Where's spring? 2nd most extreme March jet stream pattern on record extends winter

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 3:15 PM GMT on March 20, 2013

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Punxatawney Phil got it way wrong. Pennsylvania's famous prognosticating rodent predicted just three more weeks of winter back on February 2. It's the first day of spring, but winter remains firmly entrenched over the eastern half of the U.S., where temperatures of 5 - 25°F below average have been the rule all week. The culprit is the jet stream, which has taken on an unusually contorted shape that is allowing cold air to spill down over the Eastern U.S. and Western Europe, but bringing near-record warmth to portions of Greenland. One measure of how contorted the jet stream has become is by measuring the difference in pressure between the Icelandic Low and the Azores High. There are two indices used to do this--one called the Arctic Oscillation (AO), which treats the flow over the entire Northern Hemisphere, and another called the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO), which is more focused on the North Atlantic. The two are closely related about 90% of the time. When these indices are strongly negative, the pressure difference between the Icelandic Low and the Azores High is low. This results in a weaker jet stream, allowing it to take large, meandering loops, letting cold air to spill far to the south from the Arctic into the mid-latitudes. The AO index hit -5.2 today (March 20). This is the second most extreme March value of the index since record keeping began in 1948; only an AO value of -6.3 in March 1970 was more extreme. We've had some wildly variable jet stream patterns in recent years in the Northern Hemisphere. Just last year, we had the opposite extreme in March, when our ridiculous "Summer in March" heat wave brought a week of temperatures in the 80s to the Midwest U.S. The first day of spring today in Chicago, IL is expected to have a high temperature of just 25°F--a 60 degree difference from last year's high of 85°F on March 20!


Figure 1. The jet stream is taking a large dip to the south over the Eastern U.S., allowing cold air to spill southwards and bring winter-like conditions.

Unusual winter jet stream patterns tied to Arctic sea ice loss
Unusual jet stream contortions in winter have become increasingly common in recent years, according to a March 2013 paper by Tang et al., "Cold winter extremes in northern continents linked to Arctic sea ice loss". They found a mathematical relationship between wintertime Arctic sea ice loss and the increase in unusual jet stream patterns capable of bringing cold, snowy weather to the Eastern U.S., Western Europe, and East Asia, typical of what one sees during a strongly negative Arctic Oscillation. They theorized that sea ice loss in the Arctic promotes more evaporation, resulting in earlier snowfall in Siberia and other Arctic lands. The earlier snow insulates the soil, allowing the land to cool more rapidly. This results in a southwards shift of the jet stream and builds higher atmospheric pressures farther to the south, which increases the odds of cold spells and blocking high pressure systems that can cause extended periods of unusually cold and snowy weather in the mid-latitudes.

Related posts
From Heat Wave to Snowstorms, March Goes to Extremes by Andrew Freedman of Climate Central
Extreme jet stream causing record warmth in the east, record cold in the west (January 2013)
Arctic sea ice loss tied to unusual jet stream patterns (April 2012)
Our extreme weather: Arctic changes to blame? (December 2011)
Florida shivers; Hot Arctic-Cold Continents pattern is back (December 2010)
Jet stream moved northwards 270 miles in 22 years; climate change to blame? (June 2008)

I'll have a new post on Thursday.

Jeff Masters

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Gusty Winds (novembergale)
High winds create huge waves behind ice dunes on Lake Erie this last day of winter.
Gusty Winds
After the blizzard (springsun)
Extreme severe winterconditions in the northeast of Germany, Kap Arkona. Source: wetterzentrale
After the blizzard

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Quoting SPLbeater:


What do you mean if it was real? I showed you the satellite. Didnt you see the eye? Could have overlooked it, it is a small pinhole...Its headed straight for YOU. Better prepare.


