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John Christensen

Thank you for another great analysis Neven - and a fabulous collage by Wipneus!
The weather has certainly become somewhat more conducive to ice build-up with the low moving to the southern Kara pulling much colder air out of Siberia and creating northerly winds across parts of Barents. And it is cold in Beaufort.
Interesting to see the continuation..


Thanks, John. I'm going to try and do an analysis soon, like I did last summer, although there is less info and it's more difficult to see what goes on with the ice exactly.

Colorado Bob

Over 160 mph wind speeds in Iceland yesterday.

Strong winds and High Waves hit Arctic Ocean

Strong winds and high waves are hitting the Arctic Ocean from both the Atkantic Ocean and the Pacific Ocean.

Above image shows waves as high as 12.36 m or 40.5 ft near Greenland on December 8, 2015.

The image on the right shows cyclonic winds with speeds as high as 142 km/h or 88 mph near Greenland on December 8, 2015.

The situation looks set to get even worse. The image further down on the right shows that waves as high as 14.04 m or 46.1 ft are forecast to hit the Bering Strait on December 13, 2015.

The video below, created with Climate Reanalyzer images, shows strong winds over the period from December 5 to 15, 2015. The video illustrates how cyclonic winds are hitting the Arctic Ocean both from the Atlantic Ocean and the Pacific Ocean.



What can I say? It's winter, and winters tend to be stormy in the Arctic.

Colorado Bob

The wind speeds om Iceland destroyed over a dozen recording sites. This ain't your mother's Arctic storm.

Colorado Bob

“We Have never seen this before”.


Colorado Bob wrote:

This ain't your mother's Arctic storm...

AFAIK my mother even wasn't in possession of a tiny little rain shower, let alone an Arctic cyclon.

And Colorado Bob wrote too:

We Have never seen this before

Even stronger, I won't see even this one as I'm comfortably at home 6000 km away from the events.

Bottom line, there should be given a reason why this event will be of extreme importance. And, to bad, the Arctic News article doesn't give any - we better don't give alarmist and deniers stuff to feed on.

Maybe there will some additional strain on the Arctic coasts of Alaska, but only there where ice fields hasn't been stabilized yet. Not so on the Barentz Sea side however.


OK, I'll look into it, Bob. I'm sorry, I tend to be wary when I read something from the website you linked to.

Remko Kampen

“We Have never seen this before”.
Except they have, 1991 known als the 'Greenhouse Storm' and this was a total freak event. Pdf (from a Tellus article) -

Robert S

I'm finding that PIOMAS data on ice thicknesses north of the CAA a bit odd, in light of the melt season that we had in that area. It may be correct - there may have been substantial inward drift/compression - but I'm wondering if the model is drifting off track slightly. It'll be good to get some real data to see.


Robert, considering the differing opinions across most of the models, sometimes I think the best we can say is, that there is ice, and it's moderately thick, and that's about it.

When we get buoy data, that gives us regional clues, and, when there is open water so the sensors can see freeboard, that gives us a better sense of things.

So, right now, we can say that there is ice, and it is getting thicker. Just how much, well, I think we'll learn a bit in 3 1/2 months or so.

John Christensen

Agreed with jdallen that we will see, as it starts melting again.

In the meantime the CAA is fairly cold with the first slight nuance of purple being present on the DMI 60N temp chart, meaning that temperatures at 2 meters is approaching -40C.

Seems like typical for AO+ with concentrated polar vortex and cold at center.


A new paper forecasts that winter arctic sea ice extent will remain steady over the next several years.


Coupled climate models initialized from historical climate states and subject to anthropogenic forcings can produce skillful decadal predictions of sea surface temperature change in the subpolar North Atlantic. The skill derives largely from initialization, which improves the representation of slow changes in ocean circulation and associated poleward heat transport. We show that skillful predictions of decadal trends in Arctic winter sea ice extent are also possible, particularly in the Atlantic sector. External radiative forcing contributes to the skill of retrospective decadal sea ice predictions, but the spatial and temporal accuracy is greatly enhanced by the more realistic representation of ocean heat transport anomalies afforded by initialization. Recent forecasts indicate that a spin-down of the thermohaline circulation that began near the turn of the century will continue, and this will result in near neutral decadal trends in Atlantic winter sea ice extent in coming years, with decadal growth in select regions.



John Christensen - "Seems like typical for AO+ with concentrated polar vortex and cold at center. "

I've been watching Fram Export; per US Navy HYCOM, it's been seriously invigorated, and has been steadily shunting MYI out of the basin. That wasn't happening particularly during the last two winters.

