Cold Weather in Denver: Climate Change and Arctic Oscillation (8)

By: Dr. Ricky Rood , 6:25 AM GMT on December 08, 2013

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Cold Weather in Denver: Climate Change and Arctic Oscillation (8)

I’ve been living with this cold weather in Colorado this week. If you look around at the Wunderground personal weather station sites, we’ve seen a lot of about -10 F at nights. It’s been causing a lot of grief for homeless people, animals and pipes. There have been a few record lows set. The whole Arctic air mass is starting to move east, which means it will get a lot more press. According to Jeff Master’s blog 80% of the country will be below average.

I thought I had finished my series of blogs on the Arctic Oscillation a couple of weeks ago, but this cold air out break takes me back. It that series I wrote about cold air in the Arctic that is isolated because of barriers caused by streams of rapidly moving air that flows around polar latitudes. I described wobbles in the streams that caused cold air to move south and warm air to move north. Here is one of the figures that I used.



Figure 1: This figure is from the point of view of someone looking down from above at the North Pole (NP). This represents a weak, wavy, wobbly vortex displaced from the pole. The vortex encloses cold air, represented as blue. The line surrounding the cold air is the jet stream or the edge of the vortex. (definition of vortex)

Figure 1 shows an idealized schematic of the North Pole as viewed from above. This is the weak vortex case, when there is a large wobble. In this case, the point X is cold and the point Y is warm. In a case of a stronger, more circular vortex, then the case would be reversed, with point X warm and point Y cold.

Here is a figure from the European Center for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF), that I have marked up a bit. The colors are the temperatures at the 850 hecto-Pascal surface, which is about 1.5 kilometers above the surface. The 850 hecto-Pascal temperatures are a good indicator of where it is hot and cold at the surface.


Figure 2: This figure is from the point of view of someone looking down from above at the North Pole (NP). The contour lines on the figure are the height of the 500 hecto-Pascal surface, which is between 5 and 6 kilometers above the surface of the Earth. The colors are the temperatures at the 850 hecto-Pascal surface, which is about 1.5 kilometers above the surface. The 850 hecto-Pascal temperatures are a good indicator of where it is hot and cold at the surface. Figure from the European Center for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF)

I drew a blue arrow showing that the cold air at the pole has wobbled off of the pole and it is pushed towards Colorado. To the west there is warm air, red arrow, pushing up towards Alaska. So while it has been cold in Colorado, it has been quite warm in much of Alaska. Though a less prominent signal, there has also been warm air moving up the East Coast of the U.S. The Alaska – Colorado contrast is a nice real-world example of what I showed in Figure 1. For completeness with my example, the big, black dashed line is the jet stream of air flowing around the pole.

There were several points in my series on the Arctic Oscillation. The first important point is that even in a world that is getting warmer, the polar latitudes become isolated as the Sun goes down for the winter and jet stream intensifies. In this isolation it gets cold, because there is no heating from the Sun and the polar latitudes have a barrier between themselves and the warmer lower latitudes. The second important point is this wobble, the pushing of air off of the pole in some direction. In this case the coldest air is over Greenland, Canada and the U.S. If there is sufficient wobble to push the air far to the south or if it gets pushed to some place it did not get pushed before, then it is even likely to have record cold. These points are all work together and are not correctly viewed as independent events. (I was recently annoyed by the parenthetical dismissal of global warming in this otherwise nice prediction of early strong lake effect snow in Michigan. The statement was essentially pockets of cold Arctic air should not exist.)

I will finish with the Arctic Oscillation. The Arctic Oscillation Index from the Climate Prediction Center is shown in Figure 3. The discussion in my Arctic Oscillation series focused on the positive and negative phases of the Arctic Oscillation Index. Much of the attention was on the eastern U.S. The negative phase was when it is likely to be very cold in the eastern U.S.



Figure 3: Arctic Oscillation Index for early August 2013 until December 7, 2013 from the Climate Prediction Center

In this measure of the Arctic Oscillation Index, the most recent times have been weakly positive, tending towards negative. (Perhaps suggesting movement of the cold air towards the U.S. east coast?) Perhaps more important Figures 2 and 3 together show that large undulations with warm air pushing far northward and cold air displaced off the pole can occur in other parts of the world when the index is weak. As pointed out many other times over the years of this blog, what goes on in the U.S. is not good instantaneous editorial content for climate change.

