« The real AR5 bombshell | Main | Looking for winter weirdness 4 »


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

Hans Verbeek

In a high-pressure system skies are clear and thus a lot of heat gets radiated, lowering surface temperatures.

Neven, I think that the air in the high-pressure-area is very dry and the lack of watervapour also facilitates cooling.

I'm a novice in weathersystems can you tell me whether the high-pressure-area is the result of cooling or is it the cause of cooling?


I came across this from npr and I thought it was rather weird with a bit of Christmas : http://www.npr.org/blogs/krulwich/2012/12/17/167469845/suddenly-theres-a-meadow-in-the-ocean-with-flowers-everywhere

Just Testing

... before people start accusing me of alarmism or hype ...

Your target audience for this blog (correct me if I'm wrong) are researchers - professional or amateur. I think the more appropriate caveat/disclaimer here is "cherry picking" instead of alarmism. And no, you're not. I enjoy these posts and the comments that follow.

If the trend over the U.K. continues for the future maybe they will become an exporter of rainwater. According to most scenarios that will become a rather scarce and lucrative resource. No, I'm not kidding.

Ac A


first Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. Second, thanks for great post and third: today, record warm temperatures were recorded over many places in Germany and Austria, in my city Bratislava, we had a freezing rain, while in neighbouring Prag they had balmy temps. around 13°C... and yes, the models few day ago were very "confused" and the weahter prediction was almost impossible... see for weirdness here: http://www.dw.de/southern-germany-records-warmest-christmas-eve-ever/a-16477867

or here: http://hainanwel.com/en/unusual-world/2550-temperature-record.html

...etc. very strange... but strange is the new normal... :-/



I'm a novice in weathersystems can you tell me whether the high-pressure-area is the result of cooling or is it the cause of cooling?

Sorry, Hans, I can't. I'm a novice too.

Thanks, Just Tested!

Alexander, I can confirm that in my part of Austria (south-east) it was very warm today, 11 °C. But it was this way last year as well, so it feels 'normal'. However, folks who've lived here all their lives tell me that the weather has been weird the past couple of years.

Espen Olsen

München, Bavaria Germany.

December 24th:
Recorded a new "heat" record 20,7C
Previous record was 17,8C in Baden-Baden and Müllheim 1983


Hi Neven,
Two weeks ago I returned from Colorado to England near the River Severn. The contrast could hardly be greater. In N Colorado, at 7700 feet the grass was straw coloured and the ground was bone-dry. The only green was the needles of the ponderosa pine-those that have survived the fires and the ravages of the pine bark beetle. A 3000 acre forest fire was still growing in December.

Back in England I've seen more rain in two weeks than in three months in Colorado. The grass is incredibly green and the ground is waterlogged. I see streams where I've never seen them before and the bottom of our road floods regularly. Walking the dog, I stick to the roads as the fields are so muddy and wet. There is constant running water on the roads and the back garden is sodden. The main news is about more flooding.

It was a ten hour trip from drought to flood. But I think the two are connected by the Arctic ice. According to Jeff Masters, the contiguous states in the US are going to smash the yearly temperature record in 2012. Now we see this odd weather in Russia. And the high there may be stalling all these fronts over the UK The Age of Consequences has indeed arrived.

Artful Dodger

Santa, all I want for Christmas is sea ice in September! I'll be watching you ;^)


Seasons Greetings!


This lead paragraph from a Seattle Times article on Cascades weather caught my eye: "Road workers say they've never seen anything like it — snow-laden trees falling several times a day along the eastern slope of Stevens Pass." (Source: http://seattletimes.com/html/localnews/2019973938_fallingtrees24m.html )

The freezing level is moving up slope, and this event looks to me like a new manifestation of that climate change impact.



According to UNI-Bremen yesterday SIE has reached a blatent and stunning maximum extend record. Or should Bremen's graphics be nothing but a serious mess?

But we shouldn't worry though, as we have at our disposal a Norsk expert capable to predict the future out of this mess.

Espen Olsen


Some read from coffee grounds and crystal balls, and some read from Bremen, all options can be pretty messy though!


You can watch the jet stream circle the northern hemisphere over the last 5-20 days depending on what you choose in the animated program here.


Reblogged your post here http://climatestate.com/item/looking-for-winter-weirdness.html

Germany had unprecedented warm temps the last days reaching top 18-20,7C, breaking many records, floods and high winds too.

Though i have to note, most articles in the media just mention the historic cold temps, but do not bother to shine light on the circumstances and the science.

Cheers, prokaryotes


Polar jet stream appears hugely deformed

World climate zones used to be kept well apart by jet streams. On the northern hemisphere, the polar jet stream was working hard to separate the Tundra and Boreal climate zones' colder air in the north from the Temperate climate and the Subtropical climate zones' warmer air in the south.

