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Posts Tagged ‘Arctic Oscillation’

Feeling Cold?

Posted by feww on February 8, 2011

AO Blowing Arctic Ice at YOU

Arctic Sea:  Lowest extent ever recorded for January

Arctic oscillation persisted in a strong negative phase for most of January, keeping the Arctic ice extent low, NSIDC said.

Arctic sea ice keeps the polar regions cool and moderates global climate by reflecting sunlight back into space. “Arctic sea ice has declined dramatically over at least the past thirty years, with the most extreme decline occurring  in the summer melt season.”


Sea Ice Extent for January 2011 declined to 13.55 million square kilometers (5.23 million square miles). The magenta line shows the 1979 to 2000 median extent for the month. The black cross marks the geographic North Pole.

Highlight of NSIDC Report

  • January air temperatures over Arctic rose by 2 to 6 degrees Celsius (4 to 11 degrees Fahrenheit) above normal.
  • Over the eastern Canadian Arctic Archipelago, Baffin Bay/Davis Strait and Labrador Sea, temperatures rose by at least 6 degrees Celsius (11 degrees Fahrenheit) above average.
  • “As in December 2010, the warm temperatures in January came from two sources: unfrozen areas of the ocean continued to release heat to the atmosphere, and the wind patterns accompanying the negative phase of the Arctic oscillation brought warm air into the Arctic.
  • “Near the end of January the negative Arctic oscillation pattern broke down and turned positive, which usually favors ice growth. It is unclear how long it will remain in a positive mode.”
  • January 2011 saw the lowest ice extent for the month since satellite records began 31 years ago. The linear rate of decline for the month is –3.3% per decade.
  • Arctic ice extent increased at an average of 42,800 square kilometers (16,500 square miles) per day in January, which is about average.


Source: The National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC). Click images to enlarge.


Orange line in the top image and gray line in time series (above) indicate 1979 to 2000 average ice extent for the day shown.
Credit: NSIDC. Click image to enlarge.


Monthly January ice extent for 1979 to 2011 indicated a decline of 3.3% per decade.
Source: NSIDC. Click image to enlarge.

Negative AO in December 2010 and January 2011,Keeping NH Ice Cold


The average Arctic sea ice concentration for January 2011, processed by AMSR-E aboard NASA’s Aqua satellite. The red line shows the average sea ice extent recorded for the month of January from 1979 to 2000. Source: NASA-EO

Overview of conditions

Arctic sea ice extent averaged over January 2011 was 13.55 million square kilometers (5.23 million square miles). This was the lowest January ice extent recorded since satellite records began in 1979. It was 50,000 square kilometers (19,300 square miles) below the record low of 13.60 million square kilometers (5.25 million square miles), set in 2006, and 1.27 million square kilometers (490,000 square miles) below the 1979 to 2000 average.

Ice extent in January 2011 remained unusually low in Hudson Bay, Hudson Strait (between southern Baffin Island and Labrador), and Davis Strait (between Baffin Island and Greenland). Normally, these areas freeze over by late November, but this year Hudson Bay did not completely freeze over until mid-January. The Labrador Sea remains largely ice-free. Source (NSIDC)

Any links with mid-latitude weather?


High and low atmospheric pressure patterns for January 2011 (left) and the January 1968-1996 average (right). Yellows and reds show higher pressures; blues and purples indicate lower pressures, as indicated by the height of the 850 millibar pressure level above the surface, called the pressure surface. Normally, the pressure surface is nearer to the surface around the pole, winds follow the pressure contours around the pole (the polar vortex), and cold air is trapped in the Arctic. This year, the pressure surface is allowing cold air to spill out of the Arctic into the mid-latitudes. Source: NSIDC courtesy NOAA/ESRL PSD

AO in Strong Negative Phase

Warm conditions in the Arctic and cold conditions in northern Europe and the U.S. are linked to the strong negative mode of the Arctic oscillation. Cold air is denser than warmer air, so it sits closer to the surface. Around the North Pole, this dense cold air causes a circular wind pattern called the polar vortex , which helps keep cold air trapped near the poles. When sea ice has not formed during autumn and winter, heat from the ocean escapes and warms the atmosphere. This may weaken the polar vortex and allow air to spill out of the Arctic and into mid-latitude regions in some years, bringing potentially cold winter weather to lower latitudes. Source (NSIDC)

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Posted in AO negative phase, arctic ice cover, Arctic Oscillation, Arctic region temps, Arctic sea ice extent | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

Arctic Blast Hits Britain Again

Posted by feww on December 17, 2010

Heavy snow and ice strike many parts of the UK as arctic conditions return

Heavy snow has blanketed Northern Ireland, northern Scotland, Wales and most parts of southwest England, reports say.