LOL
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Quoting trHUrrIXC5MMX:


if it were real then yeah, doom for some, especially if it moved into GOM...nice scenario btw..lol


What do you mean if it was real? I showed you the satellite. Didnt you see the eye? Could have overlooked it, it is a small pinhole...Its headed straight for YOU. Better prepare.
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Quoting wxmod:
This is a satellite photo of Greenland (lower left) and arctic sea ice (upper right). Taken by MODIS Aqua satellite today. Last year, this area of sea ice was solid til the end of summer.



Based on the events in the previous 6 years, complete meltdown could happen in 2 to 4 years, counting this year. We should expect a more dynamic situation over the next few years as the ice keeps getting thinner and thinner.

Figure we'll probably average 700km^3 to 900km^3 of sea ice loss per year from now on, though it only takes one absurd down year like 2007 or 2010 to make most of it go away in one swoop.

I figure Greenland and Iceland will buffer some of the sea ice loss, but this will cause the continental melt to continue to increase. Expect a large melt in Greenland ice cap again this year, with more videos of "unprecedented" melt water run-off.
Member Since: January 25, 2012 Posts: 32 Comments: 1502
Quoting TomTaylor:
16-17
8-9
3


you're in now... the 39th one listed
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563. wxmod
This is a satellite photo of Greenland (lower left) and arctic sea ice (upper right). Taken by MODIS Aqua satellite today. Last year, this area of sea ice was solid til the end of summer.

Member Since: October 4, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 1605
EPA orders Enbridge to dredge river two years after oil spill

VANCOUVER — The Globe and Mail
Published Thursday, Mar. 14 2013, 10:33 PM EDT


More than 21/2 years after a Canadian pipeline rupture spilled heavy oil into a Michigan river, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is ordering Calgary-based Enbridge to perform additional dredging to remove submerged oil.

The agency said it has repeatedly found oil in sections of the Kalamazoo River.

“The dredging required by EPA’s order will prevent submerged oil from migrating to downstream areas where it will be more difficult or impossible to recover,” the EPA said Thursday.

The agency is also ordering Enbridge – proponent of the controversial Northern Gateway pipeline through northern British Columbia – to maintain sediment traps throughout the river to capture oil outside the dredge areas. The agency gave the company 15 days to provide a work plan, and said dredging should begin this spring.

The July, 2010, spill near Marshall, Mich., has dogged the company as it proceeds through a federal review of the Northern Gateway to deliver oil-sands products to a tanker port in Kitimat, B.C. The ability to clean up diluted bitumen from Alberta’s oil sands has been raised at the hearings by project opponents.

The EPA issued a searing report last year criticizing the company’s spill response.
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Quoting trHUrrIXC5MMX:


alright...I get the 17 in there but would not want to have empty space for H and MH
16-17
8-9
3
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Quoting etxwx:



Uh...no. Houston is a very international city with a major medical center, top tier universities, headquarters for many businesses who do business internationally, and it has quite a vibrant international cultural scene.

From Wikipedia: Over 90 languages are spoken in the city. According to the 2010 Census, whites made up 51% of Houston's population; 26% of the total population were non-Hispanic whites. Blacks or African Americans made up 24% of Houston's population. American Indians made up 0.7% of Houston's population. Asians made up 6% of Houston's population (1.7% Vietnamese, 1.3% Chinese, 1.3% Indian, 0.9% Pakistani, 0.4% Filipino, 0.3% Korean, 0.1% Japanese), while Pacific Islanders made up 0.1%. Individuals from some other race made up 15.2% of the city's population, of which 0.2% were non-Hispanic. Individuals from two or more races made up 3.3% of the city's population. People of Hispanic origin, regardless of race, made up 44% of Houston's population[108] Also, there are many Bhutanese people of Nepalese origin are residing in Houston since 2008.

My favorite restaurants are Indian, Viet and Singapore Chinese, not necessarily in that order. At one time Churrascos may have had the best steaks, but I haven't been there in a [long] while.

Edit: For desert Churrascos had the best tres leches, but ras malai after a good vindaloo is hard to beat.
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I loved this commercial. Wonder if it will show this summer.

Hopefully Jim never appears here.