The greater the difference in temperature between north and south, the faster the jet streams spin around the globe, the polar jet stream at about 60°N and the subtropical jet stream at about 30°N, as illustrated on above image.

The polar jet stream used to move at speeds of up to 140 miles per hour, while following a relatively straight track that was meandering only slightly, i.e. with waves that go up and down only a little bit.

Accordingly, the Northern Temperate Zone used to experience only mild differences between summer and winter weather, rather than the extreme hot or cold temperatures that we've experienced recently.

Accelerated warming in the Arctic is decreasing the difference in temperature between the Arctic and the Northern Temperate Zone. This is causing the polar jet to slow down and become more wavy, i.e. with larger loops, as illustrated by the image below.

This is a feedback of accelerated warming in the Arctic that reinforces itself. As the jet stream slows down and its waves become elongated, cold air can leave the Arctic more easily and come down deep into the Northern Temperate Zone. Conversily, more warm air can at the same time move north into the Arctic. The 'open doors' further decrease the difference in temperature between the Arctic and the Northern Temperate Zone, in turn further slowing down the jet stream and making it more wavy, and thus further accelerating warming in the Arctic. http://arctic-news.blogspot.de/2012/12/polar-jet-stream-appears-hugely-deformed.html


Arctic Amplification and anthropogenic climate change - high latitudes warming more than mid-latitudes, especially in fall and winter, but also during summer over land -> poleward thickness gradient weackening. This creates weaker upper-level, zonal mean flow, reduced phase speed. Peaks of upper-level ridges elongate northward, wave amplitude increases.

And Rossby waves (North to south winds) progress more slowly. Weather conditions become more persistent. Increased probability of extremes: cold spells, heat waves, flooding, prolonged snowfall, and drought. http://climatestate.com/pure-climate-science/item/lesson-arctic-sea-ice-decline.html


Awesome, awesome, awesome, Mauri @ Glacier Change. Thanks a lot for this!

Okay, back to family X-mas dinner.

"What are you watching?"
"The jet stream."
"The what?"
"You see, there was a blocking high over Russia and that..."
"Would you like some more wine?"



Neven the link does not work (Glacier Change).

btw. I raise you my glass half full of wine :)


This is the link http://glacierchange.wordpress.com/


One has to remember that Jet streams are not the cause of weather but rather the result of air masses parking different locations. Very often the air masses are influenced by orography coupled with geography where random movement of these air masses combines to create blocking patterns. Of course I realise that I am trying to teach my grandmother to suck eggs however I feel it needs a mention especially when it comes to the Siberian high.


Before believing everything in news articles - check out the latest NCAR Temp Anomaly chart for the last 30 days.


Most of SIBERIA has been (and still is) warmer than normal - not colder. Most of the 'cold' has been over western and south central Russia - and mostly during the past 10 days in these more populated areas of Russia.

10 days of intense cold does not make this the 'coldest Russian Winter in decades'.

Ac A

Thanks Steve,

and it also seems that nor has it been very hot compared to past in the Western Europe... at least in the last 10 days,


Hans Verbeek

Hot or not: Christmas 2012 is whiter than usual.
Nothern Hemisphere snowcover is way above the normal for december.


Southern Germany records warmest Christmas Eve ever http://www.dw.de/southern-germany-records-warmest-christmas-eve-ever/a-16477867



Chicago has had above normal temps on 27 of the last 28 days - with DEC temps now averaging 9.6 degF above normal. We've officially had 0.3" of snow. Numeous recors for 'streaks' of warm and snowless days have been set; and no major change is expected thru mid JAN. Considering we're now entering the 'bottom of winter' (average Temps begin to rise starting JAN 26)the chances of a prolonged, super cold event is quickly diminishing (assuming the ensembles and oher forecast tools are reasonably correct for the next 30 days).


I don't know if you would call this winter weirdness, but I've never seen it before. This is the first year I've paid close attention to a refreeze. I noticed a lot of multi-year thick ice leaving Fram. Then for over a month, there was this large area of very thin sea ice north of Greenland. That area normally had thick sea ice. I've looked in the archives of sea ice thickness at this time of year and I can't find it happening in the past.

I haven't had a chance to read all the comments since September. Has anyone noticed that?

Chris Reynolds


I'd agree about the Jetstream, it is the proximate cause of weather patterns, but it itself is affected by various factors. BBC News Weather need to be informed of these factors as they keep just saying the summer's wet weather in the UK was due to the Jetstream being in an unusual position. Leaving it at that is a wholly unsatisfactory explanation.


I am now uncertain about the role for the Barents, although I think Wayne Davidson has a point when he states the low over Barents may have a role in driving a responding high over Russia. I am now thinking more in terms of Cohen's arguments - the current low AO index may be due to the rapid snow advance last month.