More snow is expected in northern Scotland, Northern Ireland, southwest England and Wales. Forecasters say up to 25cm (10 inches) could fall Saturday.

The overnight temperature forecast for parts of Scotland and Northern Ireland is  -10ºC (14ºF).

Thousands of schools are closed across Britain, and snow has blocked a dozen major roads.

Hundreds of flights have been canceled and many more are delayed as at least a dozen airports are shut down. Disruptions are expected at all major airports throughout in England, N-Ireland, Scotland and Wales.

“Heavy snowfall during the past few weeks has caused huge disruption, especially in Scotland and north-east England.” BBC said.

“November saw the UK’s most widespread snowfall since 1965, and December has continued to be exceptionally cold and snowy.”

Many train services are suspended across the country until further notice.

“An estimated two million homes, schools and hospitals face fuel rationing over Christmas after MPs warned that supplies of heating oil would hit “crisis” point during the cold snap,” a report said.

Arctic Oscillation Chills US and Europe


Image depicts the land surface temperatures for December 3-10, 2010, compared to the average temperature for the same period between 2002 and 2009, measured by
MODIS on NASA’s Aqua satellite.  While northern Europe and the eastern United States were cooler than average this year. Greenland and parts of northern Canada, were much warmer due to a temperature pattern caused by the Arctic Oscillation. The Arctic Oscillation is a climate pattern that influences winter weather in the northern hemisphere. It describes the relationship between high pressure in the mid-latitudes and low pressure over the Arctic. When the pressure systems are weak, the difference between them is small, and air from the Arctic flows south, while warmer air seeps north. This is referred to as a negative Arctic Oscillation. Like December 2009, the Arctic Oscillation was negative in early December 2010. Cold air from the Arctic channeled south around a blocking system over Greenland, while Greenland and northern Canada heated up.”  Source: NASA/E-O. Click image to enlarge. Download large image (5 MB, PNG)

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Posted in fuel rationing, heating oil shortage, heavy snow in Northern Ireland, Negative Arctic Oscillation, snow forecast | Tagged: , , , , | 3 Comments »

California: Powerful new storm sails ashore

Posted by feww on January 21, 2010

A powerful new storm sailed ashore causing more flooding and mudslides

  • Four major storms coming from the northern Pacific have struck California, with the 5th expected to hit the region on Thursday.
  • Up to a total of 50cm (20 inches) of rain in the worst affected areas
  • Snow
  • 6.5 m (20-foot) surf
  • 100 km/h (60 mph) winds in the coastal areas
  • Tornadoes


SECC Near Realtime Composite. Click Image to enlarge.
(24-Hr FE ED). Click HERE to Animate Image

The Wednesday storm was expected to dump up to 2 inches (5cm) of rain in the L.A. basin and valley areas and at least 4 inches in foothill and mountain areas, and causing yet more devastating land slides, the National Weather Service said.

Officials are particularly concerned about large areas of hillside in southern California consumed by wildfires in 2009, which could cause massive mudslides as there’s no longer any  foliage to prevent the earth from sliding downhill.

Meanwhile, a snow storm forced the California Highway Patrol to close Interstate 5 at the Grapevine, although the Cajon Pass remained open, a report said.

The Los Angeles Police Department has issued more evacuation orders in the northeastern San Fernando Valley, fearing more mudslides in the area.


US Weather Map – Click Image to Enlarge


Goes West AVNColor Enhancement Sat Image. Click image to enlarge.

Up to 1,000 homes in the Los Angeles area have already been evacuated in anticipation of mudslides.

“We’re about as ready for the rains that will be coming as we can be,” said LA Mayor Villaraigosa. “If you don’t have to be on the road, why don’t you stay home?”

“We’re asking you to please cooperate,” Mayor Villaraigosa added. “There’s too many people not heeding advice.”

