One third of Arctic ice cap now missing; Midwestern floods; tropical update

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 12:46 PM GMT on August 24, 2007

Share this Blog
4
+

Sea ice in the Arctic continues its record decline, thanks to unusually cloud-free conditions and above-average temperatures. For August 21, the National Snow and Ice Data Center estimated that fully one third of the Arctic ice cap was missing, compared to the average levels observed on that date from 1979-2000. Sea ice extent was 4.92 million square kilometers on August 21, and the 1979-2000 average for the date was about 7.3 million square kilometers. Arctic sea ice has fallen below the record low absolute minimum of 4.92 million square kilometers set in 2005 by about 8%, with another 3-5 weeks of the melting season still remaining. Reliable records of sea ice coverage go back to 1979.


Figure 1. Extent of the polar sea ice on August 21, compared to the average for the date from the 1979-2000 period (pink line). Image credit: National Snow and Ice Data Center.

With one third of the Arctic ice cap already gone, and another month of melting to go, we need to consider what effect this will have on weather, climate, and sea level rise. Well, we don't need to worry about sea level rise, since the polar sea ice is already in the ocean, and won't appreciably change sea level when it melts. However, the remarkable melting of the ice cap will likely lead to unusual weather patterns this fall and winter. The lack of sea ice will put much more heat and moisture into the polar atmosphere, affecting the path of the jet stream and the resultant storm tracks. Expect a much-delayed arrival of winter to the Northern Hemisphere again this year, which may lead to further accelerated melting of the ice cap in future years.

Last week, I remarked that the most recent images from the North Pole webcam show plenty of melt water and rainy conditions near the Pole. It turns out that was misleading, since the webcam is on a ship that was headed towards the pole, but had not reached it. There have been rainy conditions at the Pole this summer, and there is some open water there, but this is not uncommon in summer. Shifting ice frequently opens up leads (cracks) with open sea water at the Pole. It was one of these open leads that British swimmer Lewis Gordon Pugh swam in for 18 minutes this July to draw attention to global climate change.


Figure 2. Total rainfall from August 10-22 as estimated by NASA's TRMM satellite.

Midwest flooding
To get an idea of the magnitude of the flooding that has hit the Midwestern U.S. during the past ten days, take a look at the total amount of rain from August 10-22 (Figure 2). We can blame Tropical Storm Erin for the rain in Texas and Oklahoma (up to 11 inches), and for the nine flooding deaths that occurred in those states. However, the unbelievable rain amounts in excess of 20 inches in Minnesota and Wisconsin were primarily due to a frontal system--with the help of some copious moisture pumped northwards by the counter-clockwise circulation around Erin while it spun over Oklahoma.

Tropical update
There are no threat areas in the Atlantic to discuss. Two of our four reliable forecast models, the NOGAPS and ECMWF, are predicting that a tropical depression could form off the coast of Nicaragua on Sunday. The models forecast that this system would move inland over Nicaragua and Honduras by Monday.

I'll have an update on Saturday morning.
Jeff Masters

After Hurricane Dean (sprinter)
Bulldozer trying to clear sand and debris from Norman Manley Highway(Airport Road)
After Hurricane Dean
Findlay Ohio flood (prairieview)
The flood is over, now the cleanup
Findlay Ohio flood

Reader Comments

Comments will take a few seconds to appear.

Post Your Comments

Please sign in to post comments.

or Join

Not only will you be able to leave comments on this blog, but you'll also have the ability to upload and share your photos in our Wunder Photos section.

Display: 0, 50, 100, 200 Sort: Newest First - Order Posted

Viewing: 747 - 697

Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | 21 | 22 | 23 | 24 | 25 | 26 | 27Blog Index

747. CaptnDan142
7:55 AM GMT on August 25, 2007
Geez, this midwest flooding is really out of control. What's going to happen if the rain keeps coming like this??

Um, bigger floods? (Sorry, couldn't resist)

One of the storms that went through a couple of days ago had winds at 37mph gusting to 56mph.

