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

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 1:42 PM GMT on February 08, 2011

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Arctic sea ice extent for January 2011 was the lowest on record for the month, and marked the second consecutive month a record low has been set, according to the National Snow and Ice Data Center. Most of the missing ice was concentrated along the shores of Northeast Canada and Western Greenland. Relative to the 1979 - 2000 average, the missing ice area was about twice the size of Texas, or about 60% of the size of the Mediterranean Sea. Hudson Bay in Canada did not freeze over until mid-January, the latest freeze-up date on record, and at least a month later than average. The late freeze-up contributed to record warm winter temperatures across much of the Canadian Arctic in December and January. Bob Henson of the National Center for Atmospheric Research has a very interesting post on this, noting that Coral Harbor on the shores of Hudson Bay had a low temperature on January 6 that was 30°C (54°F) above average--a pretty ridiculous temperature anomaly. He quotes David Phillips, a senior climatologist with Environment Canada, who discussed the lack of ice near Canada's Baffin Island: "The Meteorological Service of Canada was still writing marine forecasts as of 7 January, well beyond anything we have ever done." Henson also writes:

"The extremes have been just as impressive when you look high in the atmosphere above these areas. Typically the midpoint of the atmosphere's mass--the 500-millibar (500 hPa) level--rests around 5 kilometers (3 miles) above sea level during the Arctic midwinter. In mid-December, a vast bubble of high pressure formed in the vicinity of Greenland. At the center of this high, the 500-mb surface rose to more than 5.8 kilometers, a sign of remarkably mild air below. Stu Ostro (The Weather Channel) found that this was the most extreme 500-mb anomaly anywhere on the planet in weather analyses dating back to 1948.

Farther west, a separate monster high developed over Alaska in January. According to Richard Thoman (National Weather Service, Fairbanks), the 500-mb height over both Nome and Kotzebue rose to 582 decameters (5.82 km). That's not only a January record: those are the highest values ever observed at those points outside of June, July, and August."



Figure 1. Monthly January sea ice extent for 1979 to 2011 shows a decline of 3.3% per decade. Image credit: National Snow and Ice Data Center.

The warm temperatures in Canada and record sea ice loss in the Arctic were also due, in part, to a strong negative phase of the Arctic Oscillation (AO). The Arctic Oscillation and its close cousin, the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) are naturally occurring pressure patterns in the Arctic and mid-latitudes. A negative AO and NAO results when we have weaker than normal low pressure over the Arctic, and weaker than normal high pressure over the Azores Islands. This fosters an easterly flow of air off the warm Atlantic Ocean into the Canadian Arctic, and also weakens the winds of the polar vortex, the ring of counter-clockwise spinning winds that encircles the Arctic. A weaker polar vortex allows cold air to spill southwards out of the Arctic into eastern North America and Western Europe. Thus, the strongly negative AO and NAO the past two winters have been largely responsible for the cold and snowy winters in these regions, and exceptionally warm conditions in the Arctic. I described this pattern in more detail in my December post titled, Florida shivers; Hot Arctic-Cold Continents pattern is back. It is possible that Arctic sea ice loss is largely responsible for the unusual Arctic Oscillation pattern we've observed during the past two winters, as well as for the record-strength ridges of high pressure observed over Greenland and Alaska this winter. It should not surprise us that Arctic sea ice loss would be capable of causing major perturbations to Earth's weather, since it is well known that changes from average in sea surface temperatures over large regions of the ocean modify the jet stream, storm tracks, and precipitation patterns. The El Niño and La Niña patterns are prime examples of this (though the area of oceans affected by these phenomena are much larger than what we're talking about in the Arctic.) Another example: Feudale and Shukla (2010) found that during the summer of 2003, exceptionally high sea surface temperatures of 4°C (7°F) above average over the Mediterranean Sea, combined with unusually warm SSTs in the northern portion of the North Atlantic Ocean near the Arctic, combined to shift the jet stream to the north over Western Europe and create the heat wave of 2003, the deadliest heat wave in history with 30,000 - 50,000 deaths in Europe.

References
Feudale, L., and J. Shukla (2010), "Influence of sea surface temperature on the European heat wave of 2003 summer. Part I: an observational study", Climate Dynamics DOI: 10.1007/s00382-010-0788-0


Figure 2. The 6-10 temperature forecast issued by NOAA's Climate Prediction Center calls for an above-average chance of warm temperatures across most of the U.S. by mid-February.