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Quoting wxgeek723:


I begged to differ.

Models already have a handle on it...

lol I better get the shutters up

u know with how things look seems like me may get plenty of those types of storms this year
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556. etxwx
Quoting RTSplayer:



I'm guessing it's New York, that's where all the legal immigrants go.

Texas gets mostly illegals from Mexico, so they all speak Spanish.



Uh...no. Houston is a very international city with a major medical center, top tier universities, headquarters for many businesses who do business internationally, and it has quite a vibrant international cultural scene.

From Wikipedia: Over 90 languages are spoken in the city. According to the 2010 Census, whites made up 51% of Houston's population; 26% of the total population were non-Hispanic whites. Blacks or African Americans made up 24% of Houston's population. American Indians made up 0.7% of Houston's population. Asians made up 6% of Houston's population (1.7% Vietnamese, 1.3% Chinese, 1.3% Indian, 0.9% Pakistani, 0.4% Filipino, 0.3% Korean, 0.1% Japanese), while Pacific Islanders made up 0.1%. Individuals from some other race made up 15.2% of the city's population, of which 0.2% were non-Hispanic. Individuals from two or more races made up 3.3% of the city's population. People of Hispanic origin, regardless of race, made up 44% of Houston's population[108] Also, there are many Bhutanese people of Nepalese origin are residing in Houston since 2008.
Member Since: September 4, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 1214
Quoting SPLbeater:
And here, we have Category 5 Wmodemo. Is forecast to be DOOM for the gulf coast, and then move over florida and strike the southeast. Then, it will move back out to see and slam the northeast. After that, its remnants will move to Michgan and flood Jeff Masters out for not blogging on it.

Yeah the satellites been posted enough, but noone included the TWO.

AT THE CURRENT TIME WHEREVER YOU ARE, HURRICANE WMODEMO WAS LOCATED SOMEWHERES IN THE CARIBBEAN. FEAR THIS HURRICANE. IT BITES.

**STARR


if it were real then yeah, doom for some, especially if it moved into GOM...nice scenario btw..lol
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Quoting Grothar:


Was that in Texas?



I'm guessing it's New York, that's where all the legal immigrants go.

Texas gets mostly illegals from Mexico, so they all speak Spanish.
Member Since: January 25, 2012 Posts: 32 Comments: 1502
Quoting 1900hurricane:

Watch for that EML in the neighborhood of 700 mb. As it's modeled right now, it doesn't look too bad, but EMLs have been the bane of many a stormy forecast around these parts. Of course, knowing you, you're already on that. :P


haha yeah that is my main concern!

I'm glad to see the NAM breaking out a cell anyway, but the eml is definitely my only real concern. Might as well give it a shot, right?
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Quoting stratcat:
No matter what the weather does, it is getting blamed on global warming... man-made global warming. If it's a warm winter... global warming. If it's the coldest March we've had in years, it's due to melting sea ice, caused by global warming. If we get many tropical storms or not many, it's global warming.


Unfortunately, that's a communication problem the media and experts focus on the wrong information.

The best indicator for temperature change are snow packs, sea ice, and continental ice, all of which are decreasing on the whole.


There is nothing but politics and greed in the global warming issue. It's not all coming from energy companies, either. Useless eyesores being constructed, such as fields of windmills and solar panels are not the answer. Homes can operate off the grid using fuel cells. Utilities should be building more FAST nuclear reactors for power. Coal is burning much cleaner than ever before.


While I actually agree with the second half of this paragraph, windmills and solar plants are not useless eyesores. Fuel cells still produce CO2, and "Clean Coal" has a physical limit to how clean it can become in thermodynamic efficiency, and it still makes CO2 no matter how clean it gets. Just getting more efficient will make less CO2 per unit energy, but a couple percent is not enough to matter.

CO2 helps plant growth which adds oxygen back into the atmosphere, balancing the two gasses.


I used to think the same thing. It is true for lots of plants, but not all.

