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I've changed something in the comment settings (instead of 'Threaded' with replies, I'm opting for a plain list with numbered comments), just to see how it goes. Please, bear. :-)

Espen Olsen


I can add to this. Just 20 kms north of Copenhagen, it unusually cold too!

Jim Hunt

Hi Neven,

The rain has finally stopped in South West England. Last night was cold and clear for the first time in a long time, but no snow here as yet.

As luck would have it my eldest son currently resides in Lodz, and here's some English language news from central Poland:


Going back to winter weirdness #1 for a moment, if I may, here's my Sandy Surf Forecast for New York City for tomorrow, together with a brief message to the candidates for the Presidency of the United States of America:


I wonder how many power lines will be cut in the US over the next couple of days?



Here is another view of the Warm Arctic Cold Continents that may be forming. The ERSL/PSD runs reveal highly anamolous warmth in the Arctic.

One side effect of Sandy will be heavy snow in the higher elevations of the Appalachian Mountains of the Eastern US - up to 60 cm to a meter in some places over the next several days.

Neven, you can fix the link...or replace with the 10/26/12 image. From my perspective we are seeing the initial round of impacts of a warming Arctic.





Jim, feel free to discuss Sandy here. The comment section of the other post was getting full.

A4R, thanks for that image (I've shortened the link). Warm Arctic, Cold Continents. As the French would say: oui, oui.

ESRL has its own anomaly graph as well. Red all over the place.


Apocalypse, your link shows warming in the Arctic exactly where the open water remains, even cooler at the Pole surrounded by ice. The warm Arctic cold continents pattern should be mainly happening in the fall and beginning of winter. As some have noted, its becoming a trend starting at last 6 or 7 years ago. Perhaps even further back in time.

Piotr Djaków

Snow in Poland in late october? Nothing unusual. 3 years ago it was 14th october. Conditions this year are very similar to those from 1997.


Just a word… without having thoroughly interpreted lots of info…

The pattern change through the third decade of October is striking. Wayne has already come up with some explanations on the anomalous high pressure zone over NA and S Greenland (on SL as well as 500 Mb).

The Polar Jet shows wild loops over NA (up to the GOM) and Europe (well into the Maghreb/N Africa).
Central and E Europe got hit by early winter. AFAICS things around the Okhotsk-Kolyma region (NW Pacific) aren’t shaped as usual too.

I am not sure if there is a direct relationship to extreme loss of Arctic sea ice last summer. It is one factor within a bunch. From the faltering of an almost certain El Nino to the unexpected and dangerous developments in the NE USA, it looks as though harmony has faded and volatility has begun.

Pjotr, while you are right in saying it is not unusual, it is the volatility that characterizes these weather busts. FI, my wife enjoyed 26dC last week in SW France. Now nights are frosty and daytime reaches only +6dC.

Jim Hunt

Hi Piotr,

My interest in Polish meteorology is much more recent than yours, but I know snow is nothing unusual! I also know a week or so ago temperatures in Łódź were over 20. Is such a sudden decline common in October, particularly when accompanied by power cuts?


Here's a quote from Kevin Trenberth in Andrew Revkin's latest downplaying effort (there's also a quote from Dr. Jennifer Francis):

The sea surface temperatures along the coast are 5 degrees F. or more above average and 1 degree F. is from global warming. Stronger storm and more precipitation results.

But with respect to the Arctic connection, I don’t believe it. Yes the NAO and NAM have gone negative: the NAO since about the middle of October, and it is projected to go back to close to zero in a week or so: heading to more positive now. The NAO and NAM (or AO as some call it) are natural modes of variability. They occur in models with no external forcings and just climo SSTs. The SAM in the Southern Hemisphere is similar in that regard and the SAM has been affected by the ozone hole and perhaps CO2 to make for a more positive sign. This is clear. So the natural mode can be influenced by externalities. There are several possibilities in the Northern Hemisphere. One may be the Arctic sea ice melt, another might be ozone depletion and certainly events in the stratosphere (including solar effects). To the extent that cooling in the Southern Hemisphere makes for a more positive phase of SAM, one might argue that warming in the Northern Hemisphere works the other way, but it is far from clear. NAO and NAM can do this all by itself. How less sea ice does anything is not clear. It does mean air is apt to be warmer and moister and with prospects for more snow on nearby land in the Fall. But the actual heating of the atmosphere is very small to cause it to do anything.

The studies published on this report associations that, to me, do not tell us cause and effect.It is true that hurricanes normally recurve and head east, especially at this time of year. So we do have a negative NAO and some blocking anticyclone in place, but the null hypothesis has to be that this is just “weather” and natural variability. The more definitive study on effects is by Balmaseda et al in QJRMS last year.

The first thing I learned about the AO or NAO, is that the index in itself says nothing. It tells you whether the Arctic is dominated by low- or high-pressure systems. It doesn't tell you where those systems are. And you have to know where they are to know what could be causing them to be there.


Neven, its not really a rejection, I agree that the AO is too vague a description, gives me a headache when someone uses it, I rather describe the general layout.
Eventually sea ice will cover the Arctic a whole lot more. So the AO going positive fits well with the status of the refreeze.

"One may be the Arctic sea ice melt, another might be ozone depletion and certainly events in the stratosphere (including solar effects)."

Yes on ice melt, ozone depletion is the wrong season, events in the stratosphere perhaps because they refer to the Jet stream???

Did they study the general circulation in the High Arctic? Regardless there will be many discussions to come, but they acknowledges sea ice conditions which is not a downplay of the Arctic connection. So their response is confusing.

Bernard Vatant

In France Southern Alps at elevation 1000m a week ago we had mild temperatures well over 20°C in the afternoon. Yesterday we got 10cm of snow pushed by a sustained north wind. Over 60cm in the high valleys of Queyras. See this impressive record for Col Agnel, with temperatures dropping about 15°C in two days.

r w Langford

Here is a recent paper review in Climate Change that relates wind direction and strength changes as they have affected the polar melt for the last six years.
http://climatechangepsychology.blogspot.co.uk/2012/10/june-wind-shift-little-something-extra.html Hope this isn't old news as I have not read all the posts lately.


Hi all,
Someone asked me:
"With the warm of the hurricane and the cold from the north west... what dynamics are missing from the potential to form tornados? Is it the updraft? Because in all the media coverage, there is nary a suggestion that this is a possibility, so there must be a reason it is not possible."

What do you think?


The Wall Street Journal, normally paywalled, has allowed public access for the duration. Here is what our lords and masters have been learning about Arctic Sea Ice:


(Some sane stuff from several years ago, and, more recently, inane gobbledigook from Matt Ridley.)

Espen Olsen


Now at 940 MB, pretty amazing!?!?


It's freaking me out, that's what it is.

But maybe all will turn out okay.

Espen Olsen

Here is my comment on Sandy, in the "FT" of Denmark. It is in the bottom of the article with the title "The perfect storm" please us a translator:


Jim Hunt

I'm not sure whether this counts as a domino, or as turning out OK, but there are now over 1 million "customers" without electricity as a result of Sandy's efforts.


Again I observe with amazement the quasi stationary Cyclones hanging about the open sea water left over by the great melt of 2012. There is not much doubt that this stability is greatly affecting weather of the Northern Hemisphere let alone a single powerful hurricane. I suggest looking at satellite loops rather than pressure maps to see this polar phenomenon.