In La Canada Flintridge, a northern suburb of Los Angeles near the base of the San Gabriel Mountains, the residents were told to do exactly the opposite. Residents  along canyon roads were ordered to evacuate, and stay away for  four days.

“I cannot stress enough that this is not the time to stay,” said Mayor Laura Olhasso. “So if you’ve been asked to leave and you have left, please don’t be fatigued. Please leave again.”

“South of Los Angeles, near Long Beach and Huntington Beach, at least four funnel clouds were reported Tuesday — rare in California, and especially so in winter. Gary Sewall was in Huntington Harbour when he said he saw a catamaran lifted 50 feet in the air. ” ABC News said.

“I saw what looked like a water spout that was circling around,” he said, “and then we saw the boat out across the channel go up in the air and come crashing down.”

Heavy rain, flooding and mudslides have closed roads, inundated homes and cars causing damage. Powerful winds with gusts 130 km/h  gusts have damaged power lines leaving  more than 750,000 customers without power at times.  Up to four tornadoes have touched down in Southern California, this week!

Doppler Radar National Mosaic
NWS Radar Mosaic. Click Image to enlarge and update. (24-Hr FE ED).


Hazards. Click Image to enlarge and update. (24-Hr FE ED).


Snow Accumulation. Click Image to enlarge and update. (24-Hr FE ED).


Weather Forecast. Click Image to enlarge and update.
(24-Hr FE ED).


Predominant Weather. Click Image to enlarge and update. (24-Hr FE ED).


IR Satellite Image. Click Image to enlarge and update. (24-Hr FE ED).


Water Vapor Satellite Image. Click Image to enlarge and update.
(24-Hr FE ED).


Max Temps. Click Image to enlarge and update. (24-Hr FE ED).


Min Temps.
Click Image to enlarge and update. (24-Hr FE ED).


Temp – Real Time Mesoscale Analysis.
Click Image to enlarge and update. (24-Hr FE ED).


6-Hr Precipitation amount. Click Image to enlarge and update. (24-Hr FE ED)


12-Hr Probability Precipitation (%).   Click Image to enlarge and update. (24-Hr FE ED).


Wind Speed.  Click Image to enlarge and update. (24hr- FE EDT).


Wind Gusts.  Click Image to enlarge and update. (24hr- FE ED)


Sky Cover.
Click Image to enlarge and update. (24hr- FE ED)


River and Lake Levels. Click Image to Enter Portal.


US Seasonal Drought Outlook.
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Surface Weather Charts.
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NWS Bot
For hazard warning codes see:
NOAA/NWS  US Weather Hazard Map


NOAA GOES 11 – Near Real Time Full Disk. Click image to enlarge.

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Posted in El Niño, Pacific storm, Radar Mosaic, US Hazards Map, US Weather Map | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments »

Transitory Impact of AO is the ‘Good News’

Posted by feww on January 9, 2010

The Bad News?
More Permanent Changes May Be Occurring!

Impact of Arctic Oscillation on Winter Temps

[Stay Tuned …]


Click image to enlarge.
See  Kingdom United by Ice for detailed data and charts. Image Credit: NASA EO.

NASA image compares December 2009 temps to the average December temps between 2000 and 2008. Blue (red) for colder (warmer) than average land surface temps.

The Arctic Oscillation (AO), a climate pattern, impacts  winter weather in the Northern Hemisphere. The Arctic is dominated by a low-pressure air mass, while the mid-latitudes (around 45 degrees North, about the latitude of Montreal, Canada or Bordeaux, France) are governed by high pressure systems.

The strength of the high- and low-pressure systems oscillates. Weaker than normal systems cause the pressure difference between the two to decrease, allowing Arctic air to escape south and warmer air north. A weaker-than-normal AO is defined as “negative.” Strong high and low pressure systems characterize positive AO.

AO was strongly negative during Dec 2009. This image  observed by MODIS on NASA’s Terra satellite shows cold Arctic air impacting land surface at midlatitudes, while Arctic land, like Greenland and Alaska, was much warmer than usual. NASA Earth Observatory image by Kevin Ward. Caption by Holli Riebeek. Edited by FEWW.

See    Kingdom United by Ice for detailed data and charts

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Posted in AO, Arctic weather, Icebox weather, Negative Arctic Oscillation, Winter Temps | Tagged: , , , , | 8 Comments »