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Previous entries:

Climate Change and the Arctic Oscillation 2

Climate Change and the Arctic Oscillation 1

Wobbles in the Barriers

Barriers in the Atmosphere

Behavior

Definitions and Some Background

August Arctic Oscillation presentation

CPC Climate Glossary “The Arctic Oscillation is a pattern in which atmospheric pressure at polar and middle latitudes fluctuates between negative and positive phases.”

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Quoting 479. yoboi:




Yeah cherry pick if ya like.....he tells it like it is like Dr Roy Spencer.....
Besides the drought study, do you have other examples of Hoerling's position on climate change?
Member Since: January 6, 2013 Posts: 3 Comments: 2369
481. yoboi
Quoting 478. Birthmark:

They do not represent the views of either of those organizations. The fact that they work there is irrelevant.

However, Spencer is especially funny. Here's the data that his organization puts out:



So is Spencer skeptical of himself? LOL




BS you know you are cherry picking there data.....Science Is a good thing embrace the true picture.....Not the cherries............
Member Since: August 25, 2010 Posts: 7 Comments: 2335
Hoerling led the NOAA study that did not link th 2012 drought to climate change. The conclusion was much criticized, and the denalists decided Hoerling was on their side. AFAIK other (real) climate scientists criticized the report as too conservative but didn't put Hoerling in the denier camp.

"A new report by Martin Hoerling and his team of NOAA researchers investigated the underlying causes of the devastating (and still ongoing) drought of 2012 using computer modeling. The report provides a valuable contribution to understanding the immediate factors driving the occurrence of droughts but misses the underlying ways in which global warming makes drought conditions more likely and more severe. It also ignores two new key science developments. The NOAA report "is quite incomplete in many respects, and it asks the wrong questions. Then it does not provide very useful answers to the questions that are asked," says Kevin Trenberth at the National Center for Atmospheric Research."

Climate Science Watch
Member Since: January 6, 2013 Posts: 3 Comments: 2369
479. yoboi
Quoting 476. TheDevilsAdvocate:

Is this the same Martin Hoerling that said:

“. . . [Presently] we’re breaking high temperature records much more frequently than by chance. And, by some estimates, the ratio of that exceedance of breaking highs compared to what you would expect by chance would lead to us say to that there’s about an 80 percent chance that the record high you experienced was due to climate change.” Link





Yeah cherry pick if ya like.....he tells it like it is like Dr Roy Spencer.....
Member Since: August 25, 2010 Posts: 7 Comments: 2335
Quoting 469. yoboi:


are you saying NASA & NOAA does not know what they are talking about???????

They do not represent the views of either of those organizations. The fact that they work there is irrelevant.

However, Spencer is especially funny. Here's the data that his organization puts out:



So is Spencer skeptical of himself? LOL
Member Since: October 30, 2005 Posts: 7 Comments: 5469
Quoting 472. tramp96:

Naw I didn't miss the point just trying to make another
You base your truths on people with little integrity.
I concede I may be wrong about GW.


Nice. Since you concede that you may be wrong about GW, what do you think the consequences for us will be if you are wrong about GW?
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Quoting 467. yoboi:


for starters look at Martin Hoerling & Spencer....

Is this the same Martin Hoerling that said:

“. . . [Presently] we’re breaking high temperature records much more frequently than by chance. And, by some estimates, the ratio of that exceedance of breaking highs compared to what you would expect by chance would lead to us say to that there’s about an 80 percent chance that the record high you experienced was due to climate change.” Link

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Quoting 474. cyclonebuster:


Perhaps 3% of them....Can one bad apple can spoil the whole bunch?

Um well y'all have the ice cream man
Member Since: August 15, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 1561
Quoting 469. yoboi:


are you saying NASA & NOAA does not know what they are talking about???????


Perhaps 3% of them....Can one bad apple can spoil the whole bunch?
Member Since: January 2, 2006 Posts: 127 Comments: 20401
Here's a list of Spencer's most recent papers with links to papers refuting all of them:


Spencer & Braswell (2008) [Abs, full]
Lin et al. (2010) [Abs]
http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/ S0022407310001226

Murphy & Forster (2010) [Abs]
http://journals.ametsoc.org/doi/abs/10.1175/2010J CLI3657.1
Dessler (2010) [Abs, full]
http://geotest.tamu.edu/userfiles/216/dessler10b. pdf
[BLOG] Barry Bickmore http://bbickmore.wordpress.com/2011/02/25/roy-spen cers-great-blunder-part-1/



Spencer & Braswell (2009) [Abs]
Lin et al. (2010) [Abs] http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S 0022407310001226


Spencer & Braswell (2010) [Abs, full]
Dessler (2010) [Abs, full] http://geotest.tamu.edu/userfiles/216/dessler10b.p df

Spencer & Braswell (2011) [Abs, full]
Dessler (2011) [Abs, full]
http://geotest.tamu.edu/userfiles/216/Dessler2011 .pdf
Trenberth et al. (2011) [Abs, full]
http://www.mdpi.com/2072-4292/3/9/2051
[BLOG] RealClimate http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2011 /07/misdiagnosis-of-surface-temperature-feedback/
[BLOG] LiveScience
[BLOG] Global Warming: Man or Myth?


