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Likelihood of El Niño 2014-2015 has convincing models backing it up, from NOAA Climate Forecasting System.

Latest ocean temperature anomalies starting to look ominous as well. Pool of warm water is gradually collecting around Pacific side of South America.

Being that central tropical Pacific is supposed to warm from here on out (whenever "out" takes us), I think we're already on the way to very hot next two years.

Not quite a super El Niño of vintage 1998 so far, but one stronger than 2010 seems reasonable at this stage.

Jim Hunt

Following last week's "Hangout" at the White House here's Jim Overland's summary of "What's going on with the Polar Vortex?"



Maybe somebody already posted this, but here's a good Washington Post article preceding the Polar Vortex stuff, explaining some of the links between jet stream, SSWs, etc.


El-Nino appears to be making a come back , but the rest of the Pacific is already very anomalously warm. If the rest of Pacific remains overheated, along with this potential El-Nino, it will be warmest year in history with huge implications for sea ice. A very late
sea ice minima date for one thing, not a brutal melting season, but a slow gradual one. The key for a great melt is as much sun rays at the right spring early summer time and how much compression compaction there will be. Must study what happens to Global Circulation when El-Nino rages, however I think that precedents may be not available, the entire Pacific may be significantly anomalously warm at once.


You expressed much of what I'm expecting... for what's about to unfold, there's little comfort in looking back.

Craig Merry

How much of a implication would a El Niño season with anomalous high temperatures of the Pacific have on Thermohaline circulation? Especially if the current bottlenecks near Antarctica? I'm fascinated and wary of how heat content affects currents.


we have all been looking in the wrong place for answers. :)


a little light comedy for a wednesday morning.



Oh. Dear. I have a new benchmark for Aphasia.


Thanks @philiponfire , I am not as literate as jd, and my self censored comment is 'goodness gracious'. Thanks for that, gives us all a little perspective


That is a very strange site!

Operation Popeye apparently was/is real & from time to time I wonder what advances have been made since the Vietnamese War era. Is there any way to discuss what is known without turning to the tin foil hat types?

Jai Mitchell


I agree, in this case it is best to stick with the peer reviewed journal papers on the subject. Extensive model analyses have been performed looking at stratospheric aerosol deposition (global dimming) as a potential geoengineering technique, basically duplicating the Pinatubo eruption.

This is a good paper on the subject from RMetS http://climate.envsci.rutgers.edu/pdf/GeoMIP10.1002-asl.316.pdf

My understanding of these things is that a targeted effort made over specific upwelling regions in the tropics would be enough to provide regionally cool sea surface temperatures and significantly reduce the intensity of the Hadley Cell.

Unfortunately, this would also lead to an intense drying of the subtropical stratosphere and the models show a reduction in hurricane events and significant blocking patterns in the north pacific.

Hans Gunnstaddar


'California Drought Declared'

This site has a link to the article and some other information via postings. I knew from the lack of rainfall at our locale this was bad, but for some areas they may run out of water not long from now. Willits, a town with a pop. of 5,000 will be out of water in 60 days unless rain returns. Then get a load of the drought map for CA.


Hans, thanks for the link. I had about 3 days worth of good rains up here a week ago...that is all. It is back to sunny and warm again now that the fog has cleared and it does not look like there is very much more snow in the mountains than there was 2 weeks ago. In fact much of the new snow is likely melting with temperatures at 1500 to 2000 meters elevation hovering around +5 to +12 degrees C yet once again.
There were stories on that link of peoples' experiences when droughts end. Hopefully you are high enough above any streams in your area that you will not be flooded out and you have a defendable space around your house from forest fires.

Hans Gunnstaddar

Vaughn, thanks for the update from further north. We are on a hillside a couple hundred feet above a manmade lake with a spillway, so no concerns for flooding. Good drainage from our house since I put in a French drain and flex tubing to direct water away from the house. When we first moved here (before I put in the French drain), I heard frogs in the un-built part of the basement. Water had built up against the top of the foundation, had no where to go but through the basement. Very strange and oddly humorous to see water running under your house!

We moved here in 97 and haven't had a drought since so not sure how much water is available under these circumstances. Will have to ask friends and neighbors. Regardless, it's probably going to be an excuse used by the water dept. to raise rates.

I'm figuring drought to end when El Nino hits, hopefully Feb. or Mar., or maybe not till next season. Still have some time here to get some rain. Any would help at this point. I'm wondering if the wild grasses will even pop up. I mean it's really been that dry.

Glad to hear you've gotten some rain, although not as much as usual. Hopefully you are also located out of potential flood's way once El Nino does hit. Also wondering if it will be a big melt season for the Arctic.


Hans, I am about 275 ft. elevation above the nearest rivers with a major flood threat on top of a little knoll 20 feet elevation above the nearest small creek so no worries there.

I have lived here since the 1950s and have never seen winter weather like this so persistent. There have been a couple of very dry Januaries but the previous months had been in the normal range(+ or - 50%)for rainfall.

Either Ma Nature is sending some serious shots across the bow or she has decided that it is time to start paying up...not sure about that yet but I think we will not have to wait too many more years before she says, " Okay, I'm sending Guido in, time to pay up."

