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I Ballantinegray1

Hi wili!

Our 'fast' Jet is due to the 'loopy' Jet over the US. Once that cold air spills out over the (relatively) warm Atlantic you have the potential differences to enliven the Jet and turn out Low pressure after low pressure.

Werther, what info do you have on the PDO phase? I'm of the opinion that we are set to see a switch back to PDO+ ( and see the interdecadal Pacific Oscillation flip to warm ocean phase from deep ocean warming)but have not seen anything from the agencies. I'd initially put the flip to PDO-ve at 98' but recent have wondered if I needed to push that back a number of years?


You all are welcome, my curiosity got me going, and I posted what I discovered.

in regard to the comments on the polar vortex and jet stream, it is mangled at lower altitudes, from 250 mb lower. Above that it has been stronger.

See my post: http://a4rglobalmethanetracking.blogspot.com/2014/02/bi-polar-quadri-polar-and-meandering.html


prediction of probable el nino later this year.
meanwhile here in south china it is bloody cold.
last week on monday day time high was 28C yesterday it was 8C. and we more or less have a drought. rained about 8 weeks ago and then a shower 2 days ago. it is the dry season but not supposed to be this dry.


Wonderful post A4R. Thank you for sharing. Temps in Longyearbyen, Svalbard continuing into uncharted territory. 30 day mean is currently at 14°C above average. 14°C!!

Christoffer Ladstein

Doomcomessoon: As we have entered into a New date, the 30 day mean is now at a staggering 14.2 C above average, and the evening temps soared up to + 4 C! The poor Icebears must really be sweating out this Winter; most likely this will cause trouble for the New generation, the ice around Svalbard is according to the available Charts far away from the coast at most Places, and if this continues into the spring, the remaining will dwindle fast I dare say...

Hans Gunnstaddar


‘If Ocean Heat Pump Switches On, Expect to Feel It’

"We can only predict that in 2014 there will be an El Nino event with 76 percent likelihood," he said.

In the PNAS paper, called, "Very early warning of next El Nino," the German, Russian and Israeli scientists introduce a technique for predicting what kind of trouble the Pacific Ocean might have in store for global weather patterns a year before it happens.

To calibrate and test the new El Nino prediction technique, researchers used atmospheric temperature data going back more than 60 years. Once they felt the algorithm was properly tuned, they made predictions for 2012 and 2013, successfully predicting that neither would have an El Nino.

The new tool doubles the warning time before an El Nino hits, from the six months offered by current models, to a year. The new El Nino "alarm," as the researchers call it, is right 76 percent, better odds than current prediction methods.

Well, well, 76% chance of El Nino this year, 2014. Pretty strong odds, but I guess the exact timing of when it hits will be crucial to this year's Arctic ice melt.


Much as you said, Hans. Even "neutral", a shift from La Niña may be forcing significant change. I've been sifting through NOAA data trying to make sense of it somewhere along the same lines, albeit much more primitively. (Sidebar - I need to run the NOAA tabular data into a SQL database....)

One index of note I'm musing over is this Solar flux


It currently appears to be ramping up as part of its usual cycle, as it did circa 1998- 2000. It is of course just one factor among many, but wonder if it is a herald of a coming cyclical transition.


There is more weather weirdness coming for the US Northwest. We have a "Pineapple Express" setting up that will dump rain, snow and wind across the Northwest US for the next 10 days.

I've blogged on it here:



Re solar.

forecasts peak was Dec 2012.

Highest 2 months seem to be Nov 2011 and Dec 2013. A double peak or just negative noise for 2012 or might the peak be late 2013 or even 2014?


While Hans is drying up, we do have the other extreme. England. Think about about anyone there. Although I must say the expression rain of the century, millennium is getting a little tiresome just because with AGW this is the new norm. Should be expect although not desired.


In the old days, the most popular navy song in those tracts went like this:

“Rule Britannia!, Britannia rule the waves…”

According to Armitage (2000) "Rule, Britannia'" was the most lasting expression of the conception of Britain and the British Empire that emerged in the 1730s, "predicated on a mixture of adulterated mercantilism, nationalistic anxiety and libertarian fervour".