Ac A


and then you have tornadoes and "White Christmas" in unusual parts of US...:


Jim Hunt

Hi Ggelsrinc,

"Has anyone noticed that?"

Sure have. Try the first page of this search for starters:


There was a large area of open water for a while!

Jdean Dingler

Steve, are you saying that when looking at record cold temps, you don't use the lowest thermometer readings for a region, but instead take an average of a continent in comparison?

For instance, if we wanted to find the coldest temp read during the day, for the USA, we'd average all of the temperature readings?

Do I understand what you're arguing as to Siberia?


Do know that this blog is about the Arctic, but did find this report http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-20804192.
This is a feedback loop that is almost never mention. Reason is obvious that it is on the opposite side of the earth and the equator does separate weather systems because of wind patterns etc. Although I am a firm believer that nothing happens in isolation of the anything else.
eg People can smoke out of doors, but when they come in my lungs still get congested just from what is coming from their breath and clothes. As we are finding out from the Arctic, it only takes very minor changes to make major impacts on what happens in the environment. Also the exponential effects seems to be far more the norm then linear.


Sorry brain got ahead of me again. In case you are totally baffled by what I was trying to say. I believe that the changes happening in the Antarctic will effect the Arctic which then will effect the Antarctic ......


Video: Tipping Points in Earth Climate System – 2012 Arctic Methane Special http://climatestate.com/item/tipping-points-in-earth-climate-system-2012-arctic-methane-special-2.html


Me again at Operation Loose Ends ... we were scrambling a while back for reliable Greenland ice sheet area and volume stats ... here they are from Jason Box:


Here's the portal to Greenland ice core data itself:


Want the lat/long/elevations of the full set of 52 Greenland ice cores? Table 1 of SL Buchard "Investigating the past and recent δ18O-accumulation relationship seen in Greenland ice cores" has them.

The ones in the south like DYE-3 have been very much affected by isostatic rebound, and those elevation changes in turn affect temperature interpretation the oxygen isotope anomalies. As does the changing source water for Greenland snow (by no means local). It's a big mistake to jump right from δ18O to temperature as so many people do.

Free full text at:



Grrr ... typepad, secret rules, and its lying about something being posted. I'll try this in sections.

Operation Loose Ends ... quite a few things came up during the 2012 blog season that never really got resolved since I've been on the floe, so I've been looking around for quick fixes to those:

Here is an extremely helpful up-to-date resource on Arctic Ocean physical oceanography ... Rebecca Woodgate's spring 2012 slides and lecture notes for a graduate student class at UW (complete with homework assignments). Despite the sketchy numbering, the 9 pdfs form a complete set (Jody Deming gave the missing ones on Arctic biology).

So if you have ever wondered why Pacific Ocean water flows into the Arctic to begin with, whether the pressure head is constant over time (no), the flow-reversing effects of Arctic winds, how the volume and heat influx compares to Siberian river and North Atlantic inflows, what happened to the climate when the Bering Strait was above sea level, what's going to happen to the halocline and circulation with an ice-free summer Arctic Ocean, these slides have the perfect graphics that explain current thinking.

Woodgate also has an 18 Dec 2012 paper out in GRL relevant to the 2013 melt season that also makes me wonder about the how it is possible to meaningfully model the effects of Bering Strait closure on the AMOC (Apr 2012 PNAS paper) if through-flows vary this much even when the strait is open:

"Mooring data indicate the Bering Strait through-flow increases ∼50% from 2001 to 2011, driving heat and freshwater flux increases. Increase in the Pacific-Arctic pressure-head explains two-thirds of the change, the rest being attributable to weaker local winds. The 2011 heat flux (∼5 × 1020J) approaches the previous record high (2007) due to transport increases and warmer lower layer temperatures, despite surface temperature cooling. In the last decade, warmer layer waters arrive earlier, though winds and SST are typical for recent decades."







Now let's try again with Rebecca Woodgate's very helpful Arctic oceanography lecture series:












Jim Hunt

What I've been doing during this refreeze is following navy charts of sea ice thickness and drift. First I noticed large amounts of thick sea ice leaving through the Fram Staits. This is the first year I've given this much attention to a refreeze, so I've check the limited archives for comparisons.

This may just be my impression, because I was following it rather continuously, but it looked like the supply of thick sea ice was exhausted and a large "California-size" area of thin half meter sea ice developed north of Greenland.

I've also noticed the extent of 2 meter sea ice isn't what it was 2 years ago. That's to be expected after a record minimum, but it brings in the question of the quality of the thicker sea ice. Is that remaining thick sea ice like the low salinity sea ice of the old days, or is it rotten high salinity sea ice piled up against the CAA? The difference can mean decades of difference in an ice free arctic.


