between 1 A.D. and 1900 A.D., as would be expected due to a 26,000-year cycle in Earth's orbit that brought less summer sunshine to the North Pole. Earth is now about 620,000 miles (1 million km) farther from the Sun in the Arctic summer than it was 2000 years ago. However, temperatures in the Arctic began to rise around the year 1900, and are now 1.4°C (2.5°F) warmer than they should be, based on the amount of sunlight that is currently falling in the Arctic in summer. "If it hadn't been for the increase in human-produced greenhouse gases, summer temperatures in the Arctic should have cooled gradually over the last century," Bette Otto-Bliesner, a co-author from the National Center for Atmospheric Research, said in a statement.

The Arctic melt season of 2009
Arctic sea ice suffered another summer of significant melting in 2009, with August ice extent the third lowest on record, according to the National Snow and Ice Data Center. August ice extent was 19% below the 1979 - 2000 average, and only 2007 and 2008 saw more melting of Arctic sea ice. We've now had two straight years in the Arctic without a new record minimum in sea ice. However, this does not mean that the Arctic sea ice is recovering. The reduced melting in 2009 compared to 2007 and 2008 primarily resulted from a different atmospheric circulation pattern this summer. This pattern generated winds that transported ice toward the Siberian coast and discouraged export of ice out of the Arctic Ocean. The previous two summers, the prevailing wind pattern acted to transport more ice out of the Arctic through Fram Strait, along the east side of Greenland. At last December'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, and 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, and it may be another ten or so years before weather conditions align properly to set a new record minimum.

The Northeast Passage opens
As a result of this summer's melting, the Northeast Passage, a notoriously ice-choked sea route along the northern Russia, is now clear of ice and open for navigation. Satellite analyses by the University of Illinois Polar Research Group and the National Snow and Ice Data Center show that the last remaining ice blockage along the north coast of Russia melted in late August, allowing navigation from Europe to Alaska in ice-free waters. Mariners have been attempting to sail the Northeast Passage since 1553, and it wasn't until the record-breaking Arctic sea-ice melt year of 2005 that the Northeast Passage opened for ice-free navigation for the first time in recorded history. The fabled Northwest Passage through the Arctic waters of Canada has remained closed this summer, however. An atmospheric pressure pattern set up in late July that created winds that pushed old, thick ice into several of the channels of the Northwest Passage. Recent research by Stephen Howell at the University of Waterloo in Canada shows that whether the Northwest Passage clears depends less on how much melt occurs, and more on whether multi-year sea ice is pushed into the channels. Counter-intuitively, as the ice cover thins, ice may flow more easily into the channels, preventing the Northwest Passage from regularly opening in coming decades, if the prevailing winds set up to blow ice into the channels of the Passage. The Northwest Passage opened for the first time in recorded history in 2007, and again in 2008. Mariners have been attempting to find a route through the Northwest Passage since 1497.


Figure 1. Sea ice extent on September 2, 2009, with the Northwest Passage (red line) and Northeast Passage (green line) shown. The Northeast Passage was open, but the Northwest Passage was blocked in three places. The orange line shows the median edge of sea ice extent for September 2 during the period 1979 - 2000, and this year's ice extent is about 19% below average. Image credit: National Snow and Ice Data Center.

Commercial shipping begins in the Northeast Passage
This year's opening marks the fourth time in five years that the Northeast Passage has opened, and commercial shipping companies are taking note. Two German ships set off on August 21 on the first commercial voyage ever made through the Northeast Passage without the help of icebreakers. The Northeast Passage trims 4,500 miles off the 12,500 mile trip through the Suez Canal, yielding considerable savings in fuel. The voyage was not possible last year, because Russia had not yet worked out a permitting process. With Arctic sea ice expected to continue to decline in the coming decades, shipping traffic through the Northeast Passage will likely become commonplace most summers.

