Florida shivers; Hot Arctic-Cold Continents pattern is back

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 5:36 PM GMT on December 14, 2010

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Cold air sweeping southwards behind the fierce snowstorm that roared through the Upper Midwest over the weekend is bringing record low temperatures over much of the Southeast this morning. However, preliminary indications are that Central Florida's orange groves fared better than expected, and there were no reports of widespread damage to the orange crop. Record lows this morning included 32°F at West Palm Beach, 50°F in Key West, and 20°F in Jacksonville. Cold air flowing over the relatively warm waters of Lake Erie and Lake Ontario are creating heavy lake-effect snows, with 5 – 9 inches of new snow expected near Cleveland, OH today, and 2 – 5 inches near Syracuse, NY.

Hot Arctic-Cold Continents
I'm in San Francisco this week for the world's largest gathering of Earth scientists, the annual American Geophysical Union (AGU) conference. Over 15,000 scientists have descended upon the city, and there are a ridiculous number of fascinating talks on every conceivable aspect of Earth science, including, of course, climate change. One talk I attended yesterday was called, "Hot Arctic-Cold Continents: Hemispheric Impacts of Arctic Change.” The talk was given by Dr. Jim Overland of NOAA's Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory, one of the world's experts on Arctic weather and climate (I spent many long months flying in the Arctic with him during the three Arctic field programs I participated in during the late 1980s.) Dr. Overland discussed the remarkable winter of 2009 – 2010, which brought record snowstorms to Europe and the U.S. East Coast, along with the coldest temperatures in 25 years, but also brought the warmest winter on record to Canada and much of the Arctic. He demonstrated that the Arctic is normally dominated by low pressure in winter, and a “Polar Vortex” of counter-clockwise circulating winds develops surrounding the North Pole. However, during the winter of 2009-2010, high pressure replaced low pressure over the Arctic, and the Polar Vortex weakened and even reversed at times, with a clockwise flow of air replacing the usual counter-clockwise flow of air around the pole. This unusual flow pattern allowed cold air to spill southwards and be replaced by warm air moving poleward. This pattern is kind of like leaving the refrigerator door ajar--the refrigerator warms up, but all of the cold air spills out into the house.


Figure 1. Conceptual diagram of how Arctic sea ice loss affects winter weather, from NOAA's Future of Arctic Sea Ice and Global Impacts web page.

The North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO)
This is all part of a natural climate pattern known as the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO), which took on its most extreme configuration in 145 years of record keeping during the winter of 2009 – 2010. The NAO is a climate pattern in the North Atlantic Ocean of fluctuations in the difference of sea-level pressure between the Icelandic Low and the Azores High. It is one of oldest known climate oscillations--seafaring Scandinavians described the pattern several centuries ago. Through east-west oscillation motions of the Icelandic Low and the Azores High, the NAO controls the strength and direction of westerly winds and storm tracks across the North Atlantic. A large difference in the pressure between Iceland and the Azores (positive NAO) leads to increased westerly winds and mild and wet winters in Europe. Positive NAO conditions also cause the Icelandic Low to draw a stronger south-westerly flow of air over eastern North America, preventing Arctic air from plunging southward. In contrast, if the difference in sea-level pressure between Iceland and the Azores is small (negative NAO), westerly winds are suppressed, allowing Arctic air to spill southwards into eastern North America more readily. Negative NAO winters tend to bring cold winters to Europe and the U.S. East Coast, but leads to very warm conditions in the Arctic, since all the cold air spilling out of the Arctic gets replaced by warm air flowing poleward.

The winter of 2009 - 2010 had the most extreme negative NAO since record keeping began in 1865. This "Hot Arctic-Cold Continents pattern", resulting in a reversal of Polar Vortex and high pressure replacing low pressure over the Arctic, had occurred previously in only four winters during the past 160 years—1969, 1963, 1936, and 1881. Dr. Overland called the winter of 2009 – 2010 at least as surprising at the record 2007 loss of Arctic sea ice. He suspected that Arctic sea ice loss was a likely culprit for the event, since Francis et al. (2009) found that during 1979 - 2006, years that had unusually low summertime Arctic sea ice had a 10 - 20% reduction in the temperature difference between the Equator and North Pole. This resulted in a weaker jet stream with slower winds that lasted a full six months, through fall and winter. The weaker jet caused a weaker Aleutian Low and Icelandic Low during the winter, resulting in a more negative North Atlantic Oscillation, allowing cold air to spill out of the Arctic and into Europe and the Eastern U.S. Dr. Overland also stressed that natural chaos in the weather/climate system also played a role, as well as the El Niño/La Niña cycle and natural oscillations in stratospheric winds. Not every year that we see extremely high levels of Arctic sea ice loss will have a strongly negative NAO winter. For example, the record Arctic sea ice loss year of 2007 saw only a modest perturbation to the Arctic Vortex and the NAO during the winter of 2007 – 2008.