There is also a lot of monkey business in data gathering for global temps. For example, in arctic Canada, there are 635 weather stations. Out of those, the US reads only 35... guess where they are located? Near water and any cities, where temps are locally warmer. The colder 600 stations are virtually ignored by the US, and read much colder temperatures.


I don't know enough about that to comment, except you're probably being lied to or something.

Only stations that have a certain number of years of record keeping are used for long term comparisons, because you can't just make up data for stations made more recently.


We've only been keeping satellite data since 1979, a mere pittance compared to the age of the earth. Sorry, Jeff, but the idea of man-made global warming is a hoax... you know it and so do others in your field. Science isn't science anymore... it's politics. Many polled scientists on this topic aren't even in the field. I could go on, but I'm trying to make a post, not a blog.


1, explain the melting and sea level rise if there's no warming.

2, explain the warming's cause. If you could prove it was the Sun or geology or some other natural force, I'd be happy and sad at the same time. Happy because it would mean it's not our fault. Sad because it would mean there's little we can do about it.
Member Since: January 25, 2012 Posts: 32 Comments: 1502
Quoting tornadodude:
Looks like I'll be chasing in NE Texas on Friday. Should be a decent warm front setup.

12z NAM is showing a cell forming near Tyler, Texas around 4-5pm.

0-1ehi looks okay, but with CAPE nearing 3,000 jkg, 0-3ehi near 7, any storm that does form could certainly become tornadic. It all depends on the cap and if storms can ride the warm front instead of crossing over it into a cooler more stable environment.



Watch for that EML in the neighborhood of 700 mb. As it's modeled right now, it doesn't look too bad, but EMLs have been the bane of many a stormy forecast around these parts. Of course, knowing you, you're already on that. :P
Member Since: August 2, 2006 Posts: 45 Comments: 11556
heavy rainfall setting up in the long range..

18z GFS

Member Since: August 19, 2006 Posts: 13 Comments: 13451
Quoting Skyepony:
I was just looking at this saying dang.. click pic twice to really enlarge.


The recent blocking pattern certainly hasn't helped things at all. Temps are running way above average in the polar regions near Greenland.

Member Since: August 2, 2006 Posts: 45 Comments: 11556
547. wxmod
Quoting stratcat:
No matter what the weather does, it is getting blamed on global warming... man-made global warming. If it's a warm winter... global warming. If it's the coldest March we've had in years, it's due to melting sea ice, caused by global warming. If we get many tropical storms or not many, it's global warming.

There is nothing but politics and greed in the global warming issue. It's not all coming from energy companies, either. Useless eyesores being constructed, such as fields of windmills and solar panels are not the answer. Homes can operate off the grid using fuel cells. Utilities should be building more FAST nuclear reactors for power. Coal is burning much cleaner than ever before.

CO2 helps plant growth which adds oxygen back into the atmosphere, balancing the two gasses.

There is also a lot of monkey business in data gathering for global temps. For example, in arctic Canada, there are 635 weather stations. Out of those, the US reads only 35... guess where they are located? Near water and any cities, where temps are locally warmer. The colder 600 stations are virtually ignored by the US, and read much colder temperatures.

We've only been keeping satellite data since 1979, a mere pittance compared to the age of the earth. Sorry, Jeff, but the idea of man-made global warming is a hoax... you know it and so do others in your field. Science isn't science anymore... it's politics. Many polled scientists on this topic aren't even in the field. I could go on, but I'm trying to make a post, not a blog.


We're all in this together. If you look at the satellite photos near your post, they tell nothing but the truth, no politics, no spin. The arctic melting has already begun and, in my opinion, we are both in for some hard times. Cover your eyes or open them; I don't care!
Member Since: October 4, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 1605
Looks like I'll be chasing in NE Texas on Friday. Should be a decent warm front setup.

12z NAM is showing a cell forming near Tyler, Texas around 4-5pm.