When was the Northeast Passage ice-free in the past?
People have been attempting to penetrate the ice-bound Northeast Passage since 1553, when British explorer Sir Hugh Willoughby attempted the passage with three ships and 62 men. The frozen bodies of Sir Hugh and his men were found a year later, after they failed to make it past the northern coast of Finland. British explorer Henry Hudson, who died in 1611 trying to find a route through Canada's fabled Northwest Passage, (and whom Canada's Hudson Bay and New York's Hudson River are named after), attempted to sail the Northeast Passage in 1607 and 1608, and failed. The Northeast Passage has remained closed to navigation, except via assist by icebreakers, from 1553 to 2005. The results published in Science today suggest that prior to 2005, the last previous opening was the period 5,000 - 7,000 years ago, when the Earth's orbital variations brought more sunlight to the Arctic in summer than at present. It is possible we'll know better soon. A new technique that examines organic compounds left behind in Arctic sediments by diatoms that live in sea ice give hope that a detailed record of sea ice extent extending back to the end of the Ice Age 12,000 years ago may be possible (Belt et al., 2007). The researchers are studying sediments along the Northwest Passage in hopes of being able to determine when the Passage was last open.

References
Belt, S.T., G. Masse, S.J. Rowland, M. Poulin, C. Michel, and B. LeBlanc, "A novel chemical fossil of palaeo sea ice: IP25", Organic Geochemistry, Volume 38, Issue 1, January 2007, Pages 16-27.

Darrell S. Kaufman, David P. Schneider, Nicholas P. McKay, Caspar M. Ammann, Raymond S. Bradley, Keith R. Briffa, Gifford H. Miller, Bette L. Otto-Bliesner, Jonathan T. Overpeck, Bo M. Vinther, and Arctic Lakes 2k Project Members, 2009, "Recent Warming Reverses Long-Term Arctic Cooling", Science 4 September 2009: 1236-1239.

Howell, S. E. L., C. R. Duguay, and T. Markus. 2009. Sea ice conditions and melt season duration variability within the Canadian Arctic Archipelago: 1979.2008, Geophys. Res. Lett., 36, L10502, doi:10.1029/2009GL037681.

Tropical Weather Outlook
The remains of Tropical Storm Erika are bringing heavy rain to Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands today, and this activity will spread to the Dominican Republic on Saturday. Radar-estimated rainfall shows up to three inches of rain has fallen in eastern Puerto Rico from the storm. Long range radar out of Puerto Rico shows no surface circulation or organization of the echoes, and redevelopment of Erika over the next three days is unlikely to occur due to high wind shear of 25 - 30 knots. By Monday or Tuesday, shear may drop enough to allow redevelopment, depending upon the location of Erika's remains. Redevelopment is more likely if Erika works its way northwestward into the Bahamas.

A large tropical wave with plenty of spin is located a few hundred miles southwest of the Cape Verdes Islands, off the coast of Africa. Heavy thunderstorm activity has increased slightly in this wave over the past day, and it has the potential to gradually develop into a tropical depression by early next week. NHC is giving this wave a low (less than 30% chance) of developing into a tropical depression by Sunday. The GFS model continues to predict development of this wave into a tropical depression early next week.

I'll have an update Saturday or Sunday, depending upon developments in the tropics.

Jeff Masters

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Quoting Orcasystems:


I never trusted that Betty... she was to S&I, I think it was a front.


It was the walk!
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Quoting Ossqss:


LoL, check this name out -- and it is real --

Brfxxccxxmnpcccclllmmnprxvclmnckssqlbb11116 (Pronounced "albin"). In 1991, Elisabeth Hallin and Lasse Diding wanted to protest the naming law of Sweden, which states that the court can diapprove of names that "for some obvious reason are not suitable as a first name." They were fined 5,000 kronor (about $680 at the time).


And another funny one (though not quite as awesome as that):

Link

Seriously, why would you wanna give your child such a bad name so they're bullied forever? Makes no sense to me...
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Quoting 954FtLCane:


S & I ?, sorry but what is that


Like myself... Sweet & Innocent
Member Since: October 1, 2007 Posts: 81 Comments: 26511
Quoting Cotillion:


From the Hurricane Fabian Wiki...

