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Andrew Xnn

With respect to snow cover, 2011 is near average. In contrast 2006, 2007 and 2009 were about 1 MKm2 short.

Of course, the significance of this with respect to albedo is about the same as the angle of the sun this time of year; low.


Hi Larry,

Just to note that you have picked an significantly atypical comparison point in 2007 - on Day 2007.8000, which I think is probably 19 October, the sea ice area had the biggest negative area anomaly of any day in the whole satellite record @ -2.63Mkm squared.

By early November 2007, this negative anomaly is just over -1Mkm squared.

L. Hamilton

Thanks, idunno. I hadn't noticed that mid-October 2007 was the time of historical-record anomalies. Makes the comparison a bit more remarkable, doesn't it?

The do-file for drawing these graphs, however, is not date-specific. I wrote it with the thought of making periodic, perhaps weekly, updates rather than just stop with this one-date comparison. You'll notice the Fig 2 y-axis goes up to 15 million, so we have room to keep watching.

L. Hamilton

Andrew, does snow cover seem to correlate, positively or otherwise, with other global or Arctic indexes?

I noticed a while back that Arctic sea ice correlates surprisingly well with northern hemisphere GISTEMP, and this is especially true for June. As if Arctic ice cover in June was more a matter of climate, while September varied more with the weather.

Andrew Xnn


June appears to have the strongest correlation with a warming climate along followed by July, May and August. Most of the other months appear to be a function of the weather (storminess) with no real rhyme or reason. However, December does seem to have a slight trend toward greater snowfall.

I realize that some have suggested that decreased arctic sea ice may lead to greater snow fall in the northern hemisphere. However, that does not appear to be significant.

Andrew Xnn

Also, notice that the June anomaly is huge and the trend is so strong that the actual anomaly is probably -5 Mkm2 compared to the 67-80 time period. With the sun at it's highest, that's a lot of albedo. Probably more significant than sea ice.


Thanks a lot for this update, Larry!

As can be seen on the Regional Graphs page, refreezing is really slow on the Siberian side of the Arctic. I think that strong Dipole Anomaly had a big influence on ice regrowth. Atmospheric patterns have shifted a bit since then, with a big high sitting over much of the central Arctic. It is forecasted to be replaced by a big low, but with chances of a DA forming again next week.

Of course, the waters in Hudson Bay and Laptev/Kara/Barents are still quite warm, so it will be interesting to see how things play out. Unfortunately the AMSR-E failure also has consequences for the JAXA/EORC SST maps (but we still have DMI and some others).

Remko Kampen

"Perhaps the freezing will be interesting to watch..."

As of last winter I so agree. I will watch the Hudson Bay and Baffin region particularly close because of science-fiction-become-reality slow and incomplete freeze of that area last year.
Naturally a repeat of that is unlikely, because it requires a fairly rare weather pattern: a great and persistent upper air ridge to Greenland, causing cold weather in Europe and mild conditions to the southwest and west of Greenland.
E.g. 26 Nov 2010: http://www.wetterzentrale.de/pics/archive/ra/2010/Rrea00120101126.gif .
Note the long, warm southeasterly airflow to Hudson/Baffin and the equally long Arctic blast into Europe.
Such circulation patterns have occurred in the past as well, but never with anything like the 'heatwave' in the Hudson/Baffin region and the ensuing freeze-over of the Hudson Bay about six weeks late and like a month later than last record. That November/December heatwave incidentally could be compared to Russia's heatwave of 2010 as a total outlier in the statistical record. Like the tornado season of this year, or summer in Texas this year too.

Bob Wallace

We're having a lot of outlier weather lately.

Continuing 100 year flooding in the upper Midwest, the 500 year flood in Nashville, the 1,000 year flood in New England, desert-like Australia flooding as large as France and Germany combined, flooding in Pakistan where it hardly rains, and now Bangkok going under.

More than 30,000 dying in the European heat wave a few years back. Russian and Texan baking as you noted.

Interesting times we've created for ourselves....

L. Hamilton

Remko, it's too early to say about Hudson Bay, but still the Beaufort & Chukchi on one side, and the E Siberian and Kara Sea on the other, have been a bit slow to freeze. There's a lot less to watch without the AMSR-E data, though.

Bob, nothing too dramatic is happening to our New England weather right now, except the fall colors aren't colorful. An article in Slate yesterday
noted the connection between New Hampshire's leaf season and climate change. Some grumpus commented on the leaf article,
"Is this some way to try to dumb the issue down for parochial Americans?"
but hey, fall color is a quality-of-life issue 'round here, and everybody sees the change.

Bob Wallace

Well, your fall color and your maple sugar industry are packing up and heading to Canada.

Before long you'll be able to pick up the slack for Florida loosing a lot of its tomato crop from too much heat.

Just think. We will be able to live in the same place but experience a series of ever-warming climates.

Ain't (fossil fuel)technology wonderful?


"Unfortunately the AMSR-E failure also has consequences" for lots of data, maps, etc.

I was wondering if the 'freezing in the dark' heading was also partially referring to us suffering with lack of data.

Can still do some multiyear map comparisons:

eg Russian AARI maps http://farm7.static.flickr.com/6111/6283236705_222bd39995_b.jpg


On a Dutch news website it is mentioned that we'll have another 'horror winter' this year, starting next month. They base this on a news release by the German Donnerwetter weather forecasting bureau. It would be the third extreme winter in a row for Germany.

They're not saying what is going to cause it. But what a coincidence, eh?

Kevin McKinney

". . .fall color is a quality-of-life issue. . ."