Yes, indeed Neven. Xmas dinner here was rather similar:

Me: "I'd like to share a discovery that might save human civiliza..."

Her: "Honey, not in front of the children!"

Me: "I found an easy way of re-purposing two million lines of code*, this will turn paleo climate interpr..."

Her: "That's wonderful, dear. Can you tell me about it later as I fall asleep?"


Me: [[["Hmmm, on the 1883 Greeley expedition to Ellesmere, they cut up non-performing members of the crew into shrimp bait**, the parts they didn't eat."]]]

Her: "Honey, you're mumbling, you've been on that computer for over an hour! Did you forget we have to take Mandy to the airport?"

* I worked for years setting up the world's most complex and heavily used scientific web site whose ur...

** The diaries erred, these were not really shrimp but the carrion-feeding amphipod crustacean, Onisimus edwardsi.


Steve Bloom

Climateforce: "Accordingly, the Northern Temperate Zone used to experience only mild differences between summer and winter weather, rather than the extreme hot or cold temperatures that we've experienced recently."

Yes, do be a little careful with statements like this. As someone who grew up up in a continental climate zone (upper US midwest) I can tell you there's nothing mild-seeming about a ~75C swing from summer to winter extremes!

New records being set are certainly important, but in mid-latitudes the big thing going on (and for which we lack an easy index) is the stickiness of weather patterns related to the slowing jets.

Steve Bloom

Thanks so much for those links, A-Team. I had just been girding my loins to start learning more about possible ocean circulation changes, and the Arctic ones will be a good start.

The reason for my new (renewed actually) interest is an AGU FM abstract I just came across from Christina Ravelo and colleagues:

"The response of climate to past changes in atmospheric greenhouse gas composition can be used to assess Earth System sensitivity. Unlike Charney climate sensitivity, which is related to the strength of feedbacks involving short timescale climate processes such as those involving clouds and water vapor, Earth System sensitivity also integrates feedbacks involving long timescale changes in the cryosphere, terrestrial vegetation, and deep ocean circulation.

"We show that paleoclimate data from the Miocene, Pliocene and Pleistocene epochs provide evidence for changing sensitivity through time, probably due to changing boundary conditions due to tectonics. In the middle Miocene (~18-12 Ma), major climate change trends appear to be coupled to pCO2 changes; however, in the late Miocene (~12-5 Ma), climate was warmer than today even while pCO2 was similar to today, indicating a decoupling between long-term climate evolution and pCO2 change.

"In the Pliocene and Pleistocene, there appears to have been strong coupling between climate and pCO2 changes; there is a wide range of Earth System sensitivity values, all of which exceed or are at the high end of Charney and Earth System sensitivity estimates derived from climate models. In the early Pliocene warm period, pCO2 was 350-400 ppm, implying an Earth System sensitivity (temperature change for a doubling of pCO2) of 7-9C.

"Subsequently, large Northern Hemisphere glaciations began to occur when pCO2 dropped below about 300 ppm in the middle Pliocene. For the Late Pleistocene ice ages, estimates of tropical sensitivity are approximately 3-4C for a doubling of pCO2, which we suggest represents a minimum value for global sensitivity during the last ~500,000 years.

"Overall, paleoclimate data have important implications.

"First, tectonic changes in basin shape impacted ocean circulation and climate sensitivity through the Miocene and possibly the earliest Pliocene, indicating that the initial conditions of the mean oceanic state plays a role in the climate response to pCO2 change.

"Second, to explain why early Pliocene estimates of Earth System sensitivity are so high, it may be important to improve how the large observed changes in upper ocean circulation are simulated by models.

"Third, in a period when ocean basins were similar to modern, ice age climate sensitivity to pCO2 changes is underestimated by climate models even when long term changes in solar forcing and ice sheet size and distribution are taken into account, implying that internal positive feedbacks are stronger than previously thought."

Much to consider there, but what I find most riveting is the idea of a severe step-change in sensitivity associated with ocean circulation changes that likely are already locked in by present CO2 levels.


Steve Bloom, that is not my article and i also post stuff, to get a response like yours, to better adjust my understanding. Thanks for pointing this out, though it would be great if you could provide some study or link, which in this case describes these extreme swings. Is this a regional special, because for instance of ortographic features?

Steve Bloom

I just came across this recent technical note about blocking event trends. At a quick glance they seem surprisingly sharp.

Steve Bloom

Climateforce, it's the northern hemisphere continental (past) normal. In climate studies, "continentality" refers to the degree of remoteness from ocean influences. You would see the same thing in similarly-situated parts of Eurasia. I don't know of a particular study, although probably there are a fair number, but to check for yourself just go to the NWS site and look up the record of extreme lows and highs for a suitable city, e.g. Omaha. But at risk of repeating myself, the key point I was trying to make is that people who live in such places don't think of their climate as anything close to "mild." By contrast, my current mid-latitude location (SF Bay Area) has a maximum swing of less than 40C, which not only is but is perceived as mild.