Jim Hunt

My initial reflections on last night's "weirdness":


To summarize, currently at least 6 million households are without electricity. When and where do you suppose the next such "once in a lifetime event" might occur?

Jdean Dingler

Once in a lifetime events appear to be happening with some regularity...


i wonder if somehow a vector analysis of the CICE speed and drift could be done to confirm the Neven/Wayne et al hypothesis that quasi stationary lows are a statistically significant feature.

for the record i absolutely buy the explanation provided, but on wunderground, i find Waynes observation that most weather minded people don't explore the causes of the blocking high to be present to be absolutely prescient. if a pattern clearly exists, it could offer a quantitative and predictive result. those are somewhat harder to discredit.

im not very apt at being able to do these things, but its just my thoughts as a yeoman.

Remko Kampen

The European cold of past weekend breaks no records, not even close, nowhere. The 'heat' last week: did.

Anyway, what I consider both weird and still (too) rarely remarked on is the blocking high in absolutely forbidden terroritory, i.e. over the Cold Wall between Newfoundland and Greenland. Never seen a high persist there so there's a first imo.

The relevance of this? Sandy. The block caused this huge system to take a left instead of racing as a normal extratropical system to the Denmark Straight or so like normal.

If there really is weirdness coming up from the Arctic melt, I expect it to be seen in the months of August to December, but not (yet) in the rest of the year.

Jim Hunt

Not that I want to alarm anyone. I'm professionally interested in the (im)balance between electricity supply and demand:


There are now at least 7 million households without electricity, and a variety of nuclear plants have been shut down, for a variety of reasons


But the question is, "how many nuclear reactors are without power?"


Probably slightly OT, but Nares Strait is open again advecting a little more of the precious MYI southward. The reforming ice dam in the Lincoln Sea is the evidence.

The gale force winds from the north into Fram Strait have caused a lot of ice movement - again robbing us of needed MYI.


Aaron Lewis

Weirdness? This is normal weather in a time of global warming. If you want real "weirdness" in your weather just wait a bit.

Everything for the foreseeable future is going to be weirder and weirder.

It is the end of October, and part of the SW coast of Greenland is still above freezing. It is very hard to reconcile this with the temperatures at the top of the GIS or the temperatures at Iqaluit. A "blocking high" sitting over Greenland with temperatures above freezing? A blizzard in Davis, WV and 32F in Nuuk, Gl? None of our weather "rules of thumb" work any more. Our meteorological buzz words refer to concepts that have expired. Now, we have to go back and think about the physics of weather processes, and do the math. Then, comes the hard part. We have to believe the math, and act.


Stan, The models were amazingly correct for most predictions about this big storm, this should humble the fake skeptics perhaps a wee little. Weather wise, the High Arctic is usually forgotten and it does not surprise me that most experts have not come around with the origins of blocking Highs. With retrospect they have been occurring more often, namely December 2010 in the UK freezing really bad, some of the loudest contrarians thought it was the start of the new ice age. While at the same time the Canadian Archipelago had a heat wave. Weather is severely interlinked between each region, the tread between the distinct features is the pattern seen worldwide.

Thwemoran High over and extending from Greenland is very pertinent with the persistent low over Greenland, Barents and Kara seas...

Right on Aaron, weird is regular and normal is weird now a days.



i remember that well. I was working outside at the time in eastern north america. i remember it being brutally cold that december.

i also remember those days in that the temperatures near greenland were above freezing. with no sunlight.

if we our viewpoint is right, and we can predict some of the effects of low ice area etc....that gives our point of view a huge advantage.

because everyone says you can't predict the weather. esp if events that were pseudo random in the previous contemporary times now have a new normal.

i wish i knew more about these topics.

Jim Hunt

It depends on what precisely you mean by "without power" Mdoliner.

At Oyster Creek the emergency diesel generators successfully auto-actuated following the loss of off-site power.

Does that count as a nought or a one?

i wish i knew more about these topics.

That makes two of us, Stan.


Probably the less said the better.

A picture says 1,000 words. Well, I make that about 1,000,000 words that the denialists need to concoct in the next week.

In other news...

WUWT parody site VVUWT is now running the original as parody...


A sensible point, about Arctic Sea Ice, why not?

The anomaly in the Beaufort was already at a record anomaly for this specific area:


...and I think it is now probably at an all time record percentage low for any area in the Arctic, ever in the satellite record. (~70% anomaly).


Idunno, The Beaufort had a Cyclone over it for a long time, its clouds cut off radiation to space and there you have it, the most open water Arctic Ocean at the Beginning of November. From +26 C water off NY coast to the high Arctic, its warmer. Global temperature records are not as good as Arctic sea ice as a metric or gauge in determining GW. There may be a pause in short term Global Temperatures likely the step escalator effect, but sea ice is a better measure, it incorporates everything; salinity, precipitation, air and sea trends all into one. It should be very hard to prove that the planet is not warming, and I know that despite all these latest great events some will simply not get it. I write to those who want to learn.


In the aftermath of cyclone Sandy there is a patronizing tendency in some comments made here in the Netherlands. I wouldn’t use the word ‘scornful’, because sympathy with the affected people prevails.

After Katrina there was a comparable attitude here.

I’ve been wondering what could cause this.

For the moment, I guess the sheer scale of the ‘Sandy’-set-up just eludes public opinion here. At the same time that also goes for the possibility that the set-up might have been enhanced by AGW.

For instance, the great North Sea storm February 1953 had its largest impact in the SW Netherlands and the English Norfolk coast. That part of the Netherlands would have involved a stretch of the New Jersey coast say Cape May to Dog Island (some north of Atlantic City).
Combined with the English disaster scene, it would have equalled Chesapeake and Delaware Bays.
The baroclinic cyclone responsible for the Great North Sea storm of 1953 had a minimum central pressure of 966 Mb and carried a wind field of about 600 km diameter. Of course, population and land-use was more extensive then, too.

I’m not sure how the destructive energy of both systems/set-ups could be compared objectively.
My guess is, ‘Sandy’, carrying a 1800 km diameter windfield and minimum 942 Mb pressure is in another category.
Given the ‘random’ yearly spread of what was usual for hurricanes, it is unconceivable that effective flood barriers could be constructed to protect against the accompanying surges.

I guess the only mitigation against future and probably even heavier events would be to gradually retreat from any floodprone land ( at least, the risky activities… ).

Jim Hunt

I've been searching for an authoritative site containing pretty pictures that might help explain Sandy's sudden left turn to the uninitiated. I don't think anyone here has mentioned the GOES-R blog yet:


What does the team think? It does at least mention Greenland!

Piotr Djaków

@Jim Hunt
" My interest in Polish meteorology is much more recent than yours, but I know snow is nothing unusual! I also know a week or so ago temperatures in Łódź were over 20. Is such a sudden decline common in October, particularly when accompanied by power cuts?"

Very similar rapid temperature changes occured in october 1997.
2009: max. temperature in Lublin drop from 23 deg C at october 8th to 1 deg C at october 15th.

1973 - In Lublin at october 13th temperature drop to +1 deg C from 22 deg C. at october 7th.
In Siedlce temperature drop from 23 deg C to 0 deg C (7 - 13.10.1973).


Werther: "For the moment, I guess the sheer scale of the ‘Sandy’-set-up just eludes public opinion here."

I had the same problem with people understanding in the UK when Katrina hit the Gulf coast. I have sent two images to Neven to add. The first is an overlay of Sandy over Europe. The picture tells the story.