"The service received a list of over 30 names, including Forrest and Frodo, after the character in The Lord of the Rings.[51]."

Go figure.


lol lol
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1722. Ossqss
Quoting Weather456:
Next year's Fiona which replaced Frances 2004. I mean c'mon, replacing a bad hurricane with a bad name. I wouldnt be surprise to she Shrek use one of these years.


LoL, check this name out -- and it is real --

Brfxxccxxmnpcccclllmmnprxvclmnckssqlbb11116 (Pronounced "albin"). In 1991, Elisabeth Hallin and Lasse Diding wanted to protest the naming law of Sweden, which states that the court can diapprove of names that "for some obvious reason are not suitable as a first name." They were fined 5,000 kronor (about $680 at the time).
Member Since: June 12, 2005 Posts: 6 Comments: 8185
Quoting Orcasystems:


I never trusted that Betty... she was to S&I, I think it was a front.


S & I ?, sorry but what is that
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why hasn't the nhc updated their sat. imagery? still showing from last night. erika still has not gone away. she is still lurking like a serial killer in the night gonna pop up on us and catch us all off guard
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Quoting Weather456:
Next year's Fiona which replaced Frances 2004. I mean c'mon, replacing a bad hurricane with a bad name. I wouldnt be surprise to she Shrek use one of these years.


From the Hurricane Fabian Wiki...

"The service received a list of over 30 names, including Forrest and Frodo, after the character in The Lord of the Rings.[51]."

Go figure.
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Quoting Cotillion:


Remnants of Erika, I think.

Which can't do anything in such a hostile environment. About the only place with a marginal environment is the NE Bahamas. (Okay, and maybe near Costa Rica.)
Thanks, I guess my eyes are fooling me again.
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Quoting Weather456:
Next year's Fiona which replaced Frances 2004. I mean c'mon, replacing a bad hurricane with a bad name. I wouldnt be surprise to she Shrek use one of these years.


Now now 456... For us older people who have been around the block a few times.. some of these names are good.. the name Fiona brings back some very fond memories from my youth, Grade 10 I think it was :)
Member Since: October 1, 2007 Posts: 81 Comments: 26511
Next year's Fiona which replaced Frances 2004. I mean c'mon, replacing a bad hurricane with a bad name. I wouldnt be surprise to she Shrek use one of these years.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
This is the epitome of the model forecasting this summer...

From Houston NWS

THE GFS AND ECMWF DIFFER SIGNIFICANTLY AGAIN BEGINNING TUESDAY ON
THE LATEST RUN. THE ECMWF SHOWS AN INVERTED UPPER TROUGH
ESTABLISHING ITSELF OVER TEXAS THE LATTER HALF OF NEXT WEEK ALONG
WITH AN INFLUX OF DEEP TROPICAL MOISTURE (PWS 2.0-2.3 INCHES) AND
A SFC BOUNDARY SETTING UP OVER THE AREA. THE GFS SHOWS MORE
RIDGING/TYPICAL SUMMER CONDITIONS IN PLACE...

Lol. Take your pick. Geesh!
Member Since: August 15, 2008 Posts: 10 Comments: 3665
Quoting Weather456:


Meanwhile, the remnants of Erika are now interacting with an upper low south of Bermuda to produce numerous scattered showers across Santo Domingo and Puerto. Little development expected.

My Tropical Update
Thanks
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Quoting Weather456:
Fred is sometimes short for Frederick but that name is already used I think is retired.


Never quite understood why they did. Frederic has been retired yeah, from 1979.

Like, they used both Diana and Diane.
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Fred is sometimes short for Frederick but that name is already used I think is retired.
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Don't quote Lucario, he's an idiot troll. Fact of the matter he just called out Hurricane Ike is enough to tell you he's a troll.
Member Since: July 8, 2005 Posts: 259 Comments: 23568
Quoting stormsurge39:
Is there anything to the flare up around PR?