0-1ehi looks okay, but with CAPE nearing 3,000 jkg, 0-3ehi near 7, any storm that does form could certainly become tornadic. It all depends on the cap and if storms can ride the warm front instead of crossing over it into a cooler more stable environment.


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545. wxmod
MODIS satellite image north of Canada-Alaska today.

Member Since: October 4, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 1605
544. Skyepony (Mod)
Quoting wxmod:


Yikes!!!


That rift is almost twice as wide than this morning. Posted about it earlier hoping I wasn't seeing that.
Member Since: August 10, 2005 Posts: 156 Comments: 36083
No matter what the weather does, it is getting blamed on global warming... man-made global warming. If it's a warm winter... global warming. If it's the coldest March we've had in years, it's due to melting sea ice, caused by global warming. If we get many tropical storms or not many, it's global warming.

There is nothing but politics and greed in the global warming issue. It's not all coming from energy companies, either. Useless eyesores being constructed, such as fields of windmills and solar panels are not the answer. Homes can operate off the grid using fuel cells. Utilities should be building more FAST nuclear reactors for power. Coal is burning much cleaner than ever before.

CO2 helps plant growth which adds oxygen back into the atmosphere, balancing the two gasses.

There is also a lot of monkey business in data gathering for global temps. For example, in arctic Canada, there are 635 weather stations. Out of those, the US reads only 35... guess where they are located? Near water and any cities, where temps are locally warmer. The colder 600 stations are virtually ignored by the US, and read much colder temperatures.

We've only been keeping satellite data since 1979, a mere pittance compared to the age of the earth. Sorry, Jeff, but the idea of man-made global warming is a hoax... you know it and so do others in your field. Science isn't science anymore... it's politics. Many polled scientists on this topic aren't even in the field. I could go on, but I'm trying to make a post, not a blog.
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542. wxmod
Quoting Skyepony:
I was just looking at this saying dang.. click pic twice to really enlarge.



Yikes!!!
Member Since: October 4, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 1605
79L TEST TEST TEST

Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 163 Comments: 52257
540. wxmod
We don't need to wait til July. MODIS north of Greenland

Member Since: October 4, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 1605
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538. Skyepony (Mod)
I was just looking at this saying dang.. click pic twice to really enlarge.

Member Since: August 10, 2005 Posts: 156 Comments: 36083
537. wxmod
MODIS Satellite image of the Arctic north of Greenland today
Uh-Oh!

Member Since: October 4, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 1605
Quoting txjac:


At the schoool my children went to grade cards went out in 56 different languages


Was that in Texas?
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Quoting AussieStorm:


?????


In regards to wmodemo on a floater. NHC holds an annual workshop for the WMO Region IV Hurricane area to train forecasters. This years workshop was last week and this week.
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Quoting nrtiwlnvragn:



RA IV Workshop on Hurricane Forecasting and Warning and Public Weather Services


?????
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Quoting GeorgiaStormz:
more snow




No kidding. We have a dumping going on right now :( spring, my left hind foot!
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Quoting SPLbeater:
And here, we have Category 5 Wmodemo. Is forecast to be DOOM for the gulf coast, and then move over florida and strike the southeast. Then, it will move back out to see and slam the northeast. After that, its remnants will move to Michgan and flood Jeff Masters out for not blogging on it.

Yeah the satellites been posted enough, but noone included the TWO.

AT THE CURRENT TIME WHEREVER YOU ARE, HURRICANE WMODEMO WAS LOCATED SOMEWHERES IN THE CARIBBEAN. FEAR THIS HURRICANE. IT BITES.

**STARR


I knew we would get up to the W's in names this year!
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Quoting Tropicsweatherpr:


I see that you have only 2 majors. You think that the low vertical instability will cause once again quantity over quality tropical systems?


Bit late on the reply, but yes, I suspect it will be.
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Quoting SPLbeater:
And here, we have Category 5 Wmodemo. Is forecast to be DOOM for the gulf coast, and then move over Florida and strike the southeast. Then, it will move back out to see and slam the northeast. After that, its remnants will move to Michigan and flood Jeff Masters out for not blogging on it.