Image Hosted by ImageShack.us

The second image is a Northern Hemisphere view from the NCEP/NCAR Reanalysis data. What it depicts is the pattern of Warm Arctic/Cold Continents that we have discussed previously. This may be one factor in the current weather pattern, including early snows in Russia, Europe, Canada, and the US. The 28 October image reveals this pattern quite powerfully.

Image Hosted by ImageShack.us

Finally, the pattern of blocking highs and lows that seem to wobble in place is seen in the Ohio State University Polar Met forecast for SLP and surface temps. It usually shows the past two days, then projects forward. The loop can be viewed frame by frame.


What it forecasts is that Sandy's remnant low continues to dominate the eastern NA continent weather through Friday, since it is blocked by the high over Greenland. Additionally the low that is forming over the Norwegian Sea, north of the UK, and one in the Gulf of Alaska, remain in place and strengthen. This has been a pattern for much of this year's fall.


In addtion to the temperature anomaly image from the NCEP/NCAR data, one more image helps demonstrate the blocking highs. That is the mean surface pressure map of the Northern Hemisphere for 28 October. (Neven can you fix the link, please) [fixed, N.]

Link 1

This becomes more apparent in the 1-28 October mean sea level pressure image.

Link 2


What you're doing parallels my 'work' (I'm giving it too little time to leave the apostrophes, hélas). For 'what's apparent' in mean SLP 01/10 to 28/10: the negative NAO isn't very clear in that pic. That sticks out when October is 'decaded'. The third is 'the one...'.
ATM my 'work' with the reanalysis maps is complicated. That's because the scale/colour differs between the various time selections.
One thing that is strange is that the Polar Vortex 500 Mb shifted to centered on Svalbard 3rd decade.


Wondering if we might see this sort of "fall cold snaps" followed by "no winter," like last year?


As a hurricane forecaster - I've gotten numerous questions from some former clients, Energy Industry Newsletters and numerous CNBC’s Financial Channel.

I want to emphasis that for the first time since 2005/2006, I have never seen so much media and industry asking 'Is this extreme weather due to climate Change'? There has not been a better time since 2006 to contact media/politicians regarding ‘climate change’ – they are finally in hearing’ mode.


939mb – we’ve seen the exact same phenomena with IRENE and IKE – just to name the famous ones of recent years. ‘ Something’ is happening that is inhibiting a long-lived, hurricane with a amore evenly distributed pressure gradient near the eye comparable to what was being experienced 200 miles away of the storm.

With Sandy, Eyewall formation as observed during the 72 hrs prior to landfall never lasted long enough to produce winds any stronger near the Eyewall so Sandy ’only’ produced strong CAT 1 winds during the hours just before landfall.

Sandy more evenly spaced pressure gradient typical of strong, winter-like Nor’Easters, which produced gales over 500NM from the center. Even though the ‘eye’ never really closed off in those final 72 hours, it did produced a steadily increase in the wind field as one got closer to the ‘center. Sandy’s lack of a persistently closed off eyewall and a ‘thermal eyewall’ of only about 5°c (indicative of a strong CAT 1 or CAT 2 meant there was little chance for the pressure gradient near and the ragged eyewall could increase; and producing a more classical gale force wind area pp to maybe 125 NM from the center and Hurricane force some 25 miles from the center – usually in the NE-E quadrant. A ‘typical’ 939mb central pressure (confirmed by dropsondes) would ‘normally’ be expected to produce a solid CAT 3 with 115 to 135 mph winds in the Atlantic basin. The dropsonde pressure of 939mb; typical of a major hurricane, instead only had CAT 1 winds – with gale force winds up to 500 NM from the center and hurricane force within 75 miles of the center. This huge size, and long period of time of gale force winds produced a storm surge in some areas equal to that of a strong CAT 2 and low end CAT 3.

In addition, another aspect to the unusual pressure gradient produced its strongest winds were often found n the SW quadrant - normally the weakest side of the storm!

I could ‘understand’ this ‘unwinding’ of the strong pressure gradient near the eyewall of IKE – a CAT 5 when it hit Cuba, which severely disrupted the circulation and structure of the eyewall and its pressure gradient This allowed the storm to expand outwards – and it never again was able to tighten up the gradient near the ‘eyewall’ as too much mass had become closely tied to IKE’s circulation field. The storm’s pressure gradient simply ‘spread out’ to the point of no return. Although an eyewall reformed in IKE, other factors that control just how low the pressure can get in any hurricane – simply didn’t persist as the upper level outflow was pumping out the inflow of air closer to the surface and the eyewall.

IRENE was a CAT 3 – but ‘unwound’ after crossing the northern CARIB Islands and Bahamas – but also simply had its pressure gradient spread out and never again generated an intense eyewall pressure gradient. Indeed, Irene was NOT a hurricane as it approached the NC latitude – but due its’ potential damage threat – NHC decided to carry the label as a Hurricane way after it had weakened to a ‘tropical storm’ intensity. And indeed, most damage was due to rainfall – not wind or storm surge at the coast. But Irene was not impacted by land mass interaction as IKE was, why IRENE ‘unwound’ its’ tight, pressure gradient near the core is still up for debate.

What was different with Sandy is that it did in fact manage to get an intensifying pressure gradient closer to the core about 6-8 hrs before landfall as it passed over the Gulf stream, and upper level wind shear declined. In addition, this occurred at the very same time the storm began to get absorbed by an approaching deep and strong winter-time type cold front in the lower and upper level. With this colder air clashing with the still warm core of Sandy simply aided intensification to develop as it would with a winter time storm system. SANDY even managed to start rebuilding a partial eyewall while passing over the Gulf stream– but by then, time ran out as the storm transitioned rapidly to a non-tropical, winter-like system. Nonetheless, the hybrid cyclone did gain enough strength to have winds approach CAT 2 level as it approached the NJ coast.

However, all of these massive sized cyclones never really seem capable of pulling the massive area of its atmospheric circulation field closer to the eyewall. That old ‘ice skater’ analogy plays out in this case as if the ‘ice skater’ never pulled in her arms to increase the spin rate of the skater standing at the ‘center’ of rotation.

Why we seem to be seeing so many of these storm structures is quite unclear, and deserves much more research Like so many other things in life, they just don’t make them the way they use to anymore…


First comment – ‘Sandy’ has been so unique in so many ways that only a real meteorologist can truly fathom all the ‘first time ever’ events related to Sandy. That said, CNBC has been spending a LOT of time questioning ‘experts’ (including Insurance and reinsurance companies etc) if climate change is really behind the increase in the number of these massive damaging storms and weather patterns.

For the past few years – most METs, NOAA etc– have made it a point that no one event can be blamed on ‘climate change’. And, of course, this is true.

HOWEVER, it’s reaching a point where there are now so many ‘100 and 500 year’ events occurring every year or two – and these events are being induced by a change in the climate – in this case a ‘warming planet’.

One of these days – all scientists, business leaders and our always brilliant politicians will say ‘enough already – climate change is very real and is responsible for the large number of all-time record breaking events.”

Frankly, I no longer give a f—k about how much is due to long-term ‘natural’ cycling of weather pattern vs. human induced warming. For many economic reasons – and the nature of human beings who should know better - we as a nation and in concert with other Countries need to at least think thru and take action to minimize the impact of the warming climate with the shifts of rainfall patterns and frequency of very intense storm systems. It’s clearly useless under the current socio-economic environment to get politician and corporations to make a REAL effort at reducing the output of CO2 and the far more dangerous methane flow into the atmosphere getting released by the melting of the permafrost areas of the arctic.