The weather and climate indicators I am reading about certainly sound like we are in transition to a serious El Nino. The weather conditions in my area for the past year are very different from any transition to an El Nino that I have seen previously though.

I am also wondering if it will be a big melt season for the Arctic especially with the low ice levels currently in the Bering Sea and other peripheral areas.


I am beginning to wonder what NOAA product to believe. This one from January 13 has ENSO neutral through the summer:


Susan Anderson

"the entire Pacific may be significantly anomalously warm at once" (Wayne, 14 January)

Now I find that terrifying!

Dan Ellis-Jones

I'm interested to hear everyone talk about an El Nino with such certainty.

The Bureau of Meteorology in Australia, where I get most of my SH weather/climate info from, is very cautious about an El Nino - at least out till about May/June. It's stating that neutral conditions are likely to persist through our Autumn (M/A/M), with only a 50/50 chance of something developing afterwards.

See http://www.bom.gov.au/climate/enso/

If that is the case, then it will be too late for a significant influence on the ASI this year. I'm not sure whether a 2-year neutral phase is normal, and if there is any correlation between the length of neutral conditions and the magnitude of the next phase - whether the neutral conditions 'store up' a rebound effect? Any ideas?

I would like more work done on that persistent warm spot in NE Pacific. Some more solid ideas on why it's there, and what's causing it. The conspiracy lot are pointing to Fukushima (another radioactive water leak discovered today!), but it seems unlikely. The article by an Australian yachtsman who sailed from Australia to Osaka and then on to USA was very telling. I believe that there is a connection there. Read the Guardian's take on it: http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2013/oct/21/yachtsman-describes-horror-at-dead-rubbish-strewn-pacific-ocean

As for a local weather report, it's been quite interesting in Perth! Hottest night ever, and quite a lot of warm temps in a row, and a devastating bush fire. No rain this year as yet - but that's normal, but the mild Christmas period was not normal, nor was the heatwave early in December. We've been close to using those new colours on the heat map in inland areas! (50C+)


I'm looking at today's 250MB wind patterns over the northern half of the western hemisphere using earth.nullschool.net .

It looks like there are *4* separate somewhat parallel streams stacked from the arctic all the way down to the equator. Anyone have any sense of how common or unusual this is? It seems like any coherent flow has dissolved into pure chaos.


Morning, JDallen,

With a mid-tropospheric vortex split in two, centered on Western Labrador and the lower Lena Basin in Siberia, a configuration like this is to be expected (rather chaotic…).

This sort of mirrors the anomaly for all winter up to now:
 photo 8ef7fae9-3a72-4c74-b45c-c6b6774d2a5e_zps0b58b60c.jpg

The most interesting feature all winter is the formidable bulge in the troposphere over the NE Pacific.
It seems to contribute in the development of Planetary Wave-1 events into the lower stratosphere on a regular basis, displacing the stratospheric Polar Vortex and its accompaniyng polar night jet on 70Mb.

This vortex is still strong, but displaced and ECMWF models suggest it will be prone to a Wave-2 intrusion soon which could lead to another split, or even largely broken vortex in February.
That would really get things mixed up.

Even though I think the sort of pattern isn’t that unique in itself, the teleconnective aspects and persistence keep suggesting that this is all part of a general re-arrangement of the tropospheric cells…
It’s an interesting ride, for sure. Even exciting, if there wouldn’t be these bad consequences luring.

As for Dan's post, I would be very surprised if Fukushima had anything to do with this. To me, it's GHG's and their impact is expanding fast. The warm pools in the upper ocean in the NE and S Pacific could be signs of changes in the thermohaline circulation. IMHO the old patterns tell us less and less of what to expect.

Ghoti Of Lod

This pattern seems reminiscent of the 4 lobe Lorenzian attractor that Tim Palmer discussed this year at the AGU fall meetings. I can't seem to find the reference but maybe someone else recalls it.


Interesting, Ghoti, thanks.

What about this link:


Ghoti Of Lod

I finally found the video on demand of Palmer's 15 minute AGU talk. Unfortunately you need to register to get access (I had registered for free at the time of the meetings). The talk was about how stochastic parameterization drastically improves the models so they actually reflect the regimes seen in nature.

More relevant to the high pressure that's been blocking the western US for over a year is the Petouhkov paper on quasiresonant planetary waves. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3619331/


Susan, the Pacific is already mostly above normal:


while 1998 same date was almost a negative of the same picture:


We see what current conditions do to California and Australia, perhaps a resurfacing El-Nino will help? But it will not be the same as 1998 if the rest of the Pacific remains anomalously warm.


@Werther, Ghoti - thanks for the response(s) and the link. I was looking at the 70mb and 10mb flows as well, and was musing over the apparent presence of two foci as you indicate, distributed much as you describe. I demurred from spamming more comments until after I had a chance to see some of the responses.

It's also interesting that over some areas there is a distinct disconnect between the upper level and lower level flows. Certainly not unusual, but in the context of current conditions, interesting, from the standpoint of trying to understand what directs the divergence.