Nowadays, with 44 feet waves pounding her coastlines, with tidal waves running up her estuaries and with flood waves washing down her river valleys, I think the lyrics must go more like this:

“.. Britannia ruled by waves!”


Jennifer Francis presented a paper at the AAAS in Chicago on Arctic warming and Rossby Waves. I have commented, plus added in another study of the current jet stream patterns.

See: http://a4rglobalmethanetracking.blogspot.com/2014/02/meandering-jet-streams-jennifer-francis.html


I just noticed that, at the 10 hPa level, the polar vortex has now split in two.


Is this unusual? Unprecedented? What does it forebode?

At the 70 hPa, it is nearly in two, with a very odd configuration:


John Christensen

Thanks Neven and Werther - yes, I remember the SSW and cracking event well last year, which seemed to trigger the string of weather events of spring and summer of 2013, but did not recall the high was that strong.



It has been this way for better than a month. When it started, it formed a huge two lobed figure eight core with twin counter rotating vortices adjacent to the center. One of these is gone now and the other is flattened. The lobe over Greenland has strengthened and the lobe over Asia is smaller.

Every bit as stunning, turn the globe over and look to the south. The southern high altitude circulation has moved north to the equator and is and has been a perfect circle through all of this.

We seem to have entered a huge asymmetry period north and south.

I suspect two things.

First that Chris' northern cold pole over Greenland is setting up as a permanent feature. If true, England and Scandinavia are going to stay wet for quite a long time without many years with summers. The circulating lows around Greenland may well pull more summer hurricanes into the Northeastern US and winter cold blasts pulling arctic air down until the arctic ice is gone.

Second, that the shift from a three band atmospheric system to a single northern band and a three band southern setup is well underway. The shift is happening in an amazing way though. The unstable two band system (up flow over the North Pole) instead appears as the two lobed flow we are now seeing. The imbalance also seems to show up with the southern bands pushing northward somewhat.

Add to that the now seemingly permanent blocking high in the northeast Pacific creating the huge oscillations in the Rossby waves and forcing one of two bifurcated flow patterns either sending heat north into Alaska, or south around it and rains into the Pacific Northwest from the Pineapple Express.

La Niña should only strengthen that as the warm bands at the tropics strengthen.

It is going to be fascinating to watch the transformation as the arctic ice declines and vanishes over the next decade. We all get ringside seats.

I wonder what we'll see as the oceanic conveyor slows in the northern oceans? What will that do to the oceans, and then the atmosphere? Will we see purple anoxic oceans in our lifetimes? Will we see the formation of the great American central desert in that same period? How sudden will those transformations be?


R. Gates

Related to disturbed jet streams, SSW's, and general NH winter weirdness:

There is emerging a much clearer picture now a chain of events that all relate directly back to increased anthropogenic GH gas concentrations, now running some 40% higher than the pre-industrial levels, and based on paleoclimate research, most likely at their highest levels since the mid-Pliocene, some 3.2 mya. Pieces of this chain of events have been picked up by various researchers, but here's a comprehensive overview of the general systemic climate changes going on from the rapid rise in GH gases.

The prime effect of GH rises in terms of Earth's climate energy system is to allow the primary climate energy sink, the ocean, to retain more energy. The increase in tropospheric temperatures is far less (owing to the very low thermal inertia of the troposphere). The oceans have a very high thermal inertia and of course drive the climate system, and thus, raising the net energy in the ocean takes a big external forcing. This is exactly what the rapid rise in GH gases has done. But increased energy in the ocean is unequally distributed through the actions of wind and currents. Two prime areas where this energy will be advected to naturally are of importance to our discussion of "weird winter weather". Those areas are the Indo-pacific warm pool (IPWP) and the Arctic. We have seen the local and global effects of increased energy in both regions. As most of us know here, a great deal of the sea ice melted in the Arctic is melted from warmer water from below. The water flowing into the Arctic has simply been warmer as the oceans have warmed. Additionally, latent and sensible heat flux from the Arctic Ocean to the atmosphere also increases as the water warms. There is of course additional energy advecting to the Arctic via the atmosphere, but the ocean advection is far greater. The net effect of all of this is to gradually melt the sea ice such that we will have a seasonally ice free Arctic in the next few decades at the latest, perhaps far sooner. Permafrost melt, ecosystem pressures, and species loss are all other effects of this of course. Related to weather patterns, of course a warmer Arctic means the thermal gradient between the equator and pole is reduced, as noted by Dr. Francis and others, such that jet-stream can elongate and slow down, causing "stuck" weather patterns and allowing for the penetration of warmer air into the Arctic, and colder air for longer periods at lower latitudes.