Steve Bloom

Also, Climateforce, when you're quoting something it's probably less confusing if you use quote marks or blockquote tags.


OK, thanks Steve, will consider this next time. Though i will be more carefully with what resources i use. However, the science here (Jet Stream anomaly, Arctic Dipole, Arctic Paradox, Arctic amplification, Winter weirding) is still evolving. It is not always easy to spot errors.

Another example here is the topic on current methane trends, updates on the main focus month, really very very little reporting at all. So i would love to use other sources. But so far little reporting in the "mainstream" scene :)

Cheers, prokaryotes from http://climatestate.com

Steve Bloom

Looked some more for blocking event stuff. One of the technical note authors, Anthony Lupo (interestingly a NIPCC co-author!), has a page here with the data and some other relevant information.

Included is a link to a new Russian-language paper (status unclear, maybe in review) with much more, including future projections. Google translate seemed to work OK on it, although of course the formatting was wrecked and there were various artifacts. I haven't read it yet, but here's the abstract:

Heat wave in the summer of 2010 in European Russia initiated long (about two months) blocking of the zonal circulation in the troposphere in mid-latitude Northern Hemisphere (SP) [1,2]. Whether it was possible to expect a long block? Can today's models describes those processes? What are the likely trends manifestations of similar events in the future? To answer these questions analyzed the characteristics of the activity in blokingovoy atmosphere of the joint venture on the basis of reanalysis data and numerical modeling calculations for the twentieth and twenty-first centuries in various scenarios of anthropogenic impact. The results indicate that using current climate models can reproduce numerically especially regional anomalies associated with atmospheric blocking, along with trends.

I'll comment again after I've had a look.


I have updated the CH4 methane webpages for Dec 11-20 2012, both for the AIRS and IASI data.

In addition to the AIRS flat 90N map, I have added a Google Earth projection of the methane concentration as well. They are not side by side this year, but will be in 2013.


For IASI CH4 imagery, see: https://sites.google.com/site/apocalypse4realmethane2012/home/iasi-2012-vs-2011-iasi-ch4-970-600-mb

There has been higher readings in the Barents, Kara, and Norwegian Seas over the last two months. More on that later.


James Hansen and Makiko Sato: Update of Greenland Ice Sheet Mass Loss: Exponential? 26 December 2012 http://www.columbia.edu/~jeh1/mailings/2012/20121226_GreenlandIceSheetUpdate.pdf


Thanks Cf,
I'll give that paper a better read later. But it sure fits what I fear. And what my 'watch' on Greenland is starting to reveal.


Werther it may be worse if you consider that the height of most moulins are lower than its 3 km peak, in fact likely at altitudes of lower surrounding upper air which is warmer than the surface at about 600-1000 meters in the dead of winter. The 2 extra heat contributors warmer water from within, surrounded by warmer lower troposphere from without may be part of a greater calving rate as recently measured. Total integrated cooling of Greenland slopes is less during the dark season, the entire calving rate is not a linear function as confirmed by the graph from Hansen and Makiko. Greenland will vanish first from its sides.


Take the moulins/meltlakes on app. 1100 m aSL, east of Illulissat. Maybe you refer to winter temp inversion on that height, stored cold over lower altitudes (but probably harsh cold through radiation higher up to Summit), a 'warmer' layer in between.

Can find no sign of that on NCAR/NCEP reanalysis 850 Mb temp jan-mar 2012.

It does show on the Zachariae side, though. 1-2 dC anomaly (still very deep freeze).

Maybe the NCEP modelling makes high resolution deductions less valid, you might be right on local scale? But would that count for the whole ablation zone between say Narssarsuaq-Upernavik?
Would less 'integrated cooling' through winter now also be a contributor to enhanced spring-/summer melt?


Meanwhile, to have some perspective on the latest SIA numbers, I compared our summer ice quality indicator CAPIE on today's numbers and '06-'11.
For what it's worth, the score is the lowest, 90 to 93 mean. Must be thin, cracked ice in mid-winter...


In Downpours make 2012 England’s wettest year on record a Met Office spokeman is reported as saying that it was impossible to say whether the spate of wet years was due to climate change.

“Britain is a wet country,” he said. “There will always be dry spells and wet spells. This year’s wet weather has been due to a buckled jet stream. Normally it is straight and pushes wet weather systems far to the north. It hasn’t done that this year.”