The idea of a Lorenz model for the circulatory turbulence is fascinating, and will take me a while to digest. Sadly, my mathematics skills don't measure up to my analytical ones.

@wayne and Susan - living in Seattle, I watch what's happening in the Pacific with a certain degree of terrified obsession - but still am a long way from understanding how the different circulations and flow of heat is changing our local climate. Reading the Australian Met. note which unlike some other sources is tepid to uncertain regarding an emerging El Nino, I think is illustrative of just how chaotic conditions are in the northern hemisphere. We have fairly clear quantifiable measures of how things have changed, energy-wise. We also seem to be finding that the "rules" are changing, and what long term oscillations and behaviors we have observed are being replaced incompletely by new ones, via forcing changes in system thermodynamics (e.g. persistently "warm" North Pacific and North Atlantic, among many other examples)


Thanks for the link to the article Ghoti,

Quasi-resonant waves (QRW) are an interesting hypothesis. The article points out that Quasi-resonant waves require boundaries that keep them in the troposphere. Could one fulfilling mechanism be a semi-permanent lens of temperature inversion between troposphere and stratosphere? Do SSW's have a role to play in the creation of QRW's? Is the current stuck system over the NPac created in part by boundary QRW's? Is it possible that latent energy from the large SSW of early 2013 could rebound back into the atmosphere creating ripples that might have led to QRW's? Did QRW's have a role in creating a turbulent troposphere resulting in the almost permanently cloudy conditions that led to a cooler than normal 2013 summer in the Arctic?

L. Hamilton

Off topic but possibly of use to some of you:
NOAA just updated their Ocean Heat Content time series, which are now complete through 2013. I drew a couple of graphs showing the full series (quarterly and annual values) from 1955 to 2013. The annual values, in particular, give a different look than NOAA's standard graphs, and tell quite a story.
0-2000 meters:
0-700 meters:

Shared Humanity

jdallen......your post is scary.

When I look at the anomalously warm Pacific, particularly in the far north and combine it with the persistent high pressure in the same area and its influence on the jetstream which has locked in generally warm dry conditions in the Southwest of the U.S. and relatively wet conditions in the Eastern half of the U.S., could we be seeing the development of a persistent lack of El Nino? In effect, the new climate regime that is emerging has a self reinforcing aspect. This persistent La Nina might lock in a permanent drought in the Southwest which would be devastating.

Shared Humanity

I've also read where models are predicting a reduction in the number of tropical storms that make landfall in the U.S. due to, I believe, a general increase in the wind shear that can weaken such storms. Could this trend toward a locked in jetstream which dips down from the Arctic across the midsection of North America and shoots back north along the East coast be a source of this wind shear while also creating a steering pattern which sends tropical depressions north into the Atlantic?


Your graph is eye opening but both links are to the 2,000 Meter graph.


I fixed the link, should work now.


@Sharedhumanity - locked patterns is one of the predictions in AGW. I'm not sure about a persistent La Niña, as that describes the cascading effects of wind and water conditions in the equatorial pacific.

While what is happening resembles patterns we have seen before, I suspect it is something different, emerging from behind the background of climate patterns and cycles identified and studied over the last two centuries, eventually to dominate them.

Shared Humanity

Larry.....One thing that jumps out on each of those charts is the dramatic acceleration of warming of the ocean surface temperatures beginning in 1995 which coincides with the alleged hiatus in atmospheric warming.

Colorado Bob

Arctic warmth unprecedented in 44,000 years, reveals ancient moss

Colorado Bob

" locked patterns is one of the predictions in AGW. I'm not sure about a persistent La Niña, as that describes the cascading effects of wind and water conditions in the equatorial pacific."

Four Feet of Rain Floods Philippines, Displaces More Than 200,000 People

Colorado Bob

TRMM satellite calculates System 91W’s deadly Philippine flooding

“The analysis was done for the period from January 10-17, 2014. Extremely high rainfall totals of over 1,168 mm (about 46 inches) for that week were found near northeastern Mindanao.

“ Read more at: http://phys.org/news/2014-01-trmm-satellite-91w-deadly-philippine.html#jCp

Colorado Bob

Posted by: L. Hamilton

Damn fine work , here's yer "Atta Boy".


Here are a couple more links that make it a lot clearer what is happening.

most recent day SST anomaly

30 day loop

The ocean thermal plots of trends in anomalies ties in so well with the specific location of the major pacific anomaly (in the plots above) - and then how that then ties to the blocking ridge diverting the jet stream.

It's amazing to watch an extratropical low south of Alaska go splat against the invisible barrier in the sky. Those storms would normally spin out of the gulf of Alaska across the Pacific northwest bringing wave after wave of rain to the region. Now, they are smeared and sheered out of existence leaving California deep in drought, and Oregon dry.

It is hard to imagine how this gets anything but progressively more difficult in the years to come.

The U of W plots of the 250 mb flows show the east coast getting whacked hard again now, then a bitterly cold lull followed by likely getting whacked hard again about the 26-28th.

The Rutgers plots show the past in better detail in the enhanced water vapor plots, and clearly show the extratropical low getting smashed


Susan Anderson

Thanks once again for all recent comments, discussion and links. I want everyone I know to absorb all this stuff. How dangerous it all is.