But returning to the IPWP. This is the largest single mass of warm water on the planet and is responsible for driving a great deal of the planet's weather. In general, a warmer IPWP means more active weather patterns and an enhanced Hydrological cycle around the globe. Observations and Paleoclimate studies strongly confirm this. We know that the heat content of the IPWP has been increasing over many decades, as the area has both had a net deepening, but also a general expansion toward the west. But what does this have to do with winter weirdness? The net latent and sensible heat flux from the IPWP region upward into the troposphere and stratosphere has increased as the heat content of the region has increased. This increased heat flux is the energetic nudge that can help to alter jet stream patterns, and alter the planetary wave activity that leads the to high pressure waves that travel to higher latitudes and can lead to SSW events over the Arctic. These SSW events of course can highly disturb or completely shatter the polar vortex leading to very cold outbreaks at lower latitudes and much warmer temperatures over the Arctic proper. In short, the flattening of the thermal gradient between the equator and the poles, brought about by a warming Arctic and melting sea ice, preconditions the atmosphere for highly elongated and "stuck" jet stream patterns, but it takes an energetic "nudge" from a warming ocean region such as the IPWP to set a specific episode in motion. There are other interesting relationships between all of this to the QBO, the MJO and the Brewer-Dobson circulation that are of great interest, but this post is far too long as it is.


Ok, I am confused.

What I was interpreting as the southern equivalent of the northern 10 hPa circulation, clearly isn't. That appears instead to be entirely absent.

The large near equatorial circulation appears to be exactly that, a counter rotating band that is likely associated with equatorial flow.

We see counter rotating bands on the gas giants. Is this like that?

And why are we seeing the high atmosphere circulations only at the North Pole?

Pardon my error.



Sam, are you expecting a La Nina? Also, it is my understanding that the polar vortex is a characteristic of the winter months. So we wouldn't expect to see one in the south right now. But I may well be confused on this.

I do think change is afoot, but I haven't been watching these things for long enough to know for sure how unusual patterns we are seeing are at this point. Any insights from folks who have would be more than welcome.


The earth tool is new and beautiful. It is a little deceiving in being a static image of a very dynamic process. It, like all of the tools, is also deceiving in not showing anything about the vertical dimension. E.g. If ocean temperatures change the density and movement of air vertically, it can act like hills and valleys redirecting flows. In addition, the rolling movement of the Hadley, Ferrel and Polar cells can only really be understood if you see the rising and falling currents of air. I have yet to find any of the web site imagery that depicts that, and better yet, the three dimensional flows.

Like you, I haven't followed this particular way of looking at things for long. We didn't have good visual tools, or at least I didn't know of them, or how to interpret what they showed if I saw them. So, I don't now well what to look for yet.

You are likely right that it is a seasonal phenomena.

I have heard all sorts of speculation about La Niña, El Niño, ... I haven't a clue. What I do see is a strengthening of both the cool anomaly at the equator and the warm anomalies at the tropics, which is what La Niñas look like. Whether that is coming or going, others here can much better answer.

I am more looking at the large scale patterns and trying to understand what they might mean in the context of everything else we have seen here. And then to try to understand cause and effect or simple correlation, and any hints at short, intermediate and long term trends or projections.


A really weird thing: the BBC has just had an interview with Jennifer Francis on its news 24.

It's also on their website "Wavier jet stream 'may drive weather shift'" http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-26023166

The reporter is By Pallab Ghosh, Science correspondent, BBC News. He is the only reporter at the BBC that I have seen taking climate change this seriously.