Personally, I love the warmer winters here in Chicago which in some areas, can have some positive impacts, but not nearly enough of a benefit to offset the negative side of the ledger in terms of monetary costs, lives, and agriculture. So, assuming it will take decades before money is thrown at ‘green energy’ production (and yes, even a big increase in nuclear) – we desperately need to investigate what actions we should take NOW to mitigate the impact of rising sea level, along with the greater number of extreme and frequent storm events.

Side Note: The loss of arctic ice this summer went far beyond the super melt down of 2007 – but it did it without the ‘ideal’ weather pattern seen during the 2007 summer for melting the ice. Theoretically, the general pattern this summer at high latitudes ‘should’ have led to only a small, additional loss of Arctic ice during melt season – yet generally warm temps, abundant sunshine and an extremely rare super storm over the arctic ocean in early August led to a massive melt down that most forecasters did not predict until AUG. Greenland lost more ice than has ever been seen in at sveral hundred years (maybe as much as 1,000 years) – and no one really knows why this is happening other than for at least one factor – a warming world.

Bottom line – extreme WX events are the new ‘norm’ – and we need to figure out how best to deal with these changes in order to reduce the loss of life and property.



There is an interesting paper from J Masters on the potential impact of the Arctic on Sandy's path:
- the low summer Arctic sea ice extent which might have increased the odds for the unusual high pressure ridge over Greenland, although J. Masters remain cautious saying that additional research would be required
- also another interesting feature, is the fact that the jet stream negatively tilted -due to the location of the Greenland high pressure ridge- which helped Sandy to build more energy and spread:


Jim Hunt

@Piotr - Thanks for the extra info

@SteveG - Likewise, and hear, hear to your final paragraphs! Mind you, in my case "we as a nation" are the Brits, and personally I don't much care for the extremely soggy summers here at the moment.

Whilst we're still on the topic of hurricane forecasting, this link just landed in my inbox, courtesy of the IEEE:


"The divergence in the models was caused by a pressure system over the Atlantic Ocean that weather scientists call an omega block; it’s two areas of low pressure flanking an area of high pressure — on a weather map it looks like the Greek letter Omega."


Are all you guys fast asleep?

Apparently, global sea ice area anaomaly has set a new record low.

Please see: http://meteomodel.pl/klimat/globalice2.png and correct me if I'm wrong.


this OT , although related to Sandy...

under the title "Hurricane Sandy Demonstrates That the Insurance Industry Should Be Wary of Climate Change", the www.triplepundit.com demonstrate that insurance companies could be a very good levy to influence positively on climate change policy. Insurance companies to not like uncertainty, especially for big event like weather related catastrophe. In a constantly changing climate environment it will become more and more difficult for these companies to factor and price properly the risk related to extreme events. Their regulatory environment require the insurance companies in Europe and other part of the world to keep enough capital to sustain a 1 in 200 hundred years event, which will become increasingly difficult to assess...
extract from the article:

"Ceres recommends that insurance companies look at their risk exposure and evaluate losses to insured property based on new and emerging weather patterns, not on past experience, and conduct and support further research on future weather and catastrophe patterns, update insurance rates to adequately reflect damages from higher frequency and severity of extreme weather events and promote the reduction of carbon emissions (in house and among customers).

While these recommendations, mostly relating to climate risk management, are all very important, one recommendation that is missing is to ensure that climate change will be part of the public and political discourse. Insurance companies have a direct interest in making climate change a top priority of policy makers as well as to increase the awareness of the public to its direct economic consequences – after all, climate change doesn’t just put the companies under pressure but also insurance affordability and availability, which are two important elements in every market.

Will insurance companies be the canary in the climate change mine? I hope so, but the question is probably more when rather than if – my guestimation is that with every hurricane this day is getting closer."


It seems that even within the catastrophe modellers and the risk managers of the insurance companies, some have never heard about new scientific breakthrough like J. Francis and Vavrus paper on the link between Arctic amplification and extreme events at mid latitude...let alone among senior managers and executives.
Even the reinsurers which are more inclined to advocate strongly that climate change is a real issue that we need to worry about, they tend to use out of date study like IPCC 2007...


Thanks for all that background info, SteveG. And I agree with the rest.

P-maker at #47: let me look into that. I thought the global sea ice area anomaly record was out of sight.


Cryosphere Today 2012 Sea Ice Area is now back in its usual place, at the back of the pack, the lowest ever for this date in the satellite record (just). It is still below 6M sq km, the last to cross the 6M hurdle.

2012.8192 -2.0565376 5.6705956 7.7271333
2012.8219 -2.0134192 5.8012929 7.8147120
2012.8247 -2.0279787 5.8892322 7.9172111
2012.8274 -2.0267854 5.9854212 8.0122061

About 25% AWOL.

I have a strong suspicion that this is getting to around the time of year when the absent ice has the greatest effect on the atmosphere...

In midsummer, the Arctic Air Temperature, as in the familiar DMI bell-curve, over on Daily Graphs, hovers around 1 or 2 degree Centigrade. If this air has ice, at minus two, or sea water, at minus one, below it, this does not cause a great difference.

Now, the ice should have formed. Arctic air temperatures should be minus twenty. So if there is ice, it should be going down towards minus twenty, too, at least on the top surface, that is in contact with the air.

Sea water is above minus two - nearly twenty degrees hotter than my "typical" Arctic air of minus twenty. And it can sink. Unlike fresh water, seawater gets denser all the way down to freezing point. So any water that exchanges heat with the colder air, but does not actually freeze, is prone to sink. The process then has to start again with the next layer of abnormally warm seawater. And in the meantime, the amount of difference between this and the usual heat exchange is surely enormous, no?

The missing 2,000,000 km sq of ice is equivalent to the size of Mexico, or, for Europeans, 3xFrance. If this suddenly gets 20C warmer than it has been in the past, for months and months on end...


Apologies for another OT, but this is something that appears here and there in this blogg, how BBC comments on subject related to climate change. This morning in the program "Today" on BBC 4 at around 8.40 pm, the BBC journalist was interviewing the Chief Executive of Renewable UK, in relation to declarations of John Hays, Minister in the Department of Energy, advocating against building more wind farm in a British tabloid. At one point the BBC journalists said "the serious point that he (John Hays) makes there, he says that even if a minority of the wind farm planned are built, we are going to reach our 2020 target (greenhouse gas emission target)". The BBC still does not know that this target (which is a EU target) is based on IPCC 2007, so completely out of date in a real world... this is the huge knowledge gap between the reality and the media... and it is unforgiveable that the BBC is not doing its homework


Some folks are still experiencing problems with signing in (thought it seems to have improved for most). A-team asked me to post this for him:

The post-Holocene climate is bringing a swift end to the Anthropocene (or Age of Arrogance), whether or not this particular hurricane can be definitively linked to the three falling dominoes rising CO2 --> open Arctic --> stationary Greenland block discussed in such excellent detail on this blog.


Hurricanes are a lagging, dead-end indicator; by themselves they do not particularly initiate further climate change, unlike multi-year ice loss, albedo collapse, or large-scale methane release. In particular, they are completely irrelevant to warming of methane clathrate on the steep slope off the North Carolina continental shelf. That's because enough warming has already occurred there due to a shift in the Gulf Stream some 5,000 years ago. The clathrate is already destabilized. The landslides are already occurring, for example, Cape Fear pg 6-7).