A warmer forecast for February
Over the past two weeks, the Arctic Oscillation has undergone a major transition, changing from negative to positive. This means that low pressure over the Arctic has intensified, which will act to speed up the counter-clockwise spinning winds (the polar vortex.) This spin-up of the polar vortex will tend to keep cold air bottled up the Arctic, leading to more Arctic sea ice formation and warmer winter conditions over the U.S. This warm-up is reflected in the latest 6 - 10 day temperature outlook from NOAA's Climate Prediction Center (Figure 2.) Could it be the groundhog was right, and we have only three more weeks of winter left? Time will tell--we have little skill predicting what may happen to the Arctic Oscillation more than about two weeks in advance.

Jeff Masters

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Carl Sagan is a favorite read of mine!

Thanks, Oss!
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Quoting caneswatch:
From last night:

Two questions, this should stump someone here:

1. The Turkey Point Nuclear Power Plant was hit by the severe part of Hurricane Andrew and yet, it wasn't significantly damaged and a bigger disaster was avoided. How so?

2. From Wiki:

The highest recorded surface gust, within Andrew's northern eyewall, occurred at the home of a resident about a mile from the shoreline in Perrine, Florida. During the peak of the storm, a gust of 212 miles per hour (341 km/h) was observed before both the home and anemometer were destroyed. Subsequent wind-tunnel testing at Clemson University of the same type of anemometer revealed a 16.5% error. The observed value was officially corrected to be 177 miles per hour (285 km/h).

Since Andrew was so powerful, what if it was 212 mph (which I believe was the correct reading)?



Agreed, ya young rascal.

The Big A, was particularly vicious.

Good post!
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The Pale Blue Dot! :)



Interesting,,, the Reflections by Sagan via Wiki, is it not?

"From this distant vantage point, the Earth might not seem of particular interest. But for us, it's different. Look again at that dot. That's here, that's home, that's us. On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives. The aggregate of our joy and suffering, thousands of confident religions, ideologies, and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilization, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every mother and father, hopeful child, inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every "superstar," every "supreme leader," every saint and sinner in the history of our species lived there – on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam.

The Earth is a very small stage in a vast cosmic arena. Think of the rivers of blood spilled by all those generals and emperors so that, in glory and triumph, they could become the momentary masters of a fraction of a dot. Think of the endless cruelties visited by the inhabitants of one corner of this pixel on the scarcely distinguishable inhabitants of some other corner, how frequent their misunderstandings, how eager they are to kill one another, how fervent their hatreds.

Our posturings, our imagined self-importance, the delusion that we have some privileged position in the Universe, are challenged by this point of pale light. Our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark. In our obscurity, in all this vastness, there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves.

The Earth is the only world known so far to harbor life. There is nowhere else, at least in the near future, to which our species could migrate. Visit, yes. Settle, not yet. Like it or not, for the moment the Earth is where we make our stand.

It has been said that astronomy is a humbling and character-building experience. There is perhaps no better demonstration of the folly of human conceits than this distant image of our tiny world. To me, it underscores our responsibility to deal more kindly with one another, and to preserve and cherish the pale blue dot, the only home we've ever known."
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Complete Update






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Quoting 1900hurricane:

I am. We don't have a state income tax but we do have sales tax.


That was really strange, especially considering how smoothly the Cotton Bowl ran.
Agreed, about the Cotton Bowl. Was lucky enough to go and I have no complaints.

And property tax in TX is quite a bit higher than in LA. In LA, the first $75k of a primary residence is exempt.
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Quoting GW20:
"A warmer forecast for February"

And not a moment too soon!
I like you.
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252. GW20
"A warmer forecast for February"

And not a moment too soon!
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Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 419 Comments: 127355
Quoting lhwhelk:
Actually, expenses are made up for by taxes on Big Oil. When Eisenhower was running against Stephenson for President, Eisenhower said the tidelands, with their oil income, belonged to Texas; Stephenson said they belonged to the federal government. That was, I believe, the first time since the Civil War that Texas voted Republican.
Another bit of history: Texas was INVITED to join the Union, and when they chose to do so, they kept certain specific rights, including ownership of their public lands. This was the basis for their claim to the tidelands. End of lecture for today.


So why did the big oil companies migrate their corp offices to Texas? They don't have to pay fed taxes if in texas?
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Quoting 1900hurricane:

I am. We don't have a state income tax but we do have sales tax.


That was really strange, especially considering how smoothly the Cotton Bowl ran.

Property taxes, too.
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Quoting doorman79:


Well that would explain why Sean would want to move back, but ya'll must have extremely high property taxes to comp for no income tax. No state runs for free.
Actually, expenses are made up for by taxes on Big Oil. When Eisenhower was running against Stephenson for President, Eisenhower said the tidelands, with their oil income, belonged to Texas; Stephenson said they belonged to the federal government. That was, I believe, the first time since the Civil War that Texas voted Republican.
Another bit of history: Texas was INVITED to join the Union, and when they chose to do so, they kept certain specific rights, including ownership of their public lands. This was the basis for their claim to the tidelands. End of lecture for today.
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SPC Mesoscale Analysis
Auto-refresh is set to every minute [OFF 1 min 5 min]
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 419 Comments: 127355
Quoting Patrap:
NOLA fans drank "all" the Beer in Miami last Year and went home with the Lombardi Trophy.