Meanwhile, the remnants of Erika are now interacting with an upper low south of Bermuda to produce numerous scattered showers across Santo Domingo and Puerto. Little development expected.

My Tropical Update
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Quoting stormsurge39:
Is there anything to the flare up around PR?


Remnants of Erika, I think.

Which can't do anything in such a hostile environment. About the only place with a marginal environment is the NE Bahamas. (Okay, and maybe near Costa Rica.)
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Quoting Orcasystems:
I just got emailed some very good pictures from the storm in Ont in the 3rd week of July... I just sent them a reply email asking for permission to post them in the Blog... actually they are spectacular pictures of the weather.

Sounds nice.
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Quoting Cotillion:


Barney should be up soon.

Betty and Wilma have already been used...


I never trusted that Betty... she was to S&I, I think it was a front.
Member Since: October 1, 2007 Posts: 81 Comments: 26511
I just got emailed some very good pictures from the storm in Ont in the 3rd week of July... I just sent them a reply email asking for permission to post them in the Blog... actually they are spectacular pictures of the weather.
Member Since: October 1, 2007 Posts: 81 Comments: 26511
Quoting Orcasystems:


I like that name.. it sounds friendly.. unlike some of the choices they have had in the past.


Barney should be up soon.

Betty and Wilma have already been used...
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1704. Ossqss
Interesting stuff a ways out, if it happens, LoL

Member Since: June 12, 2005 Posts: 6 Comments: 8185
Quoting Weather456:
Fred


Take that LUCARIO!
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Blog Update
Reflector site for those at work, includes Dr. Masters & Weather456, daily update.


AOI

AOI

AOI

AOI
Member Since: October 1, 2007 Posts: 81 Comments: 26511
Is there anything to the flare up around PR?
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Quoting Weather456:
Fred



I like that name.. it sounds friendly.. unlike some of the choices they have had in the past.
Member Since: October 1, 2007 Posts: 81 Comments: 26511


As has been said.. towards the end of the month things could get interesting again.

CFS has it weaker (as it always does though showing deep subsidence right now) but still shows something coming in early October.
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Fred, but look at this frontal trough to its NW

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Quoting Ossqss:
Mornin, is it safe to talk about the tropics in here :)





Nice looking wave to emerge later today at a southern latitude.
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Quoting StormW:
Futuremet, BTW, you've been doing a great job on here this season...another asset to the blog.


Thanks Storm
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Quoting LUCARIO:
I TOLD YOU this season would be nothing, its 1983 part 2. Erika will be the last storm, it is too strong out their for a hurricane. you can put a sock in this hurricane season. I seen rain storms stronger then this hurricane season. RIP THIS HURRICANE SEASON. But bill was alot stronger then TROPICAL WAVE IKE. Death to 2009 hurricane season

told yall it be weak

now its time to party before

And put a sock in it

Stormno, and skykid were right

this season is a bust







Reported.
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Quoting StormW:


Good morning futuremet:

The thing I've been looking at is the CFS forecast map which is located under forecast models on the Accuweather Pro site. It did a great job last season as far a MSLP. It has been consistent all season with showing a monthly MSLP of a weaker A/B ridge, with mean values for September at 1021mb, October 1018mb, and November 1020mb.

The screwy thing about that is, the NAO Ensemble run shows a positive NAO for the remanider of this month...however that has changed at least 2-3 times in the past couple of weeks:



Kinda confusing on what to go with...but the CFS model, MSLP mean has been showing the same pattern now since June.


Yep confusing is right. At the same time the ECMWF is predicting a negative NAO they are recurving or dropping the storms off Africa. And the one Tampa mentioned behind these two. The Euro just has it sitting and spinning. Weird year. Lol.
Member Since: August 15, 2008 Posts: 10 Comments: 3665
Quoting LUCARIO:
i told yall 95 WOULD BE ON YELLOW, MARK MY WORDS HE WILL BE GONE TODAY AT 2PM

RIP 2009
alright man, we get it u think season is done. save the space for someone with something interesting to say.
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Yeah, the GFS has the B/A High way north than it usual is, basically having it centred over my head.