Economic, too, for some--"foliage tourism" is not insignificant. (I remember my in-laws touring New England--traveling from their home in Florida!--a few years back, as a small instance.)

I'm sure some tour operators, hoteliers, and restauranteurs are feeling pinched about now.

Remko Kampen

Next week the Horror Winter will start:
(this is in some sort of cache. Neven's Algemeen Dagblad-article overwrites it).
Or in three weeks. Always some time ahead...

The models don't know it yet, they give temps about 3-4° C above normal till the end of model era that is two weeks. Quite agreeable autumn weather actually.

Steve Bloom

Neven, there's an old military proverb: Once is happenstance, twice is coincidence, three times is enemy action.


Hi all,

Following on from my earlier comment about the record anomaly on day 2007.8000...

2009 also saw its largest anomaly in the same period, two days earlier on 2009.7972.

The biggest anomaly so far this year falls one day later on 2011.8027.

So 3 of the 5 post-normal years 2007-2011 had a peak negative anomaly in the same 4 day period in October.

This suggests that perhaps there is a new pattern of melt/refreeze emerging.

If anybody is capable of doing it easily, I think that a graph of the average of 2007-2011 area values, compared to a 1979-2006 baseline would be very interesting, and would possibly show clearly if there is any discernible seasonal change in the melt pattern.

But then, there is another old military proverb on the subject of volunteering ;)

Kevin McKinney

Here's the Google-translated version of the "Horror winter" report, mostly for laughs:

Netherlands there is another cold winter waiting. The long-term charts indicate that of Meteo Consult. This report EénVandaag on its website.

The British term forecaster James Madden intact even twenty degrees below zero temperatures and massive snowfall for Great Britain and Ireland.

The predictions of a cold winter fit in the weather of recent years. Studies indicate that a decline in solar activity connected thereto. According EénVandaag are already talking of "a little ice age".

In the land be prepared. Thus, Rotterdam has one million pounds of additional road salt ordered, let spokesperson Gisela of Welsenis of Roteb EenVandaag to know. In total, the 8 million pounds of salt Rotterdam ordered.

The first real cold weather is forecast to start in November expected

Clearly the Dutch-English software could use a little more work--though one can get the gist from this, and (I suppose) be grateful for the comedy value, too.

Chris Reynolds

Re the Horror Winter article.

It's reporting James Madden, forecaster for Accuweather. Madden cites ocean currents and reduced solar UV as the reason he's predicting a cold winter.

Other forecaster's disagree.

Judah Cohen got the 2009/2010 winter right, when all the other forecasters were forecasting a normal winter. Cohen's forecast for winter 2011/12 will be out in around 3 weeks.

Remko Kampen,

It's worth noting that before the extreme winter of 2009/10 really bit the models (e.g. ECWMF) weren't forecasting anything unusual. It was only once the AO had plummeted and the polar vortex breakdown had started that they started to forecast correctly.

Andrew Xnn

One should be careful with winter weather forecast. If the coldest air were to be isolated within the Arctic circle for most of the winter, then it would result in a mild winter for intermediate latitudes where most people live.

On the other hand, if arctic air were to regularly be pushed far to the south, then the winter would be considered unusually harsh while within the Arctic circle it would be exceptionally mild.

Chris Reynolds


All seasonal forecasting is to be followed with care. The UK Met Office have ceased publicly offering long-term seasonal forecasts because of the criticism they've received when they've been wrong. i.e. they've been reported as forecasting 'barbecue summers' which haven't come to pass.

When the AO is very positive the polar vortex is strong and keeps polar air in the Arctic. When the AO is very negative the vortex is weak, releasing cold polar air to mid latitiudes. The extreme Winter of 2009/10 was associated with a record low index AO. Last winter the AO was low (but not notably so) in December and January but positive to neutral thereafter.


I'm hearing it's snowing on the US East coast.

Artful Dodger

Biggest October snow storm there since the U.S. Civil War. The Occupiers in New York City are preparing for 1 foot of snow, while the authorities have seized their generators and fuel.

Daniel Bailey

55 here today in da UP. Da East Coasters can have da early snow:

L. Hamilton

An update of Figure 1 through 10/28 here:

Update of Figure 2 here:

And update of Figure 3 here:

Kevin McKinney

Neven, Daniel--

I'm hearing that the Northeastern snow storm rises to the level of another American weather disaster for 2011--more than 20 people are reported to have died, and something like 3 million were without power at some point, I think. A few of the outages may last as long as a week.

Here in Atlanta we have more-or-less seasonal weather following a cold snap. (Though it did not reach freezing overnight, I did have a frosted windshield to scrape Sunday morning. Thanks to my Canadian roots, I keep a scraper in my car, unlike most Atlantans. I was duly grateful Sunday.) Slightly ironic, perhaps, that our "seasonal" sounds not too different from Daniel's UP heat-wave. . .

L. Hamilton, thanks for the update. I notice there's a pretty clear 'eyeball' trend in Graph 3--as minimum extent declines, the rate of extent gain in October tends to increase accordingly. No surprise there--we've discussed the logic on this forum more than once--but it's sort of pleasant to be able to see that trend in the actual data.

Interesting, too, if less subject to an obvious interpretation, that this year seems to be sort of 'middle of the pack' for freeze-up rate.


Two of my colleagues in NJ didn't get power back to their homes until last night (since saturday), my gym didn't reopen until today. In NJ alone 500,000 homes lost power, main culprit is the reliance on overhead power lines which keep getting taken down by trees. Similar numbers to the recent hurricane here.


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