(side note: just traveled from Princeton to Boston on shoulders of one of those storms in northeast US, and we are being pounded week after week - on into March? The connection to greenhouse chaos is obvious to me, but unfortunately not to far too many ...)


Just a note from Cincinnati, OH (near center of the eastern half of U.S.) Yesterday when the latest arctic air mass moved in. the 30 MPH winds wrapped around the house backwards. Winds always come from the south-west. This came and blew for hours from the north-east. All the snow drifts were backwards their normal patterns.

Jai Mitchell


The Rutgers plots show the past in better detail in the enhanced water vapor plots, and clearly show the extratropical low getting smashed

not only does it show it getting smashed, it shows the bits of it being forced northward and then backward toward the east Siberian sea. This blocking pattern worked all last year to push water vapor up into the arctic, I believe this was a significant contributor to the reduced melt this year.

This seems to be an working effectively to keep temperatures below normal and maintaining ice cover during the summer melt.


@Jai - It seems to me that same mechanism would work well now to keep temperatures high over the pack, and retard ice thickening/hardening - increased snowfall over the pack, less heat loss due to higher temps and more H2O in the atmosphere. Not sure increased moisture and clouds will help the ice this year.


I'm an amateur, but the graphs and animations seem pretty straight forward. And yet we have a newspaper article (here) that reports: "California's drought will be one of the extreme weather events that the American Meteorological Society will examine later this year to determine whether the cause is natural variability or human-caused climate change..."

Since the same group found that the 2012 Midwest drought was mainly due to natural variation, I was wondering if anyone knows what metric they are using to claim an event is mainly due to climate change?

Colorado Bob

Tipping El Ninos harder as Pacific sensor array output 'collapses'

Floating sensors that have predicted extreme weather events for decades and saved lives in the process have been left to "collapse" amid vandalism and US budget cuts.

The United States and Japan set up the Tropical Pacific Observing System - made up of about 70 buoys - after a large El Nino event in 1982-83 caught forecasters unaware. Fourteen years later, the moored devices helped provide warnings of the “super” 1997-98 El Nino almost a year before it hit, probably saving lives and preventing billions of dollars in damage.

But the performance of the moored devices, which take atmospheric readings and monitor conditions down to 500 metres below the sea's surface, has fallen to about 40 per cent since 2012, according to the the climate observation director of the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, David Legler.

Read more: Link

Ghoti Of Lod

I'd think that the data from 3611 active Argo floats probably is sufficient to compensate for the loss of some moored sensors.


Hans Gunnstaddar


Wow, lack of CA rainfall has even made news online at desdemonadespair. Late next week however are promising signs of rainfall returning. How much we'll have to wait and see.


Hans, the weather models used by the US National Weather Service have been highly unreliable after about 5 days out. I think they usually use the GFS....but don't quote me on that. It does look like some very light rain coming in and possibly a little snow if the high pressure retrogrades west far enough. Mountain temperatures have continued to be very warm and snow depths are minimal as most of the mountain snow from 2 weeks ago has melted. I am not going to get too excited until I see it.

John Christensen

With the many comments related to loss of Arctic sea ice causing "winter weirdness", it is interesting to recall a couple of comments above from Colorado Bob (posted Jan. 9, 2014):

As wunderground's weather historian Christopher C. Burt summed it up for me, "The only significant thing about the cold wave is how long it has been since a cold wave of this force has hit for some portions of the country--18 years, to be specific. Prior to 1996, cold waves of this intensity occurred pretty much every 5-10 years. In the 19th century, they occurred every year or two (since 1835).

And what is the cause for lowered frequency of cold spells from the same blog entry:

As Andrew Freedman of Climate Central wrote in a blog post yesterday, "While the cold temperatures have been unusual and even deadly, climate data shows that intense cold such as this event is now occurring far less frequently in the continental U.S. than it used to. This is largely related to winter warming trends due to man-made global warming and natural climate variability."

So unless the information and data from Wunderground and Climate Central is disputed, it must be a fact that intense cold spells happened more frequently in earlier, colder decades, and now happen less frequently.

Without natural laws changing significantly, these prior and more frequent US cold spells, would require blocking highs to the west and/or a split vortex, or strong negative NAO patterns during winter time, so I would be inclined to disagree with the general notion that GW is causing any increase in these disturbances.

One hypothesis for this could be that while we should get less atmospheric stability, the Arctic oscillation is also weakening due to the warming, so that it might require a greater disturbance to cause enough cold to hit US states compared to earlier times, where possibly a minor disturbance could cause a high-speed oscillation to send massive cold away from the Arctic more rapidly.

Could be just wild guessing on my part, but there seems to be contradiction in the arguments above, and scientifically there should be a reconciliation somewhere..

Colorado Bob

John Christensen -
Or another way to see it, heat is invading the north. Pushing aside the cold , which is becoming less cold as the decades pass.

One of the best things about WU is the Wunder Map.
Much discussion of the warmth in Alaska, and the cold in the Deep South .
There is a station a the top of Svalbard, Norway called Grahuken , it's 80.06 N lat. 26 feet above sea level.

