Monday, March 18, 2013

Huge patches of warm air over the Arctic

Over the past month or so, huge patches with temperature anomalies of over 20 degrees Celsius have been forming over the Arctic.

The three images below show such patches stretch out from Svalbard to Novaya Zemlya (top), north of Eastern Siberia (middle) and over West Greenland and Baffin Bay (bottom).

How these patches with warm air developed is further illustrated by the animation below, which goes from February 12, 2013, to March 18, 2013.

This is a 2.3 MB file that may take some time to fully load. 

Paul Beckwith, regular contributor to the Arctic-news blog, comments:
Paul Beckwith,
B.Eng, M.Sc. (Physics),
Ph.D. student (Climatology)
and Part-time Professor,
University of Ottawa

"The problem with this type of pattern is that there is a tendency for what is termed the AD (Arctic Dipole) consisting of exceptionally high pressures over Northern Canada to Greenland. When the air leaves this region heading for the low pressure regions (winds) it curves to the right (due to Coriolis force) and is thus driven from the Bering Strait region to the North Pole and then out Fram Strait, this conduit is like flushing the toilet on the ice. Warm water is pulled to the cold North Pole and the ice is driven out the Fram Strait into the warm Atlantic where it is melted."

"But the really big problem is that this high pressure area over Northern Canada is a ridge (blocking) that stays pretty stationary over the summers and is directly causing the heat waves and drought in the western US (2003, 2011, 2012). Another really big problem is that the part of the ridge over Greenland (or large GBI = Greenland Blocking Index); as discussed by Overland, Francis, et. al. in 2012 causes excessive melt in Greenland (as we saw in July, 2012 when 97% of Greenland was melting on the surface instead of the usual 40%). This is sending the Greenland albedo into a steep drop, causing even more heat absorption and melting."

To illustrate this further, Paul adds the animation below, from

This animation is a 1 MB file that may take some time to fully load
Paul adds: "The Greenland high could reach 1070 mb in next few days; that will bring huge temperatures! By comparison, the world record highest was 1085 in Mongolia in December 19, 2001".

The 1070 mb high over Greenland is further illustrated by the image below, from

Indeed, as the jet stream slows down and becomes more wavier, such patches of warm air can be expected to extend more regularly into the Arctic. The result can be a huge melt of Arctic sea ice, as well as a huge melt of snow cover in Greenland, which also dramatically lowers albedo, as occurred in 2012 and as discussed in the earlier post Greenland is melting at incredible rate.

This spells bad news for the Arctic sea ice, which may well disappear altogether this summer.

Paul further adds: "For the record; I do not think that any sea ice will survive this summer. An event unprecedented in human history is today, this very moment, transpiring in the Arctic Ocean. The cracks in the sea ice that I reported on my Sierra Club Canada blog and elsewhere over the last several days have spread and at this moment the entire sea ice sheet (or about 99% of it) covering the Arctic Ocean is on the move. Clockwise. The ice is thin, and slushy, and breaking apart."

"This is abrupt climate change in real-time. Humans have benefitted greatly from a stable climate for the last 11,000 years or roughly 400 generations. Not any more. We now face an angry climate. One that we have poked in the eye with our fossil fuel stick and awakened. And now we must deal with the consequences. We must set aside our differences and prepare for what we can no longer avoid. And that is massive disruption to our civilizations."

The animation below, from shows cracks in the sea ice with the Wikipedia image underneath showing the location.

Related posts

- Polar jet stream appears hugely deformed
- Hurricane Sandy moving inland


  1. How does one prepare their children for the extintction event we are winessing? How long before it impacts us all to the point where it is a matter of survival? Is it best to be ignorant at this point and not tell them that will not see their adulthood?

    1. Preparing isn't exactly possible for an extinction event which we have initiated and continue to pointedly continue the path that led to this.
      Psychologically shock at realization of what we have done and continue with isn't bearable. And some will seek religion, some like in military will seek to use weapons as a distraction to their minds.. Some in banks will use money to explain things as will politicians in a similar way.. A way that takes less responsibility of the situation at hand. For kids.
      But if we shield Arctic and nurture Sea to sequester C and restore land. If somehow we as a specie can manage to do that and do it together, one for all and all for one in one great stand using internet and science and keeping the peace and trying to care for all.. If we can somehow get that though our collective thick skulls then the children coming into this life can have hope. We all count and psychopathic manipulation of world society must end quickly.

    2. Times look a bit dark that's for sure. But this extinction isn't like others Earth has had because speed of change forcing the event upon it is hundreds of times faster than at past extinctions save for at the asteroid impact that took place at end of dinosaurs.. Even though this is the case, the potential power of all the world's people working peacefully and full tilt together and focused on stopping runaway greenhouse while there is still time shouldn't be underestimated..
      Preparing isn't exactly possible for an extinction event which we have initiated and continue to pointedly continue on with down same path that led to this. So we need a new path framed and installed....
      There are plans put forward at this site that can work and technical ways to break methane bonds by remote radio wave bombardment. There are ways to stimulate bio absorption of Carbon into the Ocean's abyss.
      And a whole host of other things that would zoom enterprise and hope..
      We aren't simply witnessing -we are the catalyst of Earth's demise..
      That needs to change so kids can have a future and Earth stays alive.

  2. @The3Js ~ Welcome to the really difficult questions section. Gore wast wrong about the truth being "Inconvenient". Though what he should have said is that, the truth is downright horrifying. Perhaps he was unaware or perhaps he just tried to make it more marketable, who knows, but then does it really matter anymore?

    But I think you can find some help on the parenting issue here...

    Nice blog, cool father and one lovely child...


  3. No arctic ice THIS summer ? That is one bold, ominous prediction. Who knows where it goes from there.

  4. Not being an expert, but wishing to see the question discussed,
    I would offer my opinions.

    At birth children are totally dependant on their caregivers.
    By Adulthood they have to make their way in the world on their own.
    Thus childhood is a process of shifting the primary relationship from one's parents to one's peers and the rest of the world the future adult will live in.

    Therefore I would suggest that who you introduce them to and arrange for them to be around
    might have more bering than what news of the future you speak.

    Therefore I would suggest introducing them to, and spend as much time with,
    people who are preparing to live in such times.
    Transition towns,, permaculture, Organic farmers,
    any back to the earth type groups,
    anyone trying to live reduced carbon lives
    anyone taking the threat of climate change seriously.

    If they see enough people preparing to live differently
    They will get the message.
    And they will be better able to formulate their own response.
    Better than just a scary fear/lecture from a parent