Then has the developing wave basically go up before even hitting 40W. Straight up. Doesn't happen too often.

Hopefully make for nice weather. Right now, it is cool and wet... once again.

As for the LBar... "even a blind squirrel finds a nut now and then"?
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1691. Ossqss
Quoting StormW:


Trof split.


Thanks StormW, just catching up on some of the other discussions and it is referenced

From crownweather trop discussion yesterday -

"The final item I want to mention is the fact that some of the computer forecast guidance is hinting at one to two trough splits over the next week or so in the Gulf of Mexico. Wind shear values in the Gulf of Mexico are unfavorable for development and are forecast to remain unfavorable for at least the next 3 to 4 days. It was interesting to note that the latest European model (12Z) shows some sort of low pressure development towards later next week in the northern Gulf of Mexico. With forecasted high pressure over New England, this would be a possible scenario of a homegrown system forming at the end of a trough split in the northern Gulf of Mexico. It is something to keep in the back of your mind, but for now it is a remote possibility"

Member Since: June 12, 2005 Posts: 6 Comments: 8185
Quoting LUCARIO:
i give 0% of another storm forming

How many times do you have to explain this?
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Quoting StormW:


That's another strange thing this season...usually the LBAR is off in la la land.


not one of the models I look to, but as we say here - "Every dump pan has it cover"
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Quoting TampaSpin:


Actually the models dont look like they develop 95L but, do develop the wave that will be approaching and rolling off Africa!


very true. Ships and other reliable models show shear increasing over 95L but the ECMWF blows up the wave behind.

Luckily, it lines up perfectly with the pronounce weakness so this 1 seems fish

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Quoting Ossqss:



What's up with the GOM potential?


According to New Orleans...

MARINE...
LIGHT TO OCCASIONALLY MODERATE SOUTHEASTERLY FLOW WILL PREVAIL
THROUGH THE WEEKEND. A WEAK AREA OF LOW PRESSURE IS FORECAST TO
DEVELOP ALONG AN OLD TROUGH OVER THE GULF AND TRACK TOWARD THE
LOUISIANA COAST LATE SUNDAY INTO MONDAY. THERE IS STILL SOME
UNCERTAINTY AS TO EXACTLY WHERE ALONG THE LOUISIANA COAST THIS
FEATURE WILL ACTUALLY MOVE INTO WITH MODELS OFFERING VARIOUS SOLUTIONS
..BUT AT THIS TIME WE ARE FORECASTING THE LOW TO MOVE INTO THE
SOUTHEAST LOUISIANA COASTAL WATERS WEST OF THE MISSISSIPPI RIVER AND
THEN INLAND AT THE BEGINNING OF THE WEEK. THIS FEATURE MAY CAUSE
WINDS TO INCREASE A BIT WITH CORRESPONDINGLY HIGHER SEAS.
Member Since: August 15, 2008 Posts: 10 Comments: 3665
If you've ever wondered how MJO really makes a difference... look at this:



40W and east is where it isn't subsidence. Look at 1667 for the image closer to Africa.
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Also something interesting, the LBAR out performed all models with Erika. It continued to verified and actually did predicted that Erika would move SW into the NE Caribbean Sea and towards Puerto Rico.
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Quoting StormW:


That would be a definite.


Actually the models dont look like they develop 95L but, do develop the wave that will be approaching and rolling off Africa!
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1681. Ossqss



What's up with the GOM potential?
Member Since: June 12, 2005 Posts: 6 Comments: 8185
Quoting AllBoardedUp:
Lucario, how many times are you going to repeat the same thing over and over again? Somebody give the parrot a cracker, please!


dont see any of his posts..hmmmmm, oh yeah i know why..duh..LOL
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Quoting AllBoardedUp:
Lucario, how many times are you going to repeat the same thing over and over again? Somebody give the parrot a cracker, please!


ignore him and he will leave
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Lucario, how many times are you going to repeat the same thing over and over again? Somebody give the parrot a cracker, please!
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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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