A friend in Norfolk, NE sent me pics of the trees that were damaged in her yard. In the background of one pic I could see a tree limb laying on a neighbors SUV.

She said there were trees and limbs down all over town, and the flooding has begun.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
746. hurricanehamster
7:55 AM GMT on August 25, 2007
hmmmmmmm

remeber hurrican catarina

another 1 seems to be formeing on ecmf but heading east!


an south africa hit?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
745. hurricanehamster
7:51 AM GMT on August 25, 2007
dean wont reform

90ls here though

the navy site has 90l

lol
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
744. sullivanweather
7:13 AM GMT on August 25, 2007
Anyone else watching the Yankees/Tigers game?

After a 4 hour rain delay they have gone to extra innings tied at 6. So at 3:15 in the morning the Yankees and Tigers are tied at 6 in the bottom of the 11th inning.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
743. mikester
7:02 AM GMT on August 25, 2007
Alot of damage is caused by those floods and it appears they are in for it again this week too. People in binghampton ny and pa can tell you flooding is a big problem and is very hard to get going after you lost everything to floods.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
742. KRL
6:51 AM GMT on August 25, 2007
Geez, this midwest flooding is really out of control. What's going to happen if the rain keeps coming like this???
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
741. BahaHurican
12:52 AM EDT on August 25, 2007
Anybody else seen this website?

http://www.stormpulse.com/
Member Since: October 25, 2005 Posts: 19 Comments: 22736
740. OUFan919
6:25 AM GMT on August 25, 2007
Besides for Dean, this has been a boring year!
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
739. mikester
6:06 AM GMT on August 25, 2007
Yeah man up here in nystate we had some really severe thunderstorms come through. Had lightening striking everywhere at home and same thing tonight at work the power went out and came back on. The sky was just lit up with the lightening. Really kewl but i should have taken pictures for you guys.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
738. Business
6:04 AM GMT on August 25, 2007
btw, did anyone else have a crapload of fun during those storms here in central florida earlier this evening? oooooh boy there were some super close lightning strikes (i could see smoke from where two bolts hit!) and some really heavy rainfall. haven't seen lightning like that in a long time.

i miss those kinds of storms.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
737. gippgig
5:55 AM GMT on August 25, 2007
Is there any possibility of the polar ice cap suddenly breaking up like has happened with a couple of the antarctic ice shelves?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
736. mississippiwx23
5:01 AM GMT on August 25, 2007
GFS definately backed off a bit. Just have to wait and see what the European puts out tomorrow. I have much more confidence in it than any other model.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
735. F1or1d1an
4:40 AM GMT on August 25, 2007
NOT sweet, freak! I've got a party for about 80 folks Sat night at my house in the panhandle... We don't get rain for weeks and now it decides it might be time...

AAARRRGGGHHHH.....
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
734. mississippiwx23
4:06 AM GMT on August 25, 2007
Yes, funny that they didnt think of that years ago when they built the buildings that hold the space shuttle. I just assumed they had...assuming makes an a** out of you, as they say.

So far, through 4 days of the GFS, no systems. However, they should begin to appear within the next few frames of the model if it is consistent.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
733. FLWeatherFreak91
4:06 AM GMT on August 25, 2007
AH! I don't know if this was mentioned earlier, but there is a surface low visible on radar moving up the spine of FL. LOOK! It's sweet. Here's the link.



http://www.wunderground.com/radar/radblast.asp?ID=TBW®ion=d5&lat=28.14060020&lon=-82.60459900&la bel=Odessa%2c%20FL
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
732. BahaHurican
12:00 AM EDT on August 25, 2007
wx23,

Just the thought gives the heebiejeebies . . .