The current temp. is 34F degrees. In the dark in January. Less than 10 degrees from the North Pole.

Here's the link :


Colorado Bob

This story is posted on Alaska Dispatch as part of Eye on the Arctic, a collaborative partnership between public and private circumpolar media organizations.

Unusual weather disrupts timber industry in Sweden, bears' sleep in Finland


Colorado Bob

A few years ago I helped raise over $80,000 dollars for the people in Haiti . The way we did it was through a charity called Shelter Box from Cornwall , England.
It’s a large plastic tote with a 10 man tent , and enough resources inside to not die on day 8 of the disaster you are living through. I highly recommend it.

The results of our efforts -


It’s all about the box
We ask ourselves at ShelterBox: What would a family need to survive if they lost everything? We then fill abox with the most essential items. The contents have changed over the past decade as we have evolved and the result is the ShelterBox solution we see today.



John, I do not remember many blocking highs along the west coast of North America in the 1960s to 1990. Yes there were some but they did not usually last all that long. There were more in February and fewer in November and December. I think more importantly I do not remember them building in before frigid weather moved into the eastern half of the country. Instead weaker ridges built in as a result of the cold air moving south then were gone in a few days. This year the high pressure has been here nearly all winter and has stopped the westerlies from interfering with the cold. My point is that then the Arctic cold air driving south was the driver of the ridges building. Now the driver of the ridges building is something else...likely the heat buildup in the eastern Pacific.


You're quite right about temperatures at Svalbard at the moment Colorado, they are extreme. The Norwegian Meteorological Institute publishes a 30 day running average from Longyearbyen Airport as well as several other locations on the islands, 30 day average temps at the station mentioned are currently 9,5C above the 1964-90 average!
That is truly extreme, even considering that this is regarded as the fastest warming place on Earth.

r w Langford

The difference between a weather event being caused by climate change and a weather event being affected by climate change may be in the percentage of change in the event. These days, all weather is affected by climate change so where do Meteorologists set the bar for weather to be caused by climate change? Any experts out there?

Espen Olsen

One of the reasons for the weirdness around Svalbard is probably caused by the lack of sea ice around the islands.

Hans Gunnstaddar

"I am not going to get too excited until I see it."

Muted excitement but hopeful, Vaughn. Here's a link to our forecast: http://www.wunderground.com/q/zmw:95467.1.99999

Chance of rainfall: Wed. 29th: 20%, Th. 30%, F. 60%, S. 10%, Sun. 20% & Mon. 10%.

I'm figuring there will be some precip. during those days.


"I'm figuring there will be some precip. during those days."

I agree it is looking a little more hopeful. It also appears the "persistent high" will be retrograding or rebuilding in farther to the west after some of the rain this week if the forecast for this area next week does indeed hold up .

Forecast for my area:


NOAA also thinks it will be cooler for the next couple weeks which has been a persistent trend for the past several days...but please note that forecasts for this area after five days out have been highly unreliable this winter.


Hans Gunnstaddar

Yes, forecasts this year have fizzled. Well, it's February and March or bust for some CA towns. My wife checked with our water board and we have plenty of water. How I don't know, but we do.

From that forecast it looks like your area is bound to get some rain. I wish our percentages were closer to those.


There's a link to a knock on effect from the drought with Coho Salmon waiting in the ocean for fresh water to run down creeks and rivers to start their trek up stream.

Hans Gunnstaddar

North of Portland, OR, into Washington, between the Columbia River and Hwy 5. Surely with that river near you there will never be a worry about water, right? Anyway, looks like a great location.


Hans, that article about the coho salmon is utterly depressing. That looks really bad...hopefully you will get some good rains in the next month.
Portland, OR uses stream water but not from the Columbia. I am on well water. There is some irrigation water pumped from the Lewis River but I do not know if any towns use river water. I believe most of Clark County water comes from wells.

Christoffer Ladstein

The 30 day anomaly for Longyearbyen, Svalbard is now at +10.1 C. That is truly mindgobbling! Also at the smaller island, Hopen (situated south-east of Svalbard), the anomaly is lingering Close to + 10 C above normal, while the status at Jan Mayen, situated between Island and Svalbard is having "only" +7 C above normal.

I notice that seaice the last month have crept closer upon Svalbard, but like last Winter, Sea Ice most likely won't encircle this Archipelago of Islands this Winter either. On the other hand, a long Cold spring is still able to stir Things up!

Here are some links:




Good to hear from you, Christoffer!
Interesting winter out there, but let's not forget last January also showed remarkable warm anomalies around Svalbard and over the Central Arctic Basin.
The NCEP/NCAR graphs still show 'winterpower' to be stronger than last year (1 Oct-24 Jan). So there's not much indicating a bad start for the next melt season.
BTW the origin of the present 'warming' seems different. Last January the SSW played a big role. This time the intrusions of troughs/ridges in the lower-middle troposphere.

Christoffer Ladstein

Thanks Werther!
Don't be afraid, I'm a frequent "wallflower" in here, lurking in the background, but I find my analyzing and verbal capacities of the topics discussed to be of too poor value, to bother posting...