Carbon dioxide rise, the initial gateway drug to climate change, becomes a pacesetter again only much later in the century, as noted by Prof. Mienert in the 25 Oct 12 Nature commentary piece that accompanies a significant new methane clathrate destabilization article by Phrampus and Hornbach.

Although they describe an impending (but non-dated) non-anthropogenic climate catastrophe off the eastern seaboard, it is quite relevant to downstream intra-basin effects of Arctic Ocean sea ice loss because warming waters and/or increased mixing may have a similar effect on its more vulnerable sub-sea permafrost clathrates -- where chimneys have already mooted slower heat diffusion through packed or frozen sediment (so beloved by the CO2 modelling community).

Methane clathrates occupy the goldilocks stability zone within ocean sediment where upwelling heat from the earth's interior is offset by high pressure and downwardly diffusing cold from the seawater overhead, creating a sweet spot in the phase diagram (which can be accurately calculated in advance for any combination of aliphatic hydrocarbons, inhibitory salinity, and temperature and pressure ranges via CSMGem).

Off the North Carolina coast, it's straight methane -- the absence of ethane, propane, butane etc suggesting archaeal methanogenesis rather than methylphosphonate catabolism or thermogenic geological processes for its origin. Whether this methane is old or fairly new can be determined from its hydrogen and carbon isotopes; that's likely known already by the oil companies.

Whatever, there is a lot of it: "Assuming an average porosity of 60% in the shallow sediments where hydrates are destabilizing, hydrate filling 5% of the pore space, and 123 kg of methane per cubic meter of hydrate, we estimate that some 2.5 gigatons of methane — or about 0.2% of that [invoked] to explain the Paleocene Eocene Thermal Maximum — are currently destabilizing beneath a sea-floor area of 10,000 km2 off the US eastern seaboard."

Methane release per se was neither observed nor not observed -- nobody went to sea here. The article instead observes deterioration of the clathrate stability zone at the escarpment (800 meter contour) and predicts imminent future methane release from that and accompaning underwater landslides. To repeat: no kilometer-scale swatches of North Carolina sea seething with methane venting to the atmosphere (a la Shakhova and Semiletov observed on the East Siberian continental shelf) -- not yet.

Indeed, if this slope methane were released slowly (good luck on that), it could even be oxidized to carbon dioxide by methanotrophic bacteria before ever getting up to the sea surface. That would not lack for impacts, but these differ from the rapid massive atmosphereic warmup that direct methane brings.

What then did the authors do? First they located three old public-domain seismic transects, the best being 80.A from 1977. This had taken 1,300 sound pulses (shots) west to east across the continental shelf escarpment and gave, after considerable re-working, one meter depth resolution for both the sea bottom and the trapped methane bubble layer. In seismic terminology, the proxy is a bottom-simulating reflector (BSR) -- a negative-polarity, high-impedance seismic reflection from compressible free gas at the clathrate phase boundary. The BSR behaves erratically around 1000 m total depth, indicating instability on the slope.


Next, they looked at where the BSR line should have been. Taking salinity at 34.9‰, assuming hydrostasis and lithostasis for pressure, and determining temperature from a 2D heat equation spreadsheet (conductive heat flow regime with constant diffusivity and insignificant in situ heat generation assumed), the authors could persuasively predict the stability zone depth along the seismic transect.

The observed methane phase boundary is far too deep to be compatible with the phase diagram for modelled conditions. After ruling out sea level change, hydrate composition, fluid flow, variable sedimentation, heat flow changes and seismic velocity model errors, the authors settled on changes in Gulf Stream flow position, speed or temperature. In other words, something had warmed the sediment for a long time, pushing the clathrate congeniality zone much lower. This amounts to warming of intermediate depth water (aka Gulf Stream) some eight degrees C for the last 5,000 years.

It is safe to assume that similar seismic transects have been done in parts of the Arctic Ocean. Whether the oil companies will share them is another matter. If so, this article provides a very clear template for how to evaluate them. If not conducted where long-term warming has already occurred (warm Pacific inflows through Bering Strait?), the situation may not resemble the eastern seaboard situation. However Shakhova/Semiletov described a very different non-diffusive heat transfer, so the bottom line may be the same even though the warming time has been far shorter. Clathrates start outgassing abruptly there at much shallower depths (300 m) because temperatures are colder.


P-maker, global SIA anomaly fell just short of the 2007 record (essentially tying it): 2.472 versus 2.475 million. We discussed it at the time. Maybe I should've done a blog post on it, but I'm still in lockdown mode.


Neven, you said:

"Hurricanes are a lagging, dead-end indicator; by themselves they do not particularly initiate further climate change."

What if you are wrong? What if hurricanes are "tropical heat pumps"? In the good old days, ocean currents were generally able to transport excess heat away from the Tropics all the way to the Arctic every year. Since - I don't know when - it may have been in the mid-70'ies, or around the turn of the century, or even in 005-6, the Gulf Stream and/or the North Atlantic Drift was no longer able to remove all of the excess heat produced in the Tropics each summer.

At that time in history, the atmosphere may have kicked in a new and much more efficient thermodynamic process: - the "Hurricane Heatpump".

Looking at these phenomena from space, it is quite obvious, that hurricanes pump energy out of the tropical oceans and deliver hot and dry air aloft, which is easily transported thousands of miles to the North.

There is no doubt that the melting of Greenland ice in recent years is somewhat related to this advection of heat aloft produced mainly by the hurricanes. The big question is, whether the sea ice loss can be attributed to this type of heat advection.

Spending half a century in the Northern mid-latitudes, I somehow get the impression, that the oceans can no longer keep up with the global warming, we have induced on the system. Atmosphere has to help out and we are now seeing the hurricanes actively trying to help the Tropic oceans get rid of their excessive overheating during the summer. The hurricanes may have taken over the role of the vanishing sea ice?


P-maker, I didn't say that, but that's some good out-of-the-box thinking.


But the Arctic is warming faster than the Equator...

Doesn't that mean that there is less difference to drive heat pumped from the South?


First a little message to the fake skeptics (if they ever read this magnificent blog)


Antarctica is back to normal extent in no time. Please explain the "balance" when Arctic sea ice is slow to refreeze. I guess the only value of the contrarian input is the comedy they give me. Although it is not at all funny when they deny reality.


"Apparently, global sea ice area anaomaly has set a new record low."

Yes it did and I am impressed by the weather this open water gives.

Idunno: "Doesn't that mean that there is less difference to drive heat pumped from the South?"

It is more complex than that, the Northern temperate zone cools just as much with low sun and or darkness especially if the systems don't move so much. The Arctic is warmer, and there is a lot of weird weather everywhere.

Bluesky, Dr Masters read the models perfectly and did an outstanding job informing the public in every way. But he is very conservative when it comes to attribution. I think rightly so, peer review papers will come out on this event.
But I am a firm believer of discussing anyones point when especially it is well informed, its much better at the time when it happens because assessors are really well informed, it sets the stage for the peer papers to be even higher calibre and also more focussed. I am certain that Open water over the Arctic Ocean had an impact especially with the blocking Anticyclones, a 2 sigma NAO event may be no longer 5% of the time in the fall. And I liked Dr Masters use of NAO instead of AO, NAO is so much easier to relate with.