The BBC have interviews with the Met office saying they don't know yet if the shift in the jet stream is due more to North Atlantic warming or Arctic sea ice melt:


Aaron Lewis

Some 90% of the heat from AGW is in the oceans. Thus, the water mass known as the North Atlantic Drift is warmer than it has been in the past (http://www.osdpd.noaa.gov/data/sst/anomaly/2012/anomnight.12.27.2012.gif).

The Siberian High is part of a wind field (http://stratus.ssec.wisc.edu/products/rtpolarwinds/ ) that is pushing that warm NAD water into the Barents Sea. Such wind driven ocean currents are only possible when there is a (seasonal) break in the sea ice.

Now, the upper layer of Barents Sea water is so warm and thick, that surface water can cool and sink without freezing. The sinking water draws warm surface water from the south. The flow of water from the south is advecting huge amounts of heat deep into the Arctic. And, the sinking surface water is much warmer than the brine that was rejected from sea ice formation in the same region a couple of decades ago, so the deep water of the Barents is also warming very fast. In this context, CH4 concentrations in the area (https://sites.google.com/site/apocalypse4realmethane2012/home/iasi-2012-vs-2011-iasi-ch4-970-600-mb ) are more interesting.

The question is, How long will it take North Atlantic Drift Water to move into other parts of the Arctic?


Thanks Boa05att

Looks to me that the BBC/Met Office are consistently choosing the “it might not be climate change” story line. The piece gives me the impression that we don't really know if it's climate change so we need not worry too much. It might be the Arctic sea-ice loss or just the long-standing North Atlantic Oscillation. I find this typical of many BBC reports.

Jennifer Francis is much clearer:

While various oceanic and atmospheric patterns such as El Niño, La Niña, and the North Atlantic Oscillation have been blamed for the spate of unusual weather recently, there’s now a new culprit in the wind: Arctic amplification. Directly related to sea-ice loss and earlier snowmelt in the Far North, it is affecting the jet stream around the Northern Hemisphere, with potentially far-reaching effects on the weather.

OK, the BBC piece is not dissimilar to what Jennifer Francis says but to the casual observer they have very different impacts. I think the BBC is soft peddling climate change - again. This may be down to their choice of experts.

A decent debate putting the BBC's favourite experts to the test would be interesting.


Werther, Its more like 900 mb, at times 1000 meters or 850 mb.
Temperature profile Maximas.

Data is hard to find, Example for today Narsarsuaq:


But I would look further to the North of Greenland if data is available,

a past example would be Aasiaat for example:


There should be an over all net warming on the slopes of Greenland as the lower troposphere temperature increases.

Espen Olsen


No the answer is simple, people are afraid of loosing their jobs or reputation. It is not only about the Arctic question, there are many other subjects both in real life and in science where people are wearing the "No Elephant" glasses!



The Norwegian, Barents and Kara Sea areas have been emitting high levels of methane since November. Readings yesterday were as high as 2147 PPBv.

An example of one layer of atmospheric concentration has been added to a webpage I have in development.


I have also attached a Powerpoint of the mb layers between 336 and 945 mb.


Hi Aaron, i added your quote from above to this post http://climatestate.com/item/tipping-points-in-earth-climate-system-2012-arctic-methane-special-2.html

"Readings yesterday were as high as 2147 PPBv." Can you put this in more perspective, thanks.


Evening Geoff,

I doubt if we could find any official meteorological institute in the World that would publicly attribute any weather event or -pattern on month/subcontinental scale to Global Warming.

Though my contacts with the Dutch KNMI seem not to have been as often and intense as yours with the MetOffice in the UK, they seem very similar.

Also having FI DMI, NOAA in my mind, I have the impression GW (or even AGW) is acknowledged, but on an abstract level.
These institutions have great science resources and employ some of the best educated people imaginable. From time to time I feel an urge to give their research more attention.

I think it is productive to question them as substantial as we can. Don´t expect any attribution soon. It seems to be a matter of politics, not science.
Universities provide more freedom to quit reticence.
Thankfully, there are scientists that deserve our admiration for their courage and perseverance to press public opinion.

Our pressure could at least help to get the Met Institutions to speak up. I hope not too late...

Chris Reynolds


I've been crunching that blocking data all day. Have had to resort to Excel VBA, I hate programming but it's been the only attainable option. I'll be blogging on it shortly. But as a thank you...

I've calculated average annual temperature for 90degN to 65degN and 65degN to 25degN. Using those as polar and mid latitude temperatures respectively I've calculated change in mid lat to polar temp, as indicative of changing polar equator temperature gradient. This is the X (bottom 'X is across') axis of the following graph. Then I've taken blocking length and tallied up day counts for each month, this is the Y axis (vertical).

The jumbled mass at the bottom is X/Y plots up to 2003, it shows a weak relationship between pole-equator temperature and blocking days per month. Linear fit: -2.4 blocking days a month per degree C (as the temperature difference decreases blocking days go up).