On the other hand,I also remember last January, but this year really goes outside all Charts; must create havoc for the permafrost up there also I Guess!?
Svalbard is also a typical dry spot, having less than 200 mm a year, and this haven't differed upwards at the same degree as With the temperature. Currently they have only 6 cm (2 inches!) snowcover, pretty neglible if you ask me!

John Christensen

@Christoffer, thansk for lurking and good questions!

As Werther, I would agree that there is enough cold to go around in the Arctic for now.

What seems sligthly different to me this year, is that we do not have one strong Arctic high, or even a bipole situation, but actually three more or less well-defined centers. The strongest of these is in Eastern Siberia with current temps at -60C at the center, which is just very cold. I speculate this center of cold helps pull Pacific moisture north and maintain/reinforce the warmer than normal north-east Pacific hot spot.
Right now, the Siberian high is pushing cold so far west so that Poland/parts of Germany and southern Scandinavia have -5 - -12C even with NAO in positive phase.

The second center is on the North America side, again assisted by the NE Pacific hot spot and related blocking high. This center continues to cause significant cold spells over large areas of eastern and central US/Canada.

And then thirdly - squeezed between the other two, we have a fairly consistent Arctic high, which has been almost uncommon in later years. The typical Arctic high is the Beaufort High placed around Beaufort/CAA, but probably due to those other highs, the Arctic high is moved towards Laptev/Kara and now even to Barents (http://ocean.dmi.dk/arctic/weather/arcticweather.uk.php), which we have not seen in winter time for a while.
All of this to say that a Beaufort/normal Arctic high would cause northernly winds flowing towards Svalbard, while the position of the current high causes warm air to be pulled from Barents and the North Atlantic across Svalbard, keeping temps up.

The inner Arctic seas still seem to fare somewhat better than last year, but will be interesting to see next PIOMAS update - and if a regional view was available for that..


Thank you for the Jan Mayen stats Christoffer, note that the temperature there has not been below normal since early December and that the current average is closer to the June normal than any other month. This is a costal climate, but still, insane.

The jet stream is really struggling these days, bombarding Arctic with warmth from two sides, while, as mentioned above, leaving Russia and some neighbouring areas in deep freeze. Also interesting to note that China is about to get blowtorched really hard.

Kevin McKinney

Also, in contrast to last summer, the DMI 'north of 80' reconstruction shows a warmer than normal central Arctic:


That's true pretty much back to day 300 of last year. Should have been slowing the thickening of ice there somewhat.


@Kevin - I'm not sure of that conclusion *yet*... Temperatures last year were over all above average save for a downturn in mid February, but I will agree so far the 80N+ anomalies are pretty astonishing. If we miss a down spike in February, I'd then be in full agreement with you.

I've been browsing through articles examining the effect of temperature on the integrity and transformation of sea ice. Paradoxically, periodic warming might lead to faster transformation of FYI to stronger less saline MYI, even without significant thickening. It will be interesting to see how things play out.


Hi all,

Good article on 2013 temps on RC by Stefan Rahmstorf.
Includes this graph showing the HadCrut4-data with an adjusted range. That is done through the work of Cowtan&Way et al. They worked out a methodology to include the parts of the globe that have no official weather stations.

 photo InterpolatedallglobalHadCrut4tempsmall_zps59d7e7d8.jpg

The method puts mean global 2013 temp above 1998. That surely gives another perspective on all talk of ‘stop-pause-hiatus’.


I decided that we needed a comparison of the temp anomalies for a couple of dates (January 27 and January 25),from prior years to give some perspective.

See: http://a4rglobalmethanetracking.blogspot.com/

John Christensen

Just noticed on DMI 60degree N temperature that a small part of Laptev now has air temp (at 2meter) at -50C due to the robust Siberian high further south:


What is positive is that the ice in this area is only about 1 meter thick, so will be able to cause ice volume gain more significantly than a similar cold spell near the CAA would be able to.

r w Langford

Good comparisons of arctic temperature anomalies for this week and other years. http://cci-reanalyzer.org/CR_blog/CR_blog.php We have a 7degC anomaly happening.

r w Langford

Year round arctic sea ice much earlier than thought discovered by magnetite in sediment.

Hans Gunnstaddar

Hey, what do you know Vaughn, trace amounts of rain. A smattering, shimmering mist. I wouldn't even call it rain - more like an occasional descending fog. Just enough to moisten the leaves. But, maybe it can lead to rain and save some of the Coho.


But, maybe it can lead to rain and save some of the Coho.
I fervently hope so, Hans....



Thanks for the updated global temp graphic.


Thanks for the CCI Re-analyzer link - what a great resource from the U of Maine.


Hans Gunnstaddar

I fervently hope so, Hans....

Thanks jdallen-wa. So far we've had one light storm in Nov. and one decent storm in Dec., followed by a couple hours light rainfall the other night. That's it. Still have Feb. & March to go.


@Hans - it appears that in spite of the blocking high shifting, the desperately needed moisture doesn't seem to be coming ashore... yet.