And another example of Spencer's "fine work":

Roy Spencer's six trillion degree Warming



Figure 7: The black curve is observed temperatures since 1850; red curves are temperatures from Bickmore's matlab implementation of Spencer's model with initial temperature anomalies of -1 to -6 trillion degrees C in the year 993 AD.

It turns out you need to set the starting temperature to negative six trillion degrees in 993, in order to match Spencer's model for the 20th century. 6 trillion degrees. Wow. Now that's global warming!
Member Since: June 27, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 3280
Quoting 464. Some1Has2BtheRookie:


Sorry for the delay, tramp96. I just got back. I think you are missing my point. I was not talking about the intellectual integrity of anyone else other than you. You skipped right over this.

Naw I didn't miss the point just trying to make another
You base your truths on people with little integrity.
I concede I may be wrong about GW.
Member Since: August 15, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 1561
Quoting 467. yoboi:


for starters look at Martin Hoerling & Spencer....
Spencer isn't currently employed by either NASA or NOAA. As for Hoerling, please provide citations for his work.

You said many scientists. In my book, one does not equal many. Once again, an epic fail on your part.

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Quoting 467. yoboi:


for starters look at Martin Hoerling & Spencer....


Yobi, two people are many only if your pool to draw from is three people.
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469. yoboi
Quoting 468. cyclonebuster:


Those are the 3%ers dude..


are you saying NASA & NOAA does not know what they are talking about???????
Member Since: August 25, 2010 Posts: 7 Comments: 2335
Quoting 467. yoboi:


for starters look at Martin Hoerling & Spencer....


Those are the 3%ers dude..
Member Since: January 2, 2006 Posts: 127 Comments: 20401
467. yoboi
Quoting 465. TheDevilsAdvocate:
If I'm not mistaken, you were going to provide us with the names of all of those many NASA/NOAA scientists that think the world isn't warming. How about it?



for starters look at Martin Hoerling & Spencer....
Member Since: August 25, 2010 Posts: 7 Comments: 2335
The recovery is so huge they have to rescale the graph...

Member Since: January 2, 2006 Posts: 127 Comments: 20401
Quoting 460. yoboi:


I read it and me and many great scientist disagree.....
If I'm not mistaken, you were going to provide us with the names of all of those many NASA/NOAA scientists that think the world isn't warming. How about it?

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Quoting 342. tramp96:

You want in integrity? Try this

Link


Sorry for the delay, tramp96. I just got back. I think you are missing my point. I was not talking about the intellectual integrity of anyone else other than you. You skipped right over this.
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Quoting 458. Neapolitan:
Ohmigod! Look at that! Another recovery this year! Just like the one in 2008! And 2001! And 1996! And 1994! And 1992! And 1986! And 1983! And 1982! And 1981! Gosh, at this rate we might recover all the way down to no ice at all!


The recovery has commenced again?
LOL...
Member Since: January 2, 2006 Posts: 127 Comments: 20401
Advice from Greg Laden's Blog:

How to not look like an idiot

The best way to not look like an idiot is to shut up. Works every time. Why just a few minutes ago I said something really stupid because I confused UPS and USPS. Should have just kept my mouth shut, but I didn’t.

This time of year a lot of people start sounding like idiots, quite possibly because they are idiots (but see below for alternative explanations), when it comes to global warming. For example, someone who may or may not be a “global warming denier” (i.e. a person who does not believe in physics) sent me, out of the blue, this string of tweets:


Read more ...
Member Since: June 27, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 3280
Quoting 458. Neapolitan:
Ohmigod! Look at that! Another recovery this year! Just like the one in 2008! And 2001! And 1996! And 1994! And 1992! And 1986! And 1983! And 1982! And 1981! Gosh, at this rate we might recover all the way down to no ice at all!