Sgregory88 Great to read from you, Did you notice Hurricane Sandy slowing
alot at a certain point after eye contact to New Jersey shore? Would this me normal to say that there was a brief time when it stalled because of the unusual temperature difference between land and sea? How does this compare with a hurricane hitting land much further to the South? Thanks



Sorry to have overlooked the fact that you were actually trying to help A-team communicate.


The problems really start in the Tropics after the summer season is over. The imbalance between the heat accumulated in the ocean water and the slowly cooling air above may accentuate the growth of late season hurricanes. Nowadays, the ocean currents are no longer capable of removing all that extra heat from the Tropics fast enough, so the atmosphere will have to kick into "overdrive gear" or fire up the "turbo charger" if you like.


P-maker stated:

Nowadays, the ocean currents are no longer capable of removing all that extra heat from the tropics fast enough

Do you have some date to support that hypothesis?

Espen Olsen


For the first time in recent history the ice extend is less then 8.000.000 km2 October 31st.

October 31st: 7.600.469 km2

Previous record on this date: 8.003.281 (2007)


Thanks for posting that, Espen.
I posted questions on that benchmark on 15 October, because refreeze seemed so fast. If 2012 would make it, there shouldn't be as much 'weirdness' as we are now witnessing.
The difference is obviously in the Beaufort and Kara Seas. Their relative, anomalous warmth contributes to a warmer than normal Arctic troposphere. Consequently, to less geopotential difference between the Arctic and the mid-latitudes. Ergo: negative AO. Second ergo: stubborn ridges and throughs.
To enhance the prognosed 'fun', ECMWF shows another set of weirdness first week of November.
Lows entering the Arctic and again the E USA seaboard (oh no, not a nor'easter again...).



You can look at both ends of the system.

As I referred to in a parallel thread the other day:

See http://neven1.typepad.com/blog/2012/10/looking-for-weirdness-1.html#comment-6a0133f03a1e37970b017c32db3d12970b

the influx of warm Atlantic water via Fram Strait seems to have gone up around the turn of the century. This is one clear indication, that the oceanic flux of energy from the Tropics to the Arctic has been growing in recent years.

Looking at the tropical end of it, there are several papers from NCAR, which show that the SSTs during summer are undergoing important changes. First of all, this one from Trenberth et al. (2010) – see http://www.cgd.ucar.edu/cas/Staff/Fasullo/refs/Trenberth2010etalGRL.pdf Their fig. 1 documents a pretty strong correlation between increasing tropical SSTs and TOA energy flux over the period 1984-2000.

This well known diagram http://www.nesl.ucar.edu/LAR/2006/catalog/CGD/images/cas/01hurrell.gif from Anthes et al. (2006): http://www.cgd.ucar.edu/cas/jhurrell/Docs/anthes.hurricanes_globalwarming.bams06.pdf (their Fig 1) shows that the tropical oceans in general have been warming on an annual basis since the mid 1970’ies.

This diagram from Trenberth & Shea (2006): http://www.nesl.ucar.edu/LAR/2006/catalog/CGD/images/cas/03trenberth.gif (their Fig. 5) shows an additional increase in Tropical North Atlantic summer SSTs around 2000.

Finally, this recent paper from NOAA: http://www1.ncdc.noaa.gov/pub/data/cmb/bams-sotc/2011/bams-sotc-2011-chapter3-global-oceans-lo-rez.pdf does indicate that ocean currents and heat fluxes are not really accelerating despite the accumulation of heat in the tropical oceans in recent years. On the contrary, it is evident from their Fig 3.21, that in years of high hurricane activity (e.g. 2004, 2005, and 2010) the meridional overturning circulation goes down. The big questions therefore remains: Does this extra heat in the tropical Atlantic by the end of summer contribute to the extreme hurricanes we have seen in recent years?

I do admit that much of this material is circumstantial evidence. If others are better able to provide clear and direct evidence of the mechanism I proposed, it would be more than welcome.


The one thing that is tended to be ignored about Antarctica that irritates me is that its ice should include land ice and that ice is shrinking. East side is growing but the loses on the west side is losing far more.
We should also go back to Volume which the grounded ice sheets are losing especially the WAIS. As that thins out more sheets are going to have catastrophic collapses and that means the glaciers it is holding back will start racing to the ocean. That means disaster for everyone.


Found this posting in wunderground

Quoting AussieStorm:
Some food for thought.

Rising Seas a Real Threat to New Jersey

Sea Level Rise Threatens Hundreds of U.S. Energy Facilities

Study: Comparing Hurricane Sandy to Hurricane Katrina; New Hurricane Scale Proposed

Hurricane Sandy Four Times More Powerful Than The 1991 Perfect Storm

If some glaciologist prediction of possibly SLR of 1 metre by 2050 things could be very bad in the near future.


More odd weather on the way. While we are seeing wide anomalies in surface temps on the northern continents, the November forecast for Russia calls for above normal temperatures:



on the theme of winter weirdness. I have a question. I am watching the ice grow, and the east siberian shelf is now pretty much iced over, and in the Kara the ice is growing out from the land as well. That all seems normal. (?) But what is with the Beaufort? The Beaufort is shown as still much ice free on the Bremen AMSR2 maps. indeed on the regional graphs, the Beaufort anomaly is even still growing, and has reached record magnitude because there is no ice.

what is up there? isnt it as cold there as at the other segments of the arctic margin?

and, apart from why that is; what are the consequences of such an extended delay in ice in the Beaufort?

thanks E.


Enno, the Beaufort Sea heated up big time this melting season. Apparently all of the heat hasn't been released yet. It will freeze over as soon as it does.

CT SIA anomaly has finally dropped below 2 million km2 anomaly. Jim Pettit, are you still here? Please, give us the stats. :-)

I see it's on the same date as 2007: .8274. Except perhaps for the leap year thingy.


The following, very interesting research paper, much touted by me in the past on here, finds that the best predicant for sea ice cover in the Beaufort Sea in October is the SST in the Carribean 5 months previously, in May...



Jim Pettit posted the stats here.


huh, yes, I remember that people discussed the warmth anomaly of the Beaufort Sea months back. Or, discussed that it was weird; but I dont recall it was well understood back then what exactly was happening.

Its obvious that the Beaufort Sea has taken a lot of extra solar energy this year but so should have the East Siberian and Laptev Seas, which had similar low ice and are at similar latitudes.

but maybe you are right Neven and this ice-delay in the Beaufort Sea is just an expression of higher abnormal heat content? at least SST images in your earlier posts are consistent:

I guess my question then becomes rather, why is the Beaufort Sea having this anomalous behaviour (of which ice delay is an expression)?

for the Barents-Kara area people said that warm atlantic waters are building eastwards, at least I believe I can understand that. But for the Beaufort Sea I dont get where that effect comes from. It isnt pacific warm water - that is at 75m depth and not at the surface. It also isnt atlantic warm water - that is even below that (at that part of the arctic). It isnt just solar heat - as that should just as much have affected the siberian shelf seas. Or am I wrong therein? What am I missing? (Quite possible that the answer was given here already while back when I wasnt reading).


Hi Enno,

While IceBridge and AWI had confirmed in april that sea ice in the Beaufort wasn't as thick as assumed, a large polynia formed quite soon.
It was a 300K anomaly through a large part of the crucial June-insolation period (see CT comparisons). On top of that, southern winds added numerous +20dC days (look for the Tuktoyaktuk record).

Large scale opening of Laptev happened during July. The ESAS was even later, the Gaagi storm molded what was left, but SST's over there never really 'boiled'.