I share your hopes that February and March will at least partially make up the shortfall. The alternative, bluntly, is hideous to contemplate.

Hans Gunnstaddar


jd, too hideous to contemplate. I agree, and it was looking pretty dismal, however rain has broken through this past evening and today. Also, 10 day forecast on link above shows more rain on the way. As long as the high doesn't build back in like it was before, hopefully an uplifting article about the Coho Salmon can be posted in a few weeks.

Tor Bejnar

Yes, looking hopeful for northern California next weekend!


More weird extremes on the way this week.

According to the GFS models, we should expect a major Siberian Express across the CAB and into North America, triggering precipitation in Northern CA, and also a major storm on the US east coast next weekend.

The link is: http://a4rglobalmethanetracking.blogspot.com/


Hans, yesss!! a couple days of good rains up here and cold enough to snow in the mountains maybe a foot or two vs the 10 feet one would expect this time of year. The forecast is dry once again for this week and cold too. Maybe rain next week(Where have I heard that before?).
I just read the snowpack in the Sierra Nevada Mts. in California is at 12% for this time of year. It needs to be greater than that or Ma Nature will be sending in Guido to do more than just break a few knee caps later this spring and summer.



Arctic amplification dominated by temperature feedbacks in contemporary climate models

Climate change is amplified in the Arctic region. Arctic amplification has been found in past warm1 and glacial2 periods, as well as in historical observations3, 4 and climate model experiments5, 6. Feedback effects associated with temperature, water vapour and clouds have been suggested to contribute to amplified warming in the Arctic, but the surface albedo feedback—the increase in surface absorption of solar radiation when snow and ice retreat—is often cited as the main contributor7, 8, 9, 10. However, Arctic amplification is also found in models without changes in snow and ice cover11, 12. Here we analyse climate model simulations from the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project Phase 5 archive to quantify the contributions of the various feedbacks. We find that in the simulations, the largest contribution to Arctic amplification comes from a temperature feedbacks: as the surface warms, more energy is radiated back to space in low latitudes, compared with the Arctic. This effect can be attributed to both the different vertical structure of the warming in high and low latitudes, and a smaller increase in emitted blackbody radiation per unit warming at colder temperatures. We find that the surface albedo feedback is the second main contributor to Arctic amplification and that other contributions are substantially smaller or even opposeArctic amplification.



Decline of Arctic sea ice: Evaluation and weighting of CMIP5 projections

Trends of Arctic September sea ice area (SSIA) are investigated through analysis of Coupled Model Intercomparison Project phase 5 (CMIP5) data. The large range across models is reduced by weighting them according to how they match nine observed parameters. Calibration of this refined SSIA projection to observations of different 5 year averages suggests that nearly ice-free conditions, where ice area is less than 1 × 106 km2, will likely occur between 2039 and 2045, not accounting for internal variability. When adding internal variability, we demonstrate that ice-free conditions could occur as early as 2032. The 2013 rebound in ice extent has little effect on these projections. We also identify that our refined projection displays a change in the variability of SSIA, indicating a possible change in regime.


Hans Gunnstaddar

Vaughn & jd, here's the latest article on CA drought. One paragraph below says we are on track for the worst drought in CA in 500 years! Let's hope it doesn't get that bad but to read some of the excerpts below, it's getting very dire.


Severe Drought Has U.S. West Fearing Worst

LOS ANGELES — The punishing drought that has swept California is now threatening the state’s drinking water supply.

With no sign of rain, 17 rural communities providing water to 40,000 people are in danger of running out within 60 to 120 days.

“We are on track for having the worst drought in 500 years,” said B. Lynn Ingram, a professor of earth and planetary sciences at the University of California, Berkeley.

Mr. Vilsack called the drought in California a “deep concern,” and a warning sign of trouble ahead for much of the West.
“That’s why it’s important for us to take climate change seriously,” he said. “If we don’t do the research, if we don’t have the financial assistance, if we don’t have the conservation resources, there’s very little we can do to help these farmers.”

With each parched sunrise, a sense of alarm is rising amid signs that this is a drought that comes along only every few centuries. Sacramento had gone 52 days without water, and Albuquerque had gone 42 days without rain or snow as of Saturday.

people emerging from a movie theater in West Hollywood on Thursday evening broke into applause upon seeing rain splattering on the sidewalk — but it was nowhere near enough to make up for record-long dry stretches, officials said

Jai Mitchell


The seeding with a small (large) amount of AgI increases (decreases) the WVC in the LS, due to enhanced (reduced) production and vertical transport of cloud ice from the troposphere and subsequent sublimation in the stratosphere. The results show that stratospheric water vapor can be artificially altered by deliberate cloud seeding with proper amount of seeding agent.


Well, in the upper atmosphere we now seem to have not one, but two North Poles, around which the circumpolar vortexes (count 'em, two) circumpolarificate...


Higher still...


"Still two, both enormous."



Impressive modeling and the GFS models of Siberian air mass movement into the CAA reflect these steering currents.

John Christensen

Please note the strong high-pressure in the Western part of the Arctic today:


I do not recall having seen a HP this strong in recent years, but have maybe not paid enough attention?