Post 2003 is too short to say anything meaningful about a new trend. But it looks to me like a regime shift. Zhang found the AD became prevalent after 2003 - coincidence? The further stats are impressive, it's very unusual in the context of the post 1968 data.


A last remark on the continuous comparison of the GIS snow/ice margin '09-'12.
I did some 10% now, mostly on the SW side of the island.
What I find is retreat. Not continuous, but often. Sometimes 50-60m. Sometimes 150-180 m. Doesn't look like much. But along 57000 km1?
It may well match GRACE data-evaluations. And it's visible.
I'll try to post a map/sample when I've finished (if the GIS still exists?).



The METOP 2 IASI CH4 methane mixing maps are available on a test basis. Every 12 hours the data is summarized globally and made available in 100 separate mb layers, from .016 to 1042 mb.

The maps display the data by (rainbow) range, with the highest above approx. 1940 PPBv. Each layer states the range of PPBv methane readings for that mb layer.

The number I mentioned was the highest reading, likely from the Kara or Barents Sea areas at 718 mb, given the concentrations in those areas at that level on the 27th am.

Unfortunately neither the data nor the map layer imagery is being archived at this time, and the raw values are not yet available in a workable file.

Artful Dodger

Good to see continued interest in Greenland glaciers!

Here's a college-level textbook on glacier science, including charts of Greenland ice-sheet vertical temperature profiles:

Physics of Glaciers - Chapter 6
Temperatures in glaciers and ice sheets


Note: the complete textbook is online at the folder above. Here's the intro to Chapter 1:

Life is like a glacier

Heaven-descended in its origin, it yet takes its mould and conformation from the hidden womb of the mountains which brought it forth. At first soft and ductile, it acquires a character and firmness of its own as an inevitable destiny urges it on its onward career...

More from the author Martin Lüthi from the Institute for Hydrology (Glaciology) at ETH Zürich.


Steve Bloom

Wow, Chris, I'd been half-hoping someone here would pick up that ball and run with it, but this far exceeds my expectations! And yeah, post-2003 is very distinctive-looking. I very much look forward to your post.

Artful Dodger

Apologies, the Authors of the textbook above are:

K.M. Cuffey and W.S.B. Paterson, The Physics of Glaciers, Fourth Edition (2010)

Dr. Martin Lüthi teaches the course ETH Zürich: Physics of Glaciers I

Steve Bloom

Geoff, the BBC appears to have spiked a weather and jet stream article that appeared on the 27th. It does seem to take a much stronger view than the video, in the form of a quote from Tim Palmer:

"Professor Palmer says that with climate change, the jet stream could become far more variable.

He says: "The question of how it will change is still a very active research problem, and we don't have clear-cut answers yet.

"But I think there is quite a big possibility that what we will see is the jet stream undergoing quite dramatic and erratic excursions."

And the UK's geographical position under the jet stream means that we could see the worst of this.

Prof Palmer explains: "I think it is a bit unwise, and possibly even a bit dangerous, to think that the climate of the UK will just gradually warm and we'll transition to a more balmy southern European climate.

"If the ideas about a more fluctuating jet stream are correct, then in fact what we will be seeing is a climate with many more extremes: both extremes of wetness and flooding on the one hand, and extremes and dryness and possibly even coldness on the other."

Steve Bloom

Hmm, an html problem on that list. Here's the complete url as text:


[Fixed the links. I think the problem was the double 'http', N.]

Steve Bloom

Strange. Clicking on the highlighted bit doesn't work, but copying and pasting just that portion does.

Steve Bloom

Second up should have been "on that last."



Thanks. That's a good example.

Although the story is still available at the URL you gave, it is no longer seems to be referenced on the science-environment section of the BBC website.

Much older stories are.

I will raise this with MP. Surely they are not putting stories up to cover their backs then making them difficult to access.

I have also been interested in the pattern of reporting from different journalists. Many of the more realistic stories seem to come from outside the usual team.


BBC's A science news preview of 2013

leads with arctic ice retreat possibly causing flooding before IPCC report:


Remko Kampen

So how special is the Russian cold snap really?
Moscow, past 90 days: http://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/products/global_monitoring/temperature/tn27612_90.gif .

Almost -25° C as the minimum for Moscow. Where the december record is below -38° C.
O and December 1986 registered a -63° C in Siberia (no record).

What is really special is the continuous heat outside of the cold spell. No word on that.
What was special about the cold snap was the precipitation.

Parts of China do show the news. Finally something of a winter, no? Bei Xing:

Looks like people have no memory (and cannot appreciate the existence of archives). That pisses me off a bit. But what really bugs me is this attribution of wintery weather to the state of the Arctic Sea ice. Because the differential analysis is omitted completely. Seems we must never ask that simple question 'well how about cold winters in the past', which, incidentally, have the present pale into insignifance? And otoh, how about attributing de continentally mild tot record mild winters of 2007 and 2008 to the sea ice? Answers nowhere. Is pseudoscience that contaminating?


