Posted on June 8, 2012 by Bob Berwyn
A weakening of the polar vortex and jet stream is likely to lead to more severe winter weather outbreaks.
‘Arctic wildcard stacking the deck in favor of more severe winter outbreaks‘
By Summit Voice
SUMMIT COUNTY — Evidence continues to mount that melting Arctic ice is having a significant effect in the mid-latitudes, where most people live, and it’s not something that’s going to take decades to develop.
Instead, researchers say, the warming of the high latitudes has decreased a historic pressure gradient at the boundary of the high- and mid latitudes. Basically, the pressure difference has decreased, and that is having a fundamental effect on the way the jet stream moves from west to east in the northern hemisphere. (more…)
Filed under: climate and weather, Environment, global warming, seasons, Snow and weather | Tagged: Arctic Oscillation, climate change, Cornell University, global warming, Jet stream, melting Arctic ice, Northern Hemisphere | Leave a Comment »
Posted on March 17, 2012 by Bob Berwyn
Coolest February since 2008
A little bit of a yin-yang picture in the global February temperature map.
Decline in northern hemisphere sea ice is shown in this graph.
SUMMIT COUNTY — Despite a bitter cold snap across large parts of central and eastern Europe, global temperatures in February were still .67 degrees above the long-term average for the month, based on records going back 133 years.
It was the coolest February since 2008, but the 324th month in a row with above average temperatures, according the National Climatic Data Center’s monthly report. The last month with below average temperatures was February 1985.
Warmer-than-average temperatures were reported across most of Canada and Alaska, the eastern United States and north-central Russia, and southern Greenland. Cooler-than-average readings prevailed in northeastern Africa, most of Europe and central Asia and most of Australia. (more…)
Filed under: climate and weather, La Niña | Tagged: Arctic Oscillation, climate, February temperatures, global temperatures, global warming, National Climatic Data Center | 2 Comments »
Posted on March 6, 2012 by Bob Berwyn
This winter could end up being one of the 10 coldest on record for Europe, one of 10 warmest in the continental U.S.
By Summit Voice
SUMMIT COUNTY — The late-January cold snap in Europe brought temperatures up 16 degrees colder to large parts of central Asia and eastern Europe, with another unusual cold patch in southern France.
The colder-than-average temperatures covered nearly all of Europe, with exception of parts of Scandinavia, and also extended eastward across Asia, into the Middle East and much of northern Africa. The coldest anomalies wereover Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan.
Conversely, much warmer than average temperatures were recorded over parts of the Arctic, especially the Kara and Barents seas, which remained ice-free through late in the winter.
Meteorologists say the polar outbreak over Europe and Asia resulted from a strong negative phase of the Arctic Oscillation, a periodic shift in air pressure patterns above the far north. In a negative phase, the air pressure over the Arctic is higher, with weaker zonal (west to east) winds. The pattern enables cold Arctic air to spill farther south. (more…)
Filed under: climate and weather, seasons | Tagged: Arctic Oscillation, climate, Europe cold weather, weather, winter 2012 temperatures | Leave a Comment »
Posted on February 16, 2012 by Bob Berwyn
Arctic sea ice growth in January the slowest on record; Antarctic sea ice above average for the month
A NOAA graphic shows patterns of warmer (red) and cooler-than-average (blue) temps across the planet in January 2012.
By Summit Voice
SUMMIT COUNTY — January 2012 was the coldest month worldwide since January 2008, but still ranked in the top 20 warmest Januaries on record — making it the 26th January, and the 323d month in a row with above-average temperatures, according to the monthly state of the climate report released by the National Climatic Data Center today (Feb. 16).
For the month, the combined land and sea surface temperature reading was 54.30 degrees, which is 0.70 degrees above the 20th century average. Th land surface temp alone was 1.10 degrees above the average (26th warmest) and the sea surface temp was .54 degrees above average (17th warmest).
The growth rate for Arctic sea ice in January was the slowest ever during the modern satellite record, dating back to 1979, with the total extent of the sea ice cover at 7.5 percent (425,000 square miles below average – the fourth-lowest on record. (more…)
Filed under: climate and weather, Environment, global warming, seasons | Tagged: Arctic Oscillation, January global climate statistics, January global temperatures, January temperatures above average, National Climatic Data Center | 3 Comments »
Posted on January 14, 2012 by Bob Berwyn
A warming Arctic is changing the configuration of the jet stream, which affects mid-latitude weather. GRAPHIC COURTESY NOAA.
Rutgers researcher identifies links between Arctic warming, mid-latitude weather patterns
By Bob Berwyn
SUMMIT COUNTY — With Arctic sea ice shrinking fast — losing 40 percent of its mass between 1980 and 2007 — widespread effects on climate and weather are inevitable, according to Jennifer Francis, with Rutgers University Institute of Marine and Coastal Sciences.
“How can it not affect the weather? It’s such a huge loss in the Earth’s system,” Francis said, speaking Jan. 13 and the Glenn Gerberg Weather and Climate Summit in Breckenridge, Colorado. (more…)
Filed under: climate and weather, Colorado, Environment, global warming, Snow and weather, Summit County snow and weather | Tagged: Arctic Ocean, Arctic Oscillation, Arctic sea ice, Environment, global warming, Jennifer Francis, Rutgers University, Summit County News | 2 Comments »
Posted on January 12, 2012 by Bob Berwyn
Snow cover across the U.S. well below average, temperatures remain on the high side in most of the country
Snowpack comparisons, with the black line showing this year's levels. The little upward jog at the end represents the 4-inch storm last weekend, showing how little a single small storm like that does for the overall snowpack.