However, the strongly negative NAO is back again this winter. High pressure has replaced low pressure over the North Pole, and according to NOAA, the NAO index during November 2010 was the second lowest since 1950. This strongly negative NAO has continued into December, and we are on course to have a top-five most extreme December NAO. Cold air is once again spilling southwards into the Eastern U.S. And Europe, bringing record cold and fierce snowstorms. At the same time, warm air is flowing into the Arctic to replace the cold air spilling south--temperatures averaged more than 10°C (18°F) above average over much of Greenland so far this month. The latest 2-week forecast from the GFS model predicts that the Hot Arctic-Cold Continents pattern will continue for the next two weeks. However, the coldest air has sloshed over into Europe and Asia, and North America will see relatively seasonable temperatures the next two weeks.

For more information
The NOAA web page, Future of Arctic Sea Ice and Global Impacts has a nice summary of the “Hot Arctic-Cold Continents” winter pattern.

NOAA's Arctic Report Card is also a good source of information.

Francis, J. A., W. Chan, D. J. Leathers, J. R. Miller, and D. E. Veron, 2009: Winter northern hemisphere weather patterns remember summer Arctic sea-ice extent. Geophys. Res. Lett., 36, L07503, doi:10.1029/2009GL037274.

Honda, M., J. Inoue, and S. Yamane, 2009: Influence of low Arctic sea-ice minima on anomalously cold Eurasian winters. Geophys. Res. Lett., 36, L08707, doi:10.1029/2008GL037079.

Overland, J. E., and M. Wang, 2010: Large-scale atmospheric circulation changes associated with the recent loss of Arctic sea ice. Tellus, 62A, 1.9.

Petoukhov, V., and V. Semenov, 2010: A link between reduced Barents-Kara sea ice and cold winter extremes over northern continents. J. Geophys. Res.-Atmos., ISSN 0148-0227.

Seager, R., Y. Kushnir, J. Nakamura, M. Ting, and N. Naik (2010), Northern Hemisphere winter snow anomalies: ENSO, NAO and the winter of 2009/10, Geophys. Res. Lett., 37, L14703, doi:10.1029/2010GL043830.

Jeff Masters

Peeking Christmas Lights in Snowy Shrub (UnobtrusiveTroll10)
At my house. Their little heat has created a tiny viewing hole.
Peeking Christmas Lights in Snowy Shrub
Berry Cold Strawberries (lshunter)
Astin Farms in Plant City, FL waters their strawberry crop to prevent damage from frost as temperatures drop into the 20s overnight on December 14, 2010. More cold temperatures expected tonight.
Berry Cold Strawberries

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Thanks for the clarification

Quoting McBill:


If you're talking about the following, it looks like the law requires utilities to offer smart meters to its customers.

"(11) NET METERING.—Each electric utility shall make available upon request net metering service to any electric consumer that the electric utility serves. For purposes of this paragraph, the term ‘net metering service’ means service to an electric consumer under which electric energy generated by that electric consumer from an eligible on-site generating facility and delivered to the local distribution facilities may be used to offset electric energy provided by the electric utility to the electric consumer during the applicable billing period."





Section 1252: "Each electric utility subject to subparagraph (A) shall
provide each customer requesting a time-based rate with a
time-based meter capable of enabling the utility and customer
to offer and receive such rate, respectively.


This was mandated by the feds. Bipartisan ripoff.

The section you quote is the reason why solar folks are getting ripped off... there is, as you point out, a failure by our government to define what is meant by net metering.
Member Since: December 8, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 3
142: My appologies for the mislabel. I'm a scientist too, specialty irrealvent, and I seek data to make my own decision...may I live long enough to make it
Member Since: July 30, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 491
Quoting pilotguy1:


ALgore is a boob. Deal with it.

Awesome comment. Brilliant--absolutely brilliant!

Quoting Chicklit:
Please do not engage in personal attacks or bickering. Material not conforming to these standards should be flagged with the (exclamation) button and ignored.

Flag em and tag em.
Merry Christmas and Happy Hannukah

Thanks, and back at you. But you forgot Kwanzaa. Oh, and Natalis Invicti. And Pancha Ganapati. And Yalda. And Samhain. And Modranect. And Yule. And HumanLight...