Remko, I hope this is not an accusation. From the very first winter weirdness post I have made clear that this exercise is not meant as a "see, proof that the disappearance of Arctic sea ice is causing climate patterns to change". Or at least I have tried to make that clear. Here's another try:

With all that open water at the end of the melting season (and still in the Kara and Barentsz Seas), it's not a question of 'is it changing things', but rather, like Dr. Jennifer Francis says: How could it not?

I'm looking for potential evidence by documenting winter weather events that could be labelled as 'weird', in the sense that they're highly anomalous. None of these events by themselves constitute evidence, as weird events have always been happening, but a series of such events could potentially be evidence that what is going on inside of the Arctic could be having an influence on what is going on outside of the Arctic.

In this third instance of what I label as winter weirdness, the interesting thing is not so much that it's cold in Russia, but the fact that the cold snap was caused by a blocking high (theoretically the occurrence of blocking highs could increase due to a decline of Arctic sea ice cover and continental snow cover), and also that this blocking high caused a low to stay put and dump massive amounts of precipitation over parts of the UK.

China (which is not just Beijing) I discuss in Looking for winter weirdness 4, with a senior engineer of the National Climate Center linking China's cold winter to Arctic sea ice loss.

Rather than everyone here going 'Proof of AGW! Proof of AGW!', as you seem to imply, I see folks discussing the data and potential mechanisms. Practically no one is building the equivalent of igloos for Al Gore here. Of course, winters seem on the whole to be milder than in the past, but I'm interested in the extreme deviations, the cold snaps, the blocking highs, the winter weirdness. If only to combat the pseudoscience of fake skeptics who see a Snowmageddon as proof of the non-existence of AGW.

But it's about more than that, of course. If a reduction in Arctic sea ice is causing a change in weather patterns, we need to know about it asap. How would you like to go about that? Like scientists do it? I'm not a scientist.

Remko Kampen

No, sorry Neven - that was more of a general rant against a spate of articles recent years trying to link cold contintental winter weather (as we have seen 2008-2010) and loose cold snaps (recent or EU, feb 2012) to the condition of Arctic Sea ice. Content of my rant is given: total lack of differential analysis and neglect of the fact that over this century most winters almost everywhere were mild, in many places some winters so mild as to be unseen (like 2007 in western Europe).

Then a more general remark. Last couple of weeks the fact hit me dat even professionals in the field are underestimating, sometimes vastly, the effects of climate change. And I think this can be attributed as 'succes' for climate revisionism. Who wants to be called an 'alarmist' - even if he/she still sounds the alarm less than he/she is actually convinced is necessary?

" it's not a question of 'is it changing things', but rather, like Dr. Jennifer Francis says: How could it not?"

I totally agree. But the question really is: how is it gonna change and can we already see it? I mean: I feel quite sure that the Arctic situation was solely responsible for the Sandy's spectacular left turn. But there is no way I'm going to be able to prove this. It is much more complex than attributing temperature hyperextremes ('Summer in March', Moscow Inferno etc) to the combination of AGW and a climate system that is functioning far out of balance.

The problem with weather patterns is that they are very hard to classify let alone quantify, and that every single weather synopsis of any minute of any day is actually unique.
There exists, for North-Atlantic/EU, a classification system by Baur for circulation patterns. It has been shown that average duration of a pattern is significantly lengthening (changes in distribution of patterns e.g. more southwest less north or east are not so obvious). This, alas, tells us nothing about the intensity of the patterns. E.g. a Scandinavian blocking high of 1025 hPa will be classified same as that high (end of January 1956) but it is the difference between a couple days of frosty weather and the coldest month since January 1823.

Finally, the single most important thing to watch for, imo, is the Rocky Mountains lee trough. There's a continent ready for instant desertification.

Remko Kampen

Correction to last but one sentence, it is to read:
This, alas, tells us nothing about the intensity of the patterns. E.g. a Scandinavian blocking high of 1025 hPa will be classified same as that high at 1075 hPa (end of January 1956) but it is the difference between a couple days of frosty weather and the coldest month since January 1823.

Remko Kampen

So, Neven, actually we are after the same thing :)


Indeed, Remko. But I thought it bears repeating how I'm looking at all this.

Anyway, I just mention a potential piece of evidence, and then Chris Reynolds, Werther and Wayne Davidson give an explanation. ;-)

Chris Reynolds

Steve Bloom,

Hope you check the comments here regularly. You'll find a post entitled Northern Hemisphere Blocking on my blog.

The comments to this entry are closed.