LOL

Found this interesting fact[oid] while looking at Wikipedia's Floyd file:

With the storm predicted to hit near Cape Canaveral with winds of over 140 mph (225 km/h), all but 80 of Kennedy Space Center's 12,500-man workforce were evacuated. The hangars that house three space shuttles can withstand winds of only 105 mph (170 km/h), and a direct hit could have resulted in potentially billions of dollars in damage of space equipment, draining funds of an already money-strained government organization.

This to me is amazing. These guys can figure out how to fly into space, but not how to protect their equipment from a hurricane over cat 2?

Go figure.
Member Since: October 25, 2005 Posts: 19 Comments: 22736
731. BahaHurican
11:59 PM EDT on August 24, 2007
Right, forgot Floyd didn't actually hit FL . . .
Member Since: October 25, 2005 Posts: 19 Comments: 22736
730. mississippiwx23
3:47 AM GMT on August 25, 2007
The european has formation too, about a week out. The GFS has been consistent with waves moving off the coast in about 5-6 days, so I do expect to see it again. Only this last run had a lot more organized looking systems.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
729. dferrucci
3:44 AM GMT on August 25, 2007
Not sure if anyone has said it yet, but the latest gfs has development of the CV towards the end of the run, lets see if it stays consistent and if any other models start to pick up on it.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
728. mississippiwx23
3:43 AM GMT on August 25, 2007
I have a feeling Chicklit only wants a minimal tropical storm or depression at that, just for the rain. Or so I hope.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
727. BahaHurican
11:31 PM EDT on August 24, 2007
Posted By: Chicklit at 10:35 PM EDT on August 24, 2007.

I'm going on record as wishcasting a system at 50-55/20 to bring rain to Central Florida...There's something wrong with my pump to water my grass and I haven't gotten someone out here to look at it...I say it has a 50/50 chance of development. Anyone want to wager a guess?


Please. Do not for any reason wishcast a storm to hit Florida that has to cross the Bahamas to do so . . . We had enough of that with Andrew, Floyd, Frances, Jeanne, . .. you get the picture. . . .
Member Since: October 25, 2005 Posts: 19 Comments: 22736
726. Chicklit
3:40 AM GMT on August 25, 2007
Hi Texas, I see you now...
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
725. Drakoen
3:29 AM GMT on August 25, 2007
Posted By: 0741 at 3:27 AM GMT on August 25, 2007.

you need help texas get help


LOL...
Member Since: October 28, 2006 Posts: 57 Comments: 30841
724. 0741
3:26 AM GMT on August 25, 2007
you need help texas get help
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
721. mississippiwx23
3:19 AM GMT on August 25, 2007
The european also has a system forming in the west pacific and moving close to Japan by next Mon/Tues.

Whats with the big change from the last model to this one?! Makes me suspicious. I will be more confident something is going to happen after the next European model comes out tomorrow. (Not to mention a days worth of GFS being consistent)
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
720. extreme236
3:15 AM GMT on August 25, 2007
waht are you talking about 0741? i know there is nothing there now. there might not end up being one there
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
718. extreme236
3:13 AM GMT on August 25, 2007
maybe there will be nothing that forms, but we shouldnt just ignore that area. Beta in 05 formed there so its not impossible
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
717. 0741
3:10 AM GMT on August 25, 2007
not thing going happen sw carribbean their no storm in that area
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
715. extreme236
3:07 AM GMT on August 25, 2007
Posted By: LLJ at 3:07 AM GMT on August 25, 2007.

The extreme SW Carib is usually an area of disturbed weather during the season. The mostly semi-permanent low pressure area is there again. I doubt anything from there except a quick exit West.