;-)
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Quoting RipplinH2O:
EM, I think you have nailed one of THE rubs: you are one in the middle (my interpretation) that still wants more data before deciding to be a "believer" or a "denier" yet the return on what should have been a done deal, simple thing to do, regardless of belief or denial has gone to another pocket. Big oil, energey companies, or Al Gore...if someone else is going to profit, where is the incentive on either side? Input Stephanie, more input...


I am actually a scientist, thus a believer, in the IPCC stated error bars for the record.

It does irk me that my solar panels are going to be less than promised (and not only me but a whole lot of folks).
Member Since: December 8, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 3
Attention all floridians this is a joke it's nothing to get offended by...
Q:Why is florida always affected by a hurricane or tropical storm?
A:Becuase it's one of the hottest places for a vacation spot(drum sound).And here;s another one
Q:why did the 4 hurricanes of 2004 affect florida?
A:Becuase they told each other of the amazing sights they'll see(drum sound).
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Quoting caneswatch:


It's not a "fad," but even though I think Gore is a alright guy, he should've went for less graphic, and said "this is what will happen if we keep on doing this, and here's what you can do to stop it."


haha well I find it to be a fad, and I believe history will eventually testify to that.

At any rate, I probably should stop talking about Global Warming, for I am not trying to upset anyone, its just kinda fun to talk about it lol. Whatever the case I can be a friend to even those whom I completely disagree with!
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136. Thanks!
Member Since: July 30, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 491
128, 133: Point taken. Pretty sure I wasn't personally attacking anyone but bickering?...probably guilty. Making circles with my fingers and chanting OOOOOOMMMMMM. This discusssion is worth having, really MUST happen. All data is good...
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Quoting Jedkins01:



No, Al Gore is a disaster to the public. People should be educated to care for the environment, and do all the things to waste less and help the planet, and even that all this excess CO2 is bad. However, Al Gore and all the scientist on board with him are all part of the little boy who cried wolf group, and once the Global Warming fad phases out, people will think all the environmental awareness is for nothing, when it is not at all.


It's not a "fad," but even though I think Gore is a alright guy, he should've went for less graphic, and said "this is what will happen if we keep on doing this, and here's what you can do to stop it."
Member Since: October 8, 2008 Posts: 14 Comments: 4553
Quoting Neapolitan:

Pillory Gore if you wish, but you should know a couple of things. First, Gore's home in Tennessee is one of the most environmentally-friendly in the nation; among many other improvements, he installed the highest-efficiency solar panels available, a geoexchange (geothermal) heating/cooling system, and a rainwater collection system. He also replaced all incandescent bulbs with CFLs or LEDs--IOW, far more than most have done to their own homes.

Second, and more importantly, he did the world a great service by shoving the issue of AGW to the forefront of the public consciousness; without his efforts, it's hard telling where we'd be right now with regards to educating the public about AGW.

Yes, Gore has "made money off of GW"--but that in no way invalidates the work of tens of thousands of climate scientists. Thinking it does is no different than saying there's no such thing as rain simply because umbrella manufacturers make a profit. And at any rate, the shrinking global community of deniers does itself a great disservice by focusing its vitriol on Gore; that animosity would be far better aimed at those who are fighting to obfuscate the truth about GW by lying and creating distractions--like demonizing Al Gore. (If you're not sure who's behind that, I'll be glad to tell you.)




No, Al Gore is a disaster to the public. People should be educated to care for the environment, and do all the things to waste less and help the planet, and even that all this excess CO2 is bad. However, Al Gore and all the scientist on board with him are all part of the little boy who cried wolf group, and once the Global Warming fad phases out, people will think all the environmental awareness is for nothing, when it is not at all.
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Member Since: September 21, 2010 Posts: 1 Comments: 3690
Someone, PLEASE, anyone help with the Al Gore testimony. By the way McBill, I'm 78 and realatively new to this internet search thing...
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It is currently 33.4 here at my house in North Pinellas, we are on pace to have possibly the coldest night here ever during the 7 years Ive had a weather station, and probably the coldest for a while before Ive had a weather station...

Last January it bottomed out at 24 degrees here during that bitter cold winter. But even then, it never was 33 already by this early at night. I doubt we will reach low 20's here since it is extremely rare, but we might just get into the mid 20's!


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McBill, it's there, it's public record. Google away...or not
Member Since: July 30, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 491
Please do not engage in personal attacks or bickering. Material not conforming to these standards should be flagged with the (exclamation) button and ignored.