Thanx for the reminder Nea.






Now thats funny!
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NOLA fans drank "all" the Beer in Miami last Year and went home with the Lombardi Trophy.

Thanx for the reminder Nea.




Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 419 Comments: 127355
Quoting Patrap:
Nola Hosts its 10th NFL Super Bowl Feb 3rd 2013

The years were 1970, 1972, 1975, 1978, 1981, 1986, 1990, 1997, and 2002

That'll tie you guys with Miami for first: 1968, 1969, 1971, 1976, 1979, 1989, 1995, 1999, 2007, and 2010.
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Quoting 1900hurricane:

I am. Not 100% positive here, but I believe that we don't have a state income tax but we do have sales tax.


That was really strange, especially considering how smoothly the Cotton Bowl ran.


Well that would explain why Sean would want to move back, but ya'll must have extremely high property taxes to comp for no income tax. No state runs for free.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
From last night:

Two questions, this should stump someone here:

1. The Turkey Point Nuclear Power Plant was hit by the severe part of Hurricane Andrew and yet, it wasn't significantly damaged and a bigger disaster was avoided. How so?

2. From Wiki:

The highest recorded surface gust, within Andrew's northern eyewall, occurred at the home of a resident about a mile from the shoreline in Perrine, Florida. During the peak of the storm, a gust of 212 miles per hour (341 km/h) was observed before both the home and anemometer were destroyed. Subsequent wind-tunnel testing at Clemson University of the same type of anemometer revealed a 16.5% error. The observed value was officially corrected to be 177 miles per hour (285 km/h).

Since Andrew was so powerful, what if it was 212 mph (which I believe was the correct reading)?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:


About three-quarters of the western coast of Greenland still remain unfrozen including Jakobshavn Isbrae and much (around one-fifth) of Baffin Bay while the remaining area's sea ice concentration ranges between 50% and 90%.



Gulf Stream-origin warm anomalies still reach up the coast.



Here's the February 2010 sea ice concentration map in comparison, and the only other previous years in satellite history (post-1978) when any part of the Jakobshavn Isbrae outlet remained completely unfrozen as a February average were 2007, 2004 and 1986 while many other years had ice concentrations in the outlet bay itself at or approaching 100%.
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Quoting doorman79:


That is a cool commercial! If I remember right, they don't have state income tax (or maybe its sales tax)? Or both?

Anyone from Texas?

I am. We don't have a state income tax but we do have sales tax.

Quoting doorman79:


Don't think Jerry's world is gonna see another one for awhile! What a mess, was like a soap oprea.

That was really strange, especially considering how smoothly the Cotton Bowl ran.
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Why Super Bowl XLV Sucked
Comments (0) | TrackBacks (0)
Kate Rooney | February 8, 2011
Staff Writer


The league managed to upgrade 850 of those ticket-holders to other areas (where they were showered with free food, drink, and paraphernalia), but 400 fans were turned away with just the promise of a triple refund and a ticket to next year’s game (if, of course, there is a game).

As for the attendance record, despite conning fans into paying $200 a pop to sit in the frigid parking lot and watch the game on a projector, Jones came up 766 attendees short.

Once fans finally got to their seats and displaced NFL execs stopped pouting, everyone settled back to watch five Navy F-18 fighter jets fly over the stadium. Except, the retractable roof had to stay closed due to weather conditions. For the nearly $500,000 it spent on the jets, the NFL got a five-second television shot.

Yet, it’s easy to forgive when you’ve got one of the top recording artists of our day singing the National Anthem.






Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 419 Comments: 127355
Quoting Patrap:
Nola Hosts its 10th NFL Super Bowl Feb 3rd 2013

The years were 1970, 1972, 1975, 1978, 1981, 1986, 1990, 1997, and 2002









Don't think Jerry's world is gonna see another one for awhile! What a mess, was like a soap oprea.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 419 Comments: 127355
Quoting Patrap:
Epic Fail.

I go with the Horses Bit myself.

Coach has a Fine Home on the N Shore.

New Orleans Saints Coach Sean Payton discusses family's move to Dallas area
Published: Tuesday, February 08, 2011, 5:42 PM Updated: Tuesday, February 08, 2011, 6:17 PM
Mike Triplett, The Times-Picayune By Mike Triplett, The Times-Picayune






That is a cool commercial! If I remember right, they don't have state income tax (or maybe its sales tax)? Or both?