Yeah, funny how every one of those "recoveries" is lower than the previous "recovery".
Member Since: June 27, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 3280
460. yoboi
Quoting 452. Xulonn:
You are posting in the comments section of a blog in Climate Change blog by Dr. Ricky Rood.

Dr. Rood just did a series of blog entries on the Arctic Oscillation and how it affects weather, including deep and often sustained intrusions of winter Arctic air into the U.S.

Did you read and understand Dr. Rood's blog entries? Or are you simply ignoring science and coming here only to post "the weather is cold somewhere, therefore AGW/CC doesn't exits" comments, as recommended by the AGW/CC denialist industry?



I read it and me and many great scientist disagree.....
Member Since: August 25, 2010 Posts: 7 Comments: 2335
459. yoboi
Quoting 458. Neapolitan:
Ohmigod! Look at that! Another recovery this year! Just like the one in 2008! And 2001! And 1996! And 1994! And 1992! And 1986! And 1983! And 1982! And 1981! Gosh, at this rate we might recover all the way down to no ice at all!



You Know that is not true.....embrace the good news neap....
Member Since: August 25, 2010 Posts: 7 Comments: 2335
Quoting 443. JohnLonergan:
Ohmigod! Look at that! Another recovery this year! Just like the one in 2008! And 2001! And 1996! And 1994! And 1992! And 1986! And 1983! And 1982! And 1981! Gosh, at this rate we might recover all the way down to no ice at all!
Member Since: November 8, 2009 Posts: 4 Comments: 13526
Quoting 453. Cochise111:

More baseless assertion from you. Mann's hockey stick has been reproduced by many others using many methodologies.



Why do you bother?
Member Since: October 30, 2005 Posts: 7 Comments: 5469
Quoting 453. Cochise111:


Even other warmists think Mann's hockey stick is a crock. Keep on believing....



Really which ones?
Member Since: January 2, 2006 Posts: 127 Comments: 20401
Quoting 435. overwash12:
Yes,they currently are part of the Globe. It just wasn't Montana,Snow in Cairo! They never get snow until now.


Well, I'm sure you know that your statement there is exaggerated. Even the news media knows Cairo has seen snow before.

Quoting 5. Irpsit:
Here comes (from a Wikipedia discussion) when did events like this happened in Egypt.

Apparently, some flakes fell in Cairo in 1950, but little. But a snowstorm like this, we must go back to 1855 and before that only in 1639.

So, an event like this, is as rare as once in 200 years.

Member Since: July 2, 2012 Posts: 100 Comments: 10277
Quoting 436. overwash12:
Officially? What is December 21st for the daily double. Ha ha.


Dec 21st is the astronomical winter solstice. If you're gonna talk weather, at least recognize that winter (in the weather world) started two weeks ago on Dec. 1.
Member Since: July 2, 2012 Posts: 100 Comments: 10277
Quoting 442. Birthmark:

Seriously? You offer the mad babbling of an anti-science blogger in response to published science. You can't expect your position to be taken seriously by grown-ups.


Even other warmists think Mann's hockey stick is a crock. Keep on believing....
Member Since: February 9, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 340
Quoting 426. overwash12:
I know about that,but typically the coldest temps arrive 10 to 15 days after the winter solstice. Correct?
You are posting in the comments section of a blog in Climate Change blog by Dr. Ricky Rood.

Dr. Rood just did a series of blog entries on the Arctic Oscillation and how it affects weather, including deep and often sustained intrusions of winter Arctic air into the U.S.

Did you read and understand Dr. Rood's blog entries? Or are you simply ignoring science and coming here only to post "the weather is cold somewhere, therefore AGW/CC doesn't exits" comments, as recommended by the AGW/CC denialist industry?

Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting 450. overwash12:
So you think it was just cold locally in these places or the surrounding areas also. Come on what is really going on here?



This sums it up pretty good for you...




November will be pretty much the same when it comes out in the next few days...





...
Member Since: January 2, 2006 Posts: 127 Comments: 20401
Quoting 449. cyclonebuster:


Well lets see Montana and Cairo add up to 147,217 square miles and Earths Northern hemisphere adds up to 98,469,950 square miles..... So does that equal global?
So you think it was just cold locally in these places or the surrounding areas also. Come on what is really going on here?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting 447. overwash12:
Well,they are on opposite sides of the globe. Does that count?