SUMMIT COUNTY — I’ve lived in the mountains of the West for about 25 years, long enough to know that the weather goes through its own cycles, regardless of what we need, plan or hope for. Some years are good, some years are bad and some are just so-so. Whether it’s La Niña, the Arctic Oscillation or the Madden-Julian Oscillation doesn’t really matter in the end, except from a purely scientific standpoint.
That’s why I can only laugh when when I see wishful tweets from real estate types, or posts by bloggers on the Vail Resorts payroll, talking about a shift in the pattern. Invariably, that anticipated change is about 7 to 10 days away, which is tantalizingly out on the horizon, just beyond the span within which meteorologists can semi-accurately predict what’s going to happen. (more…)
Filed under: climate and weather, La Niña, seasons, Snow and weather, Summit County snow and weather | Tagged: Arctic Oscillation, Climate Prediction Center | Leave a Comment »
Posted on January 11, 2012 by Bob Berwyn
Arctic sea ice extended trended below average during much of December.
December ice declining at a rate of 3.5 percent per decade
By Summit Voice
SUMMIT COUNTY — Arctic sea ice extent remained unusually low in December, despite a positive phase in the Arctic Oscillation. At the end of the month, the extent was the third-lowest in the satellite record. Five of the lowest December readings have been in the past six years, reflecting the steady shrinkage of Arctic, now declining at a linear rate of 3.5 percent per decade.
The lowest sea ice was on the Atlantic side of the Arctic in the Barents and Kara seas, according to the Jan. 5 update from the National Snow & Ice Data Center. (more…)
Filed under: climate and weather, Environment, global warming, Summit County news | Tagged: Arctic Oscillation, Arctic sea ice December 2011, Arctic sea ice extent, climate change, global warming | 2 Comments »
Posted on January 9, 2012 by Bob Berwyn
Pools of freshwater play key role in maintaining Arctic icepack
Scientists explore the link between large-scale hemispheric pressure shifts and the ebb and flow of Arctic sea ice.
Increasing freshwater on the US and Canadian side of the Arctic from 2005 to 2008 is balanced by decreasing freshwater on the Russian side, so that on average the Arctic did not have more freshwater. Here, blue represents maximum freshwater increases and the yellows and oranges represent maximum freshwater decreases. GRAPHIC COURTESY NASA JPL/UNIVERSITY OF WASHINGTON.
By Summit Voice
SUMMIT COUNTY — The more scientists study the Arctic, the more they find how factors other than just constantly warming temperatures affect the ebb and flow of sea ice in the region.
Recent studies show how the influx of fresh water from Siberian rivers is affected by large-scale shifts in northern hemisphere pressure gradients.
Under a decades-long shift in atmospheric pressure associated with the Arctic Oscillation, the water was diverted hundreds of miles to a completely different part of the ocean, leading to record-breaking amounts of freshwater accumulating in the Arctic’s Beaufort Sea. (more…)
Filed under: climate and weather, Environment, Summit County news | Tagged: Arctic Ocean, Arctic Oscillation, Arctic sea ice, Beaufort Sea, climate, NASA | 1 Comment »
Posted on September 4, 2011 by Bob Berwyn
February snow-cover extent was third-highest on record for North America; April was the lowest-ever, according to Rutgers Global Snow Lab
Snow cover extent in the northern hemisphere, year-by-year.
By Summit Voice
SUMMIT COUNTY — Month-to-month and annual measurements of snow cover extent (land areas covered by snow) may not exactly mirror climate-change trends, but they do give some indication of cyclical fluctuations in conditions. In 2010, the annual snow cover extent over Northern Hemisphere lands averaged 24.6 million square kilometers, according to the Global Snow Lab at Rutgers University.
The year was characterized by big shifts in snow cover extent. December brought the fourth-highest reading on record across the northern hemisphere, and February saw the third-highest snow cover extent on record in North America. But by April, the snow cover extent in North America dropped to the lowest on record, despite record snow across parts of the Western U.S. (more…)
Filed under: climate and weather, El Niño, global warming, La Niña, seasons, Snow and weather | Tagged: Arctic Oscillation, climate, climate change, Environment, Rutgers global snow lab, snow, Summit County News | Leave a Comment »
Posted on March 6, 2011 by Bob Berwyn
Arctic sea ice extent for February 2011 was 14.36 million square kilometers (5.54 million square miles). The magenta line shows the 1979 to 2000 median extent for that month. The black cross indicates the geographic North Pole.
Northern hemisphere snow cover well above average
By Summit Voice
SUMMIT COUNTY — Arctic sea ice extent in February tied with 2005 for lowest on record since 1979, when satellite measurements began. Ice covered about 5.54 million square miles of the Arctic area, about half a million square miles below the average.
The sea ice extent was below average in both the Atlantic and Pacific sectors, especially in the Labrador Sea and the Gulf of St. Lawrence, according to the monthly update from the National Snow and Ice Data Center. Here’s an excerpt:
“While ice extent has declined less in winter months than in summer, the downward winter trend is clear. The 1979 to 2000 average is 15.64 million square kilometers (6.04 million square miles). From 1979 through 2003, the February extent averaged 15.60 million square kilometers (6.02 million square miles). Every year since 2004 has had a mean February extent below 15 million square kilometers (5.79 million square miles).” (more…)
Filed under: climate and weather, global warming | Tagged: Arctic Oscillation, Arctic sea ice, Arctic sea ice February 2011, climate, climate change, Environment, global warming, Harp Seal, Labrador Sea, Measurement of sea ice, National Snow and Ice Data Center, North Pole, Rutgers global snow lab, Summit County News | 2 Comments »