In my former post I pointed at the Beaufort and Kara as having low ice extent now. I should add Baffin Bay. That one neighbours the cold GIS blocking high. An interesting combination...


BBC2 broadcasts tonight at 21h UTC the second part of "operation iceberg". This part will feature the Petermann glacier.

(In part one, Jason Box appeared as one of the scientists exploring the birth of icebergs. Some extremely dangerous stunts like diving in glacier lakes.)


Protege Cuajimalpa

It is a shame that I cannot see "Operation Iceberg" because BBC blocks people living in other countries, like Mexico.
Just a comment to have free access on Internet pages around the world.



you are quite right - you really missed my line of thinking.

Please hit my posts in Typepad and a have quick read through the following posts: Sep 29, Oct 9, Oct 11 and "5 days ago".

This may give you a hint of what is going on in the Arctic this autumn.

Let me just summarise the main points in case you do not wish to spend an hour or so following all the links and references.

Gravity, in the form of katabatic winds may be a key driver, which in my mind is essential to keep open the "Triple-B" seas this autumn.

I started off in the Baffin Bay/Melville Bay area. What we have seen upwelling there this past month is normally referred to as Irminger Current water.

Then we move to the Barents/Kara seas area. What we see upwelling there is normally referred to as North Atlantic Drift water.

Both of these anomalies are easy to grasp, when you take into account the warm Gulf Stream this year.

The third persistent anomaly in the Beaufort Sea is a bit more tricky, since Pacific water seems to be out of the question. In my reasoning and also supported by the Polyakov et al. paper, it may be intermediate Atlantic Water (entering through the Fram Strait) that has circulated the Arctic Basin, and now pops up in the Beufort Sea.

To get this upwelling going for an extended period of time in the autumn, you really need persistent katabatic winds off the North Slope of Alaska, as well as a "stubborn low" over the Beaufort Sea.

Local summer sunshine is not enough to keep these three anomalies open in the autumn.




Apparently I switched something on in the comment settings (some beta stuff called TypePad Connect). The pros were that I could choose between threaded comments or listed (numbered) comments, and that folks could edit their comments and reply to other comments. Cons were that the width of the comment column decreased considerably, you had to push the reply button twice (first time took you to the top of the post), and my comment notification mails looked less practical.

So I've reverted to the old situation, and hopefully TypePad will introduce some of that beta functionality soon. I personally like numbered comments, and an edit button always comes in handy.

Jim Hunt

Does this count as more weirdness, or is it by any chance the new normal, as SteveG was perhaps suggesting?

Here's an article from Bloomberg Businessweek about Super Storm Sandy, hot off the presses:


"Clarity, however, is not beyond reach. Hurricane Sandy demands it.

Arctic icemelts linked to global warming contribute to the very atmospheric pattern that sent the frigid burst down across Canada and the eastern U.S."


thanks all for the answers. So some of you think that the Beaufort Sea lack of ice is a consequence of more summer sunshine (solar energy) due to it being open in the maximum radiation period. (Werther) Others think it is upwelling warm water (p-maker: Local summer sunshine is not enough) though of a bit unclear origin.

I like this : dont get me wrong - differences in perception is the first step to better knowledge. (and at least it wasnt apparently something trivially simple to ask.) wonder what would be an observation to make that could help deciding which option is the correct one.


Naah Enno, not me.

I think the lack of October Beaufort sea ice in October, based on data up until 2008, is "caused" by May SSTs in the Carribean.

Refer you back to my link above to Megan M Stone's paper. (I don't insist that this is right, but it doesn't even feature in your list, and I do think it's worth thinking about. It changed my perceptions of the Arctic/Atlantic contiguous body of water, and its possible teleconnections.)


Hah. idunno. had said nothing becuase I was still trying to digest that masters thesis. Hah, you talk about a correlation! I still have it open there, but admittedly I dont know what to do with it. this troubles me often with such correlations; when theres a readily visible physical explanation underlying it: fine. But how "knows" water or ice in the Beaufort how hot it had been 5 months before in the Caribbean? that beats me.

if there is such a teleconnection (and no doubting that work) then there must be a mechanism. What would that be? (The famous baby-stork correlation is after all also due to a logical, if convoluted, mechanism).


these people might know:


but I cant find yet any results of their this year´s cruise.


Well, Enno,
Quoting Neven 'nothing is a dead certainty in the Arctic'... It's a combination of factors.

I have referred several times last year to specifics of the Arctic Boundary Current. But I never could support my guess that that one would sustain upwelling/eddying as far as the Beaufort.
But hear, I stumbled upon this: Aksenov in


it also has a nice pdf!


On Aksenov..it may be paywalled. But somehow I purged the pdf from the web. Maybe Neven knows a way to link it?

Anyway, I finally took time to actually read the NCEP/NCAR reanalysis instructions. I've got scale/colours right now.
First result:
See how the anomaly represents a weakened potential over the Atlantic during the 3rd decade.


Enno My take on the excess heat in the beaufort is kinetic energy, it seems very unpopular, but read section 5 of this http://web.mit.edu/raffaele/www/Publications_files/annurev.fluid.40.111406.102139.pdf paper, though the whole thing is interesting, then either carry out your own trawl through these, http://web.mit.edu/raffaele/www/Publications.html or look for other work on eddy kinetic energy EKE which i think has an important role in the arctic where the sea currents approach the axis of rotation. Looking at A4R's site which shows very thin ice to the north of greenland i expect a similar anomaly to appear over the continental shelf north of ellesmere/greenland early next season. http://www.arctic.io/zoom/yDzd/0.5;0.5;1/Bathymetry
I'm not discounting insolation or other factors, i just think they don't completely account for what happened this year. My view is that the atlantic waters arrived in the beaufort earlier than usual, because the pacific waters were delayed by a frozen bering sea they met less resistance and gained momentum, when the pacific currents broke through they were forced to the surface[or close] by the far more saline atlantic water, the pacific currents flowed east close to the surface allowing the atlantic water easier access. So the pacific water discharged its excess energy in the shallowing water to the east of mackenzie bay, and a new normal was established for atlantic penetration into the beaufort, which seems to be persisting as we approach northern winter.


The Arctic parade has been updated with the 1st of November 2012.

And it's clear, crystal clear SIE for Barentz and Kara seas remains far under average ever since 2007.


Hi Kris,

Based on your Arctic Parade, IJIS and my comparisons through the Daily Composites, I'd stick my neck out and expect the European side of the whack in a cold snap very soon.
The only fall with comparable SIE (although less) in the Barentsz-Kara region AND negative NAO/AO was 2009.
We all remember the winter outbreak mid-december.
Better check the heating...


hi kris
this is interesting thanks for the parade. it is a very suggestive comparison (regarding a real change of state) for the Kara Sea but less so for other areas.

it made me think that it should be possible to judge the progress of the change towards seasonality in any one of the geographical basins from changes in the shape of the anomaly plots. (referring to the CT area plots).

i. e. where there´s a basin that used to be completely perennial, and now begins to become seasonal, one would expect to see a single annual dip curve on the CT anomaly plot - such as for example the central arctic basin (region 1). Whereas in basins where there is already a developed summer minimum, one would expect to see a double-dip anomaly curve with the two anomaly peaks spreading backwards through spring and forwards through autumn constricting winter. That is really well visible in the Kara sea plot (region 7). And where the whole ice is climatically restricted anyways to the winter season, there one would expect these split anomaly peaks to merge into a single peak in wintertime. Example: Sea of Okhotsk, region 14.