Yeah the satellites been posted enough, but noone included the TWO.

AT THE CURRENT TIME WHEREVER YOU ARE, HURRICANE WMODEMO WAS LOCATED SOMEWHERES IN THE CARIBBEAN. FEAR THIS HURRICANE. IT BITES.

**STARR

No, no flooding up here please!
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529. txjac
Quoting Grothar:


Wow. You must have some good high schools. :)


At the schoool my children went to grade cards went out in 56 different languages
Member Since: April 24, 2010 Posts: 1 Comments: 2351
And here, we have Category 5 Wmodemo. Is forecast to be DOOM for the gulf coast, and then move over florida and strike the southeast. Then, it will move back out to see and slam the northeast. After that, its remnants will move to Michgan and flood Jeff Masters out for not blogging on it.

Yeah the satellites been posted enough, but noone included the TWO.

AT THE CURRENT TIME WHEREVER YOU ARE, HURRICANE WMODEMO WAS LOCATED SOMEWHERES IN THE CARIBBEAN. FEAR THIS HURRICANE. IT BITES.

**STARR
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Quoting AussieStorm:

Wmodemo might mean WMO Demo for the World Meteorological Day which also celebrates the 50th anniversary of the World Weather Watch.



RA IV Workshop on Hurricane Forecasting and Warning and Public Weather Services
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526. VR46L
Quoting AussieStorm:

Very cool.


Thanks I thought so !!
Member Since: March 1, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 6613
Quoting AussieStorm:

It's a test.


I begged to differ.

Models already have a handle on it...
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Quoting VR46L:
I just love this Cant explain why .. It takes a minute to load but just wanted to share it

North Atlantic and Western Europe Night to day

Very cool.
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Retooled forecast for West Palm Beach...

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522. VR46L
I just love this Cant explain why .. It takes a minute to load but just wanted to share it

North Atlantic and Western Europe Night to day
Member Since: March 1, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 6613
Quoting wxgeek723:


PADDING the numbers...
Tsk tsk tsk

Wmodemo might mean WMO Demo for the World Meteorological Day which also celebrates the 50th anniversary of the World Weather Watch.
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Still,two month for hurricane season in east pacific,but some healthy thunderstorms are forming there
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AREA FORECAST DISCUSSION
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE MIAMI FL
753 PM EDT WED MAR 20 2013

.UPDATE...

THERE IS SOME UNCERTAINTY IN THE SHORT TERM FORECAST REGARDING THE
POTENTIAL FOR SHOWERS AND THUNDERSTORMS THIS EVENING. WHILE
SHOWERS AND THUNDERSTORMS ACROSS MIAMI DADE AND BROWARD COUNTIES
EARLIER THIS EVENING HAVE DISSIPATED...THERE IS WELL ORGANIZED
CONVECTION IN THE EASTERN GULF. EARLIER IN THE EVENING THERE WERE
CONCERNS THAT THIS CONVECTION COULD AFFECT SOUTH FLORIDA AND
ADJACENT WATERS...BUT RECENT LIGHTNING AND SATELLITE DATA NOW
INDICATE THAT THE MORE ORGANIZED CONVECTION WILL LIKELY REMAIN
WEST OF THE REGION. HOWEVER...SCATTERED SHOWERS AND ISOLATED THUNDERSTORMS
WILL REMAIN A POSSIBILITY THE REMAINDER OF THE EVENING HOURS INTO
EARLY THURSDAY MORNING THEN A CLEARING TREND IS EXPECTED AFTER 06Z
THURSDAY. THERE COULD BE BRIEF PERIODS OF SUB-VFR CONDITIONS WITH
SHOWERS AND/OR THUNDERSTORMS.
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Quoting MAweatherboy1:
Wow, already one named storm on the season!



NHC is definitely trying to inflate the seasonal totals with this one.

I was getting a little worried for when the first invest/storm would be named. We had an invest in February last year.
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About JeffMasters

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