Flag em and tag em.
Merry Christmas and Happy Hannukah
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
EM, I think you have nailed one of THE rubs: you are one in the middle (my interpretation) that still wants more data before deciding to be a "believer" or a "denier" yet the return on what should have been a done deal, simple thing to do, regardless of belief or denial has gone to another pocket. Big oil, energey companies, or Al Gore...if someone else is going to profit, where is the incentive on either side? Input Stephanie, more input...
Member Since: July 30, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 491
Nice intelligent discussion from Dr. Masters on the NAO. I really hope the cycle does not continue this year although it looks to be that way for now.
Current Conditions
KI4FIA - Daytona Beach (Ponce Inlet), FL, Daytona Beach, Florida (PWS)
Updated: 0 sec ago
32.8 F
Clear
Windchill: 33 F
Humidity: 66%
Dew Point: 23 F
Wind: 0.0 mph
Cold air is once again spilling southwards into the Eastern U.S. And Europe, bringing record cold and fierce snowstorms. At the same time, warm air is flowing into the Arctic to replace the cold air spilling south--temperatures averaged more than 10C (18F) above average over much of Greenland so far this month. The latest 2-week forecast from the GFS model predicts that the Hot Arctic-Cold Continents pattern will continue for the next two weeks.
JM
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Quoting RipplinH2O:
Nea, does the good Al, or does the good Al not have a huge carbon footprint? I'll yield to your knowledge of his green installs. If not for them, he would have the carbon footprint of Guatemala AND San Salvador...good on him. He testified before Congress on his profit set up. Oh, and by the way, umbrella sales are at an all time low so nobody is profiting from rain...except the gortex people maybe but I'm not sure they intentionally profitted from the umbrella people. Having typed all this, all I said was you might want to find another poster child other than him. He is, by any measure, a poor example. Any other analogies you want to front the good Al with?


I'm just mad because I have the first real "smart meter" bill due and am realizing the consequences.

My efforts that have reduced base daily use for a family of 5 from 13 to 11 kWH/D, instead of paying off in 3 years, will pay off in 5 years as the "selling back" promised by Repower America is at a lower rate than with meters running backward.

How convenient... the retail electric provider gets to share in my investment.
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...plus nobody is talking about legislating umbrellas. Well maybe, I really haven't read the health care law, it may be in there...
Member Since: July 30, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 491
Nea, does the good Al, or does the good Al not have a huge carbon footprint? I'll yield to your knowledge of his green installs. If not for them, he would have the carbon footprint of Guatemala AND San Salvador...good on him. He testified before Congress on his profit set up. Oh, and by the way, umbrella sales are at an all time low so nobody is profiting from rain...except the gortex people maybe but I'm not sure they intentionally profitted from the umbrella people. Having typed all this, all I said was you might want to find another poster child other than him. He is, by any measure, a poor example. Any other analogies you want to front the good Al with?
Member Since: July 30, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 491
Quoting McBill:


I think I'm missing something here. You saying that Al Gore came to your house and forced you to install a smart meter? Seems like he has better things to do with his time.



The 2005 Energy bill (Republican... let's be equal opportunity here, with a dem sponsor for that provision) mandated the use of smart meters for all Americans.

Signed by Bush.

We have been "fortunate" to be paying 3.00 a month here to pay for them... but then got even more "fortunate" with a 200 million dollar stimulus grant accelerated the installation.
Member Since: December 8, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 3
Quoting Orcasystems:
Special Notice to Floridians....

Make sure you have anti Freeze in your car radiator... I "think" one of our members did not, and right now they (she) is trying to figure out why her vehicle over heated 5 minutes after she left the house.


Anti-Freeze? What's that? (j/k) Actually, anti-freeze also prevents boil off as well. So it is a good idea to have it in your vehicles regardless of climate.

Also, make sure if you are going to use your window sprayer to clean off you windshield that you have windshield washer fluid in it and not water... Don't ask how I know this is a bad idea if you only have water in it...

I may have to plug the diesel in tonight... Would be the first time I would use it in South Florida.
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Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:


Keeper, that is priceless. My only question is
which of the past six glacial periods does it
represent? Well Done.
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"Smart grids can enable households to sell excess electricity they may produce from their solar panels, providing a new source of revenue."--Repower America

Now, we were much better off here in Texas when our meters simply ran backward.
Member Since: December 8, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 3
Quoting Neapolitan:

Pillory Gore if you wish,



Pony up the money I have lost with my smart meter then. Pay up Neo. Pay.

And pay this guy also.

Ripped off

Pay him Nea.
Member Since: December 8, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 3
Quoting McBill:


Where I live, these things are regulated by the State Public Utility Commission. I guess Texas is a little different?



This is true.