So maybe one could devise a measure of tracking the change from perennial to seasonal to ice free, for specific regions, from a shape analysis of the anomaly plots. That might be a useful visualisation tool. Especially as one could then maybe link this measure to atmospheric or oceanographic signatures of the respective years to try and isolate direct mechanisms. hm, but thats just me thinking.

surfing through the data, the Sea of Okhotsk btw is even more anomalously warm than the Beaufort Sea (+2 to +3 deg C anomaly). What is going on there? That should be interesting to watch how it affects the refreeze.

Mike Constable

Think there is almost no heating effect from KE (= 0.5*Kg*v^2 = joules)
e.g. 0.5*1*1^2 = 0.5J = 0.1 calories if water is traveling at 1m/sec - nearly equal to raising the water temperature by 0.0001 degree C. Would need to be traveling at 100m/sec for KE to raise temp by 1C? (0.5*1*100*100/4.2=cal)
Water movement/eddies would be much more efficient at pulling heat up from lower levels than it could in other ways.


Continued search on the curious Beaufort Sea behaviour has turend up this:


a presentation from (2010?) by someone from WHOI called Jiayan Yang. It looks rather pertinent.

In short it says: Yes, especially the Beaufort Sea shelf is a location of seasonal upwelling, due do what he calls the Ekman layer (roughly, I understand it as wind pull on the sea causing upwelling where the pull is divergent) and he shows this upwelling especially strong in the Beaufort Sea during autumn. (Slide 8)
Slide 10 refers to "offshore ekman transport" and I understand slides 11, 16, 22 etc to imply that the upwelling on the coast bringing warmer and saline water upwards is combined with downwelling at the ice edge. slide 15 will be interesting to the people following the atmosphere interaction.

Having seen this I suspect that this is the actual answer to why the Beaufort Sea lags so behind in refreezing. (e. g. slide 19 Ekman heat flux, practically equals the area that is now still ice free).

current OSTIA SST data say that the water in the Beaufort sea is still at 0 deg C, full 1.5 C hotter than normal, and one would then have to expect that yes theres quite massive upwelling going on (Ifremer buoy data from further north (73.995 / -137.746) show 0 C water only in 70-90 m depth). Thats the only source for such warm water I could yet find in the area. But its saline water. I couldnt yet find salinity data for the Beaufort hot area.


Hi Enno,

Agreed, Stone's paper comes with some caveats. It might be one of those "US starling numbers correlate with Scottish bagpipe players" stats.

But there is currently a lot of discussion going on in New York, so I'm told, about whether Arctic weather patterns (ice melt) can affect Carribean weather patterns (hurricane paths). The jury is still out on this I think, but if this is possible, and it is at least possible, then surely the reverse is also possible. (Though not necessarily for the same reasons.)

How? I don't know. But the Gulf Stream...


...is doing about 5 knots up the US East Coast. 120 per day, 840 a week, call it 3,500 per month. That's getting closer, if not to the Beaufort, then to feeding into the AO index.

Again, I don't insist that this is right, and I don't claim to understand it properly (and I doubt it can be properly understood, except by cetaceans;-)

The Yang paper also looks good, thanks.

Also, I have the impression that this is an unusual year, in that previous years have seen more refreeze anomalies on the Russian side, and this year it's Beaufort's turn.

Also worth noting our bias: research in the Beaufort tends to be better funded, and not published in Cyrillic.

Chris Reynolds

Don't know if these have been linked to, but I can recommend:
It's Global Warming Stupid and Virtually all of us are now convinced that global warming poses a clear and present danger to civilization. Both from Joe Romm.

Lead to those by Tamino.

Jim Hunt

I speculated yesterday whether Bloomberg's message would be received and understood Chris. In the cold light of dawn I feared political realities would mitigate against that:




Another N'easter will likely be influenced by an anticyclone block.

Now a lesson is offered to all as to how the High pressure from Greenland expands into a Southward ridge which will eventually become a High pressure over the North Atlantic:

Notice if you study these model displays:


They cut off the Anticyclonic genesis action , however:


A huge expansive Low pressure over Greenland, Barents and Kara
seas is the primary influence exacerbating a pressure imbalance charging and creating the ridge to become a blocking high pressure.



Joe Romm was on US national public television this week debating the issue of climate change in relation to Sandy, against some fellow from the American Enterprise Institute. Joe did well.

There are a couple pieces of research reported in the Durham Univisety. The first relates to ice sheet retreat on glaciers being impacted by the surrounding terrain.

See: http://www.e-mailstrategies.com/ebulletins/showissue.php3?page=/526/15577/37447&rec=0

The second relates to ice mass loss measurement in Antarctica by use of the GRACE satellite data:


I am updating the methane and sea ice charts this morning.


There have been a couple of conversations in recent threads about the impact of salinity on Arctic ice melt and re-forming.

The Arctic salinity images are available in Godiva 2:

See: http://data.ncof.co.uk:8080/ncWMS/godiva2.html

Click - Global-Arctic Ocean

Sea_Water_Salinity is the tab that gives you the ability to display the information in Google Earth. You can change the data display range and it is available daily.


A4R Thanks!

All fine, except for the fact that Beaufort and Laptev Seas are all black throughout October this year.

Any other hints?



earlier in this thread you wer asking which sites we liked to follow.

One example is here:


Over the past few years, I have visited occasionally, but mainly seen chaotic pictures.

Since the big "burst" of icebergs in late September, I have followed nearly daily video updates of the flux of ice and water out of the world's most productive fjord.

It has been a fascinating "ice river" to follow live. Fresh icebergs and loads of meltwater from the Greenland Icesheet filled the Disko Bay from time to time.

Over the next couple of days, you will be able to follow the remnants of Hurricane Sandy deliver up to 50 mm of rain or snow.




There may be a gap in coverage, check prior dates. Other than that, I don't know.

I have updated the NCOF Godiva 2 Arctic Sea Ice maps. Also, I am changing the point of view to one that closely matches the CT Arctic map view. I have duplicated the 31 October data with the new view for the NCOF imagery.


The methane update will be later.


thank you A4R for the link to Godiva. I tried using it for the current state of the Beaufort Sea. At first it was black, however adjusting the contrast settings (rescaling) did bring out data detail for the Beaufort Sea. I dont know what the original source of the data is, but the site gives considerable spatial detail. Specifically, it shows several warm eddies, where warm means 273.5 K (definitely above 0 C). However the salinity in the Beaufort Sea was to my surprise very low - the lowest in the inner Arctic about - down to 26 permil. Comparing the T and S maps, shows that the warm eddies are salty and the low-salinity water pool in the Beaufort is somewhat colder, maybe it is freshwater from the Mackenzie - definitely looks a little bit like that from the swirls.

the warm somewhat more saline eddies at the coast (>28 permil) dont look like they might be derived from the Bering Sea area: the water there is much more saline (pacific) and if it were mixed down by cooler freshwater it could not be that warm.

So I think this view via Godiva strongly supports upwelling (roughly along the lines of the Yang presentation I mentioned earlier - also agreeing with his observation of counterintuitive salinity seasonality in the Beaufort).

One would then have to expect that the refreeze in the Beaufort will stall for quite a while yet. I dont know how normal or unnormal this is.

unfortunately I dont know how one posts images .. but it shoud not be difficult to get side by side T and S maps from A4R´s Godiva link, using appropriate scaling.

thanks again!

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