Well, its something to watch during this lull of activity. some models forecast sfc pressures to drop in this area so this is an area to watch.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
713. extreme236
3:04 AM GMT on August 25, 2007
so the areas to watch are the african coast and the SW caribbean, otherwise, everything else seems to be in the clear right now
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
712. extreme236
3:01 AM GMT on August 25, 2007
so right now the tropics are quiet, but it doesnt look like it will be that way much longer. perhaps tomorrow things will ramp up a bit, if something spins up in the SW caribbean
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
711. extreme236
2:59 AM GMT on August 25, 2007
also, it looks like the UKM shows a cyclone developing in the SW caribbean perhaps in 24hrs
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
710. mississippiwx23
2:56 AM GMT on August 25, 2007
It looks like the 'wave train' might once again be starting. And luckily, this time it looks like they all might be 'fish storms'. Definately the best way to get rid of that energy imbalance. Lets just hope Bermunda doesn't get in the way.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
708. boobless
2:34 AM GMT on August 25, 2007
Re: End of CV season.
How bout the ole African Easterly Jet?
In simplest terms (which is all I can get my arms around) The interaction between this jet, the african heat over land and the large temperature differential of the eatl compared to the land sets up a few ripples in the atmosphere. Poof, you got a wave/storm.

This jet is about 14N/600mb in Summer and makes a pretty sharp retreat ending near 2N/700mb by October. CV over somewhere along this retreat.

Or so the theory goes.

I have read some studies that suggest the end of the cv season is caused by GW. ]


Member Since: Posts: Comments:
707. extreme236
2:57 AM GMT on August 25, 2007
both ngps and cmc seem to have something developing in the SW caribbean near the central american coast. CMC has it developing in 30hrs
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
705. Drakoen
2:56 AM GMT on August 25, 2007
Posted By: extreme236 at 2:55 AM GMT on August 25, 2007.

Hey drak i noticed that the gfs cyclone phase map shows something developing SW of the CV islands on sunday as well


yea but then it drops it.
Member Since: October 28, 2006 Posts: 57 Comments: 30841
704. mississippiwx23
2:53 AM GMT on August 25, 2007
I really like it that this website has open discussion on so many topics, definately when the tropics are dead. It is nice to hear everyone's opinion and read other research that I had not heard of before. I am a sceptic by my nature, but I hope that will only make me a better researcher in the future as I continue my studies.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
703. Drakoen
2:55 AM GMT on August 25, 2007
ECMWF
Member Since: October 28, 2006 Posts: 57 Comments: 30841
702. extreme236
2:54 AM GMT on August 25, 2007
Hey drak i noticed that the gfs cyclone phase map shows something developing SW of the CV islands on sunday as well
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
701. extreme236
2:50 AM GMT on August 25, 2007
hey drak can you link the 12z ecmwf run?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
700. mississippiwx23
2:47 AM GMT on August 25, 2007
Yes yes, we are having some effect. I guess I will be a sceptic for a long time, until things really get bad. But the truth is, we cant really do anything about it now. It is too late. If our CO2 emissions are really heating up the Earth, studies have shown that if we put as much work as we can into cleaning the environment we only just delay the heating, not stop it...give or take 10 years. It really isnt worth destroying the economy and so forth just to slow the warming by a few years.

The Earth will balance itself out in time, it always has and always will. CO2 levels have been much higher in the past, and yet here we are today. I may be over simplifying it, but I really believe we do not have as much to worry about as the media/government wants us to.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
699. Drakoen
2:49 AM GMT on August 25, 2007
Posted By: extreme236 at 2:49 AM GMT on August 25, 2007.

it appears that the 18z gfs is developing two african waves, within the next 6 days or so


Next Week tuesday according to the cyclone phase diagram. Also look at the ECMWF 12z run.
Member Since: October 28, 2006 Posts: 57 Comments: 30841
697. extreme236
2:48 AM GMT on August 25, 2007
it appears that the 18z gfs is developing two african waves, within the next 6 days or so
Member Since: Posts: Comments:

Viewing: 747 - 697

Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | 21 | 22 | 23 | 24 | 25 | 26 | 27Blog Index

Top of Page

About

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

Local Weather

Overcast
36 °F
Overcast

JeffMasters's Recent Photos

Lake Effort Snow Shower Over Windsor, Ontario
Sunset on Dunham Lake
Pictured Rocks Sunset
Sunset on Lake Huron