Anyone from Texas?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Nola Hosts its 10th NFL Super Bowl Feb 3rd 2013

The years were 1970, 1972, 1975, 1978, 1981, 1986, 1990, 1997, and 2002







Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 419 Comments: 127355
Quoting Patrap:
Geaux Sneaux




Bite your tongue!
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Geaux Sneaux


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Quoting hurricanehunter27:
Have a request can someone post the models for the possible snow for Atlanta GA?




18Z NAM @ 42 hours



18Z GFS @ 42 hours
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MESOSCALE DISCUSSION 0097
NWS STORM PREDICTION CENTER NORMAN OK
0716 PM CST TUE FEB 08 2011

AREAS AFFECTED...TX PANHANDLE AND WESTERN OKLAHOMA

CONCERNING...HEAVY SNOW

VALID 090116Z - 090415Z

SNOW RATES ARE EXPECTED TO INCREASE ACROSS THE TEXAS PANHANDLE AND
MUCH OF WESTERN OKLAHOMA THROUGH 05-06Z.

ABOVE A SHALLOW STRONG COLD FRONT SURGING SOUTHWARD THROUGH THE
SOUTHERN HIGH PLAINS /WITH SURFACE TEMPERATURES ALREADY FALLING
THROUGH THE SINGLE DIGITS ACROSS MUCH OF THE PANHANDLE REGION AND
NORTHWEST OKLAHOMA/...LIFT ASSOCIATED WITH STRONG WARM ADVECTION IS
SATURATING THE LOW-LEVEL ENVIRONMENT. AT THE SAME TIME...A ZONE OF
STRENGTHENING MID-LEVEL FORCING FOR UPWARD VERTICAL IS SPREADING
EAST OF THE SOUTHERN ROCKIES...AND WILL GRADUALLY SHIFT EASTWARD
ACROSS THE REMAINDER OF THE PANHANDLE REGION INTO WESTERN OKLAHOMA
BETWEEN NOW AND 05-06Z. AS MID-LEVEL LIFT SATURATES THE MIXED PHASE
LAYER FAVORABLE FOR LARGE DENDRITIC ICE CRYSTAL GROWTH...SNOW RATES
WILL INTENSIFY. PRECIPITABLE WATER IS INITIALLY SOMEWHAT LOW...BUT
HIGHER VALUES ON THE ORDER OF .4 TO .5 INCHES IS ADVECTING NORTHWARD
IN NARROW TONGUE TOWARD CENTRAL OKLAHOMA. THIS MAY NOT IMPACT SNOW
RATES UNTIL LATER TONIGHT....BUT IT APPEARS HIGH SNOW TO LIQUID
WATER EQUIVALENT RATIOS MAY SUPPORT SNOW RATES IN EXCESS OF ONE INCH
PER HOUR LATE THIS EVENING.

..KERR.. 02/09/2011


ATTN...WFO...OUN...LUB...AMA...

LAT...LON 35520240 36420078 36719960 36589829 36109807 35479822
34749994 34070158 34300260 34790266 35520240
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Have a request can someone post the models for the possible snow for Atlanta GA?
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Clickable pic, L8R :)



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Quoting Surfcropper:


That's why you get a Wii or XBOX
;)

Cookies will be just fine.Yes chocolate chip please.
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Quoting AussieStorm:

I hope it's all better now


Hey Aussie!
Just finished watching that. Deja Vu... Be interesting to see how the recovery goes compared to here in the US. Must have been a scary night for people. Things WILL get better.
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Quoting VAbeachhurricanes:


during winter there is nothing to do anywhere...
Maybe except for extream south Florida,but no where else really.North Carolina for me is boring year round for me xD
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Quoting AussieStorm:

Cat 5 Attack on NE Queensland.

CYCLONE YASI the full incredible chase video


Aerial footage of Cyclone Yasi devastation





I hope it's all better now
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Quoting washingtonian115:
Surfcopper their's nothing to really do in North Carolina.I visted there ever since I was four until now.And I always found myself getting nothing out of the deal....but some extra pounds.


during winter there is nothing to do anywhere...
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Surfcopper their's nothing to really do in North Carolina.I visted there ever since I was four until now.And I always found myself getting nothing out of the deal....but some extra pounds.
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The Vids and Page are fine in FireFox.

Which the Wunderground design most their scripts for exclusively.

If a Post skews in IE or other,,just use the HIDE feature and it should go away.
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 419 Comments: 127355
Aussie. Sorry to tell you, but you video is messing up the blog.

I swear this new website has more bugs than a first class New York hotel.
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NRAmy He he he.
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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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