John, you haven't paid enough attention. ;-)

See March last year (from this blog post).


Hi John,
As a MOF there were:

 photo SLP1000Mbmean15to25012013small_zps2fd30cee.jpg

The long lasting high triggered the cracking event in the Beaufort Sea. It was related to the strong SSW early Jan.
While the last year event was mostly a planetary wave-1 event with almost complete annihilation of the Polar Vortex, this time the high looks like a side-effect of persistent wave-2 ridge intrusion, deforming but not destroying the Polar Vortex.

Based on the differences, I suggest there will not be a cold flash around the Arctic following the collapse of the high and restauration of the Vortex. The most poignant thing going on now is the funneling of low level cold from Siberia into the CAA. Temporarily depressing 80dN temps on DMI.

And yes, Neven,
The one you plugged was a looker too. That one coincided with a rare March SSW event.
It does indicate the difference between persistent patterns then and now...


What I have noticed more then anything in the last couple of years is the wild gyrations of the jet stream. There have been years where Florida lost its crops due to freezing, but you never saw things like what you see now. Like Texas having -40 degree windchill at the same time as Calgary, Alberta have temps near or above 0C. Also most snowfall would come in the J-F-M months.
In my younger years weather forecasters would talk about the Alberta clippers and the Arctic lows (blaming Canada even though we all knew it really was a weather system coming from Siberia that picked up the cold from the North Pole.
Now It seems all depended upon blocking systems how close they are to each other and how they send the jet stream. See the weather systems going on this winter and Hurricane Sandy heading west instead of east like it should have.


LRC you are correct. In the 1960s and 70s the Arctic was robust. There was lots of cold air that spilled out and more where that came from during winter. It didn't matter if there was a blocking ridge or not...Arctic fronts muscled their way in and shoved whatever air was in a place they were headed out of the way. The Arctic was more in charge.
Not really so anymore; the colder air is shoved around by the blocking ridges now...what little there is of it. The heat in the oceans now seems to be in charge.
Hans, I hope you are getting some good rains your way. I have a foot of snow on the ground here and it looks like rain has been heading into your area.


There is an update on the Feb 8 2014 UK storm on the blog, noting winds, jet stream, sea swell, and temps.

See: http://a4rglobalmethanetracking.blogspot.com/

Hans Gunnstaddar

"Hans, I hope you are getting some good rains your way."

Yes, thanks, the clouds have broken and Nature's hit-man Guido has been called back at least for now, for both of us. Who knows maybe this is a sign El Nino has kicked in. Been some very consistent rain which is better than sudden downpours. Not much runoff yet as the ground is soaking it up thank goodness. Will just have to see how much the San Joaquin Valley gets where most of the crops are grown south of us.

We lost internet for two days as wireless modem went down. Thought it was the weather until I did some checking. Found out AT&T power cords that supply their modems are notorious for failing (maybe a little built in obsolescence?). AT&T told me to get a new modem, but Radio Shack set me straight and now we're back in business. I just add this because hate to see other people falling for this con.


The UK MET has issued comments and a report on the UK weather extremes. It includes a clear link between the jet streams, Rossby waves and the unusual Polar vortex.

See: http://a4rglobalmethanetracking.blogspot.com/


Hans, I am seeing rain in radar from your area; that must really be some relief. Up here I am above freezing for the first time in 5 days(37F). What is troublesome is the Climate Prediction Center shows hot and dry for southern California and the Desert Southwest for the next two weeks and colder weather returning to my area.


If this holds true and that is a big if because of the high unreliability of the GFS this winter for my area then your area may get more rain. The NAEFS does not agree with this very well either so I am not very confident about either of these forecasts at this time.



CPC stratospheric data now hint at the beginning of a strong SSW event, originating from Eastern Asia. Recent 500Mb Geo suggest this event is coinciding with the strong ridging into the Arctic over the far eastern Kolyma region of Siberia.

This could all reflect a strong pattern change. California is finally getting rain. And during the last 36 hours ECMWF has remodelled its predictions for the NE Atlantic too.

From now on, the final stage of ’23-’14 NH winter is getting very interesting. Will a strong SSW finally blow the stratospheric polar vortex? Will this interfere with the troposphere and reverse the jet-flow on 500Mb? It might produce a final cold snap in Eurasia.

And on the teleconnections; now that the PDO is changing, will we soon see the first initiation of an El Nino-season?

Craig Merry

It has been a somewhat nice sigh of relief to have had the amount of rain falling in northern CA. It'd take another two months of 5 day periods like these past few days to not call it a drought. The big deal should be more about that high pressure ridge that had parked itself in the North Pacific for many months. Hopefully that ridge stays always and more rain falls here. Upcoming forecasts have a couple systems skimming Northern California. Good sign.


A4R, thanks for that MET report. One thing I'm confused about:

They said that both the jet stream and the polar vortex had strengthened considerably. But I had thought that both were supposed to slow down (and that that slowing was the cause of the big meanders in the Rossby Waves) as the temperature difference between tropics and poles reduced.

What is it that I am missing here?


Thanks A4R for that briefing by the UK Met Service.

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