But Congress (a republican one, granted, but it was pushed by a dem) passed a law requiring these things without adequate consumer protection. They do mention "net metering" in the 2005 act but do not define it.
Member Since: December 8, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 3
Anamolies are still warm off of africa..so that could only spell trouble for next hurricane season.and if we have the same blocking pattern that we did last year then...God forbid.
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Quoting RipplinH2O:
EM, concur with all but just pointing out that the good ex-VP ain't the best poster child for the pro-AGW crowd. He's got the carbon footprint of Guatamala and is set to profit large if mandates are legislated...

Pillory Gore if you wish, but you should know a couple of things. First, Gore's home in Tennessee is one of the most environmentally-friendly in the nation; among many other improvements, he installed the highest-efficiency solar panels available, a geoexchange (geothermal) heating/cooling system, and a rainwater collection system. He also replaced all incandescent bulbs with CFLs or LEDs--IOW, far more than most have done to their own homes.

Second, and more importantly, he did the world a great service by shoving the issue of AGW to the forefront of the public consciousness; without his efforts, it's hard telling where we'd be right now with regards to educating the public about AGW.

Yes, Gore has "made money off of GW"--but that in no way invalidates the work of tens of thousands of climate scientists. Thinking it does is no different than saying there's no such thing as rain simply because umbrella manufacturers make a profit. And at any rate, the shrinking global community of deniers does itself a great disservice by focusing its vitriol on Gore; that animosity would be far better aimed at those who are fighting to obfuscate the truth about GW by lying and creating distractions--like demonizing Al Gore. (If you're not sure who's behind that, I'll be glad to tell you.)

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Now that's funny...
Member Since: July 30, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 491
Can't find it and done looking. Since when do you have to register with U-Tube? It's there Bill, I just don't care enough to go find it for you. You go with urban myth for now...
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Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 170 Comments: 53530
@100. Alright McBill, I'll go find it. Be right back...
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Quoting jasoniscoolman2010xo:
cloudy and 32F AT MY HOUSE.

Where do you live jason?
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While I will not go into who is invested in Silver Spring I will list who is hurt (especially since I as a solar customer am not doing well by these smart meters either).

Oncor got Silver Spring smart meters
Oncor smart meters

Don't know if they were stimulus but the Houston ones were.

Then there were problems.

Link

Who paid? The costs for repairing the pieces of junk were born by the customers.

I can go on and on about the type of behavior that these things are going to generate out of me (perverse). It makes more sense financially for me to use things peak hours so, I am going to just do it instead of helping out the federally subsidized utility that got 200 million dollars.
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Agreed...
Member Since: July 30, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 491

Evening all,My dewpoint is at 10.5 The temp has dropped 6 degrees in the last hour. Going down to 20 tonight.
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Quoting RipplinH2O:
EM, concur with all but just pointing out that the good ex-VP ain't the best poster child for the pro-AGW crowd. He's got the carbon footprint of Guatamala and is set to profit large if mandates are legislated...


I definitely agree with that. I just wanted to point out, since a lot of folks do think he is great, that some of his stuff makes sense.

But when somebody installs solar, gets a smart meter, and then gets nothing for generated electricity, that is wrong. Dead wrong.
Member Since: December 8, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 3
EM, concur with all but just pointing out that the good ex-VP ain't the best poster child for the pro-AGW crowd. He's got the carbon footprint of Guatamala and is set to profit large if mandates are legislated...
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@95. Nope, congressional testimony. I don't have it handy, but look for it on U-Tube. The Senator currently in his old seat asked him during sworn testimony about his interest in a certain company. His response is entertaining no matter where you stand on the issue. If a link doesn't show up shortly by someone else, I'll find it and post it...again.
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Quoting RipplinH2O:
@81: The problem with listing Al Gore as a source is the issue with the prime question: did he do Inconvenient Truth and then set himself up to make millions from the effect or did he set himself up to make the millions then create the effect? It's a given, i.e. congressional testimony, that he is set up to make the millions, just a question of chicken and egg...


I actually can appreciate that sentiment BUT that doesn't negate the fact that oil supply is less than demand right now NOR the fact that the Chinese are aiming to double their efficiency. And looking forward to their resource strapped future they are ramping up renewables.

My smart meter is a rip off (Gore is heavily invested in those). Actually has increased what I and others pay in electric bills (unlike Gore's hype). See

Link

I have an okay plan (ain't perfect) but it turned out that efficiency improvements I have made to reduce 18% base use... some of those... benefit the retail electric provider. These smart meters if not structured properly can actually give disincentives to efficiency improvements.

But what do you expect from something mandated by the government? 2005 energy bill to be precise, but it turns out that the smart meter provisions were by a coal state dem.
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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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