Well lets see Montana and Cairo add up to 147,217 square miles and Earths Northern hemisphere adds up to 98,469,950 square miles..... So does that equal global?
Member Since: January 2, 2006 Posts: 127 Comments: 20401
Quoting 445. ScottLincoln:

Re-read my post. I addressed that exact point.
Yes,you are correct. I agree,this winter could turn out to be a warm one and the early record cold would be just that.
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Quoting 439. cyclonebuster:


Does Montana + Cairo = Global?
Well,they are on opposite sides of the globe. Does that count?
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Go to my blog and on post 91 comment on a blogspot that Sam Carana made for me... Click on link provided...

Member Since: January 2, 2006 Posts: 127 Comments: 20401
Quoting 431. overwash12:
That maybe true,look at the average temps. for a year in a specific location. When are the daily highs and lows at their lowest? That is my point.

Re-read my post. I addressed that exact point.
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Quoting 443. JohnLonergan:



Horrifying...
Member Since: January 2, 2006 Posts: 127 Comments: 20401
Member Since: June 27, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 3280
Quoting 438. Cochise111:

Seriously? You offer the mad babbling of an anti-science blogger in response to published science. You can't expect your position to be taken seriously by grown-ups.
Member Since: October 30, 2005 Posts: 7 Comments: 5469
Quoting 423. Daisyworld:


And you picking and choosing scientists to quote out of context is supposed to prove something, yoboi? Again, we see your inability to understand science. It's not about one scientist, or a handful. It's about a consensus of scientists who make up the scientific opinion from which the mainstream climate science flows.

Of course, mainstream climate science won't change YOUR opinion. You've got your conclusion, which was pre-established without any methodology or data collection on your part, disallowing any critical analysis. You've posted nothing but lies and disinformation since you arrived here, and nothing you write is going to make your fraudulent opinion any more truthful.

So stop posting as if you understand climate science or the scientific process.

Better yet, stop posting altogether.
This applies to more than yoboi on here. Perhaps we could save this and repost it in response to the false ans misleading statements? Of course, we might get tired of seeing so often......
Member Since: January 6, 2013 Posts: 3 Comments: 2369
Quoting 438. Cochise111:


Certainly it was. Of course, that admission would destroy this fraud of AGW. You have the nerve to post a paper from Mikey Mann, author of the discredited Hockey Schtick graph? Give me a break. Typical warmists. Clinging to threads of refuted BS.

Link


LOL Michael Mann one of the 97% is discredited...
Member Since: January 2, 2006 Posts: 127 Comments: 20401
Quoting 435. overwash12:
Yes,they currently are part of the Globe. It just wasn't Montana,Snow in Cairo! They never get snow until now.


Does Montana + Cairo = Global?
Member Since: January 2, 2006 Posts: 127 Comments: 20401
Quoting 414. Birthmark:

It wasn't.




Certainly it was. Of course, that admission would destroy this fraud of AGW. You have the nerve to post a paper from Mikey Mann, author of the discredited Hockey Schtick graph? Give me a break. Typical warmists. Clinging to threads of refuted BS.

Link
Member Since: February 9, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 340
Quoting 434. TheDevilsAdvocate:
I thought your point was "it ain't winter yet! "

Which, of course, it actually is.


Well,I guess I had two points.
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Quoting 434. TheDevilsAdvocate:
I thought your point was "it ain't winter yet! "

Which, of course, it actually is.


Officially? What is December 21st for the daily double. Ha ha.
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Quoting 432. cyclonebuster:



Is Montana a global temperature?
Yes,they currently are part of the Globe. It just wasn't Montana,Snow in Cairo! They never get snow until now.
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Quoting 431. overwash12:
That maybe true,look at the average temps. for a year in a specific location. When are the daily highs and lows at their lowest? That is my point.
I thought your point was "it ain't winter yet! "

Which, of course, it actually is.


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From Greg Laden"s blog:

This is the warmest November yet, in terms of “surface temperatures.”

Surface temperatures are only one way to measure global warming, but it is a sort of standard and it is meaningful because surface temperatures have a lot to so with weather and such. Data for NOAA’s GLOBAL Land-Ocean Temperature Index in 0.01 degrees Celsius using a base period of 1951-1980 can be found HERE. Climate Communicator ThingsBreak put a graph on the internet based on those data for November. Here’s a copy of it:
Member Since: June 27, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 3280
Quoting 420. overwash12:
I have a friend who lives in Montana,she said it already hit -41 F. and it ain't winter yet! Cheers and Godspeed!



Is Montana a global temperature?
Member Since: January 2, 2006 Posts: 127 Comments: 20401

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About RickyRood

I'm a professor at U Michigan and lead a course on climate change problem solving. These articles often come from and contribute to the course.