I expect this will not be helpful come spring.


First of all, congrats on all , especially Greek Austrian journalist Neven on COP21 agreement. It is very refreshing to witness all countries of the world together as one deciding to do something.
There is much more optimism on Earth than the over published negativity from most medias. It took thousands of human-years effort to kill the bullshit ignorance spewed by money driven pollution-pays industrial complex, To all those who fought with pen and mind, I salute you!

Now, AO+ is meaningless by its geographical size. What matters for the Arctic is far more intimate,
and requires a great deal of observations. Since sea ice maxima
there was an onslaught of heat and moisture, which introduced a great deal of snow to the Arctic.

Snowfall increases dramatically sea ice extent, imagine drifting snow from the pack hitting open sea water, the snow landing on -2 C water is extremely colder, -30 C snow grains hits the much warmer sea. It does not melt on impact, it floats or stays slightly submerged, this completely changes the thermal physics of the open sea surface. Water waves are muted. Underwater convection breaks. Ice forms quickly.

Utterly different holistic weather scenario than last year at the same time period is occurring. Last year had a dry December.
This lack of snow affected the weather systems for the entire Northern Hemisphere. There was steady mega cyclone Heat machine complex. On left side cold, on the right warm. This is
not the case now. Everything is in flux, driven by a much warmer beginning of winter, there has been huge heat influxes reducing the extent of winter in a mere few days in total darkness. The
lower surface to air interface is astoundingly adiabatic, the extra snow layer denies inversions from taking shape , the very essence of winter. Last year the ground was largely bare, and this was responsible for the colder start of winter especially over North America.

Will have more on this in a bit.

Mean time cheers to ye who fought for Earth, our only lovely home.


yes AO is + now all while NE North America is having all time record warm temperatures shattered. Currently the Arctic has an important Anticyclone over the Gyre of the Arctic Ocean not really text book conforming......


AO+ should mean a Low pressure over the Arctic Ocean:


A negative phase should have a High near the Pole.

It covers too huge a Northern Hemisphere area to simplify matters in finer details. There may be some factual correlations, but not so significant locally, until they reduce the Arctic Oscillation to the Arctic.

John Christensen


Agreed; as the central high has moved close to the Pole and connects with the high in Greenland, it kicks the clockwise gyre into gear. Combined with the low placed centrally in Barents winds are very favorable to the transpolar drift enhancing transport via Fram, unfortunately.

John Christensen

Hi wayne,

We keep going back and forth on the AO, so should really get this settled.

The AO is about sea level pressure and the jet stream.

By measuring sea level pressure at different locations north of 20N scientists discovered the jet stream, and secondly that the jet stream would behave differently, depending on the average sea level pressure north of the jet stream compared to south of the jet stream.

The AO index is currently positive, which means:
- Average sea level pressure north of the jet stream is lower than south of the jet stream (but still north of 20N).
- The jet stream moves further north and is stronger.

So what causes the AO to turn positive, which really is the answer to the question of what provides the energy to the jet stream?

It seems that when large amounts of relative warm moisture moves north, then it will clash with the dry, cold air in the north, and bingo; it swirls. Then it should be also be reasonable to suggest that AO+ is when more than average warm moisture manages to get far enough north to clash with the cold air.

So the Arctic region is currently bombarded with moisture/energy, which enhances the jet stream and moves it further north, causing increased precipitation along the jet stream, exactly as we have seen in the northwest US, Iceland and western Norway.

So what about the AO and the Arctic sea ice?

When you look at the AO index average for winter months (http://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/products/precip/CWlink/daily_ao_index/JFM_season_ao_index.shtml), you see a huge shift from AO- to AO+ in the late 1980s.
Since about 2003 the AO+ has been less pronounced and is currently somewhat undecided.

AO+ good or bad for Arctic sea ice?

I would venture to say it is bad for sea ice having more moisture and stronger lows in its vicinity, as we saw recently when the low in Kara (which persists still in Barents) sent loads of moisture across the Arctic. Although AO+ will increase precipitation in the northern most regions, it also seems to move the snow cover line to the north, which has an impact on albedo and therefore limits the heat sink effect overall in the northern hemisphere during winter time.

However, since the AO+ apparently peaked in the period of 1987-95, it seems like it is driven by something else than the warming climate, and as I have stated previously I would argue that if the AO becomes primarily negative in winter months again for a number of years, when it will increase the NH heat sink effect and will lessen Arctic sea ice reduction somewhat.

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