On the pattern change I described a week ago…

First, I Ballantinegray1 asked if I had specific info on the state of the PDO, because the agencies do not reflect a coming change. He’s right, I was musing on the atmospherical pattern changes and could better have mentioned PNA. That teleconnection has mostly been in negative mode. Meaning weakening of the Asian/Pacific Jet stream and blocking.

I suggested a pattern change a week ago based on the SSW event. It did pan out in the Arctic, as there’s a large scale split of the mid-tropospheric ‘cold poles’ and a deep incursion of relatively warm air into the central Arctic.
It seemed to have an effect over California. But it takes more time for Eastern NA and the British Isles. Still, it looks like there will be some relief next week.

ECMWF suggests the split poles rejoining over the central Arctic after 20 Feb. And the ridge over the NEastern Pacific resettling. So it all seems to reflect short term noise. Even the temporary, but very unusual stall in sea ice extent and area.
Although mostly a peripheral matter, it is interesting to see how this noise impacts the ice FI N of Svalbard, part of the crucial CAB ice pack in total darkness.

The losses and deficits on the Bering side are significant, but provide little basis for any prognosis on next melt season. Nevertheless, through the last few years the rest of winter until maximum extent usually produced 350K more extent. It would really take a hard cold snap in the Arctic to reach 14MK in that light.

On PDO…as I Ballantinegray1 mentioned it, I mixed it with PNA. So I had a better look. Which is not as easy as it seems. PDO is, as the agencies report, in ‘negative’ mode. The ‘warm’ mode, very counter-intuitive… Which means, coastal waters in Alaska/Canada are somewhat cooler than normal.
But the poignant warm pool in the central NE Pacific doesn’t look like the ‘classic’ negative mode. Yesterday BornfromtheVoid reported PDO going positive in Jan.

LBNL, ‘winter power’ 1 Oct-14 Feb over the Arctic Basin is now virtually on par with ’12-’13. Only the S part of the Kara Sea has consistently had lower temps, with a >-1 dC anomaly in the Pechora Sea (part of Barentsz close to mainland NE European Russia).


Werther, the PDO is like the AO, too big for its own good. I think the North Pacific temperature anomaly is by far greatly influencing the main jet stream course for at least one half of the planet.


The SSW may reflect the current weather patterns in the troposphere, it gives some - cooling feedback especially at center of the PSV.


Er, maybe here...


Christoffer Ladstein

Svalbard ended with a staggering + 10.4 C ABOVE normal for the 3 wintermonths now behind us....scary!

Espen Olsen


Without sea ice surrounding Svalbard, I am not surprised. I am happy not being a Svalbardian Polar Bear.


Some more stats from Longyearbyen, which is the biggest population center on the Svalbard archipelago. Although a couple of days with lower temperatures have managed to get the 30 day anomaly below 15 C, -1,7 C, which was the average temp during February, is still a spectacular 14,5 C above normal. This also happens to be a new record for February by a margin of 3,9 C (previous record from 2012, with records going back to 1899), and it is also a new anomaly record for any month of the year by a margin of 1,9 C (previous record from jan. 2006). Short term forecasts almost exclude the possibility of a repeat of such anomalies in March, though, more warmth is comming in the medium/long term forecast.

Espen. Lack of ice is most certainly contributing to this madness, although I suspect that it is just as much the result, as it is the cause. I personly think stuck weather patterns is to blame.


Thanks for keeping an eye on Svalbard, everyone. Keep us posted.


It is a catch 22 situation, the onslaught of cyclones from North Atlantic and North Pacific warm the Arctic Ocean. this warmth slows down ice accretion by the heat and clouds they bring, back full circle thinner ice allow cyclones to penetrate the Arctic more easier.

I am seeing rare things becoming common, like Lows circulation around Greenland's perimeter counterclockwise.
This has been warming Svalbard nearly constantly. The degree by which Svalbard's temperature anomalies directly correlate the intensity of these incursions. It is not the same end of winter as last year.

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