never seen May heat like what’s being predicted in the Arctic over
the next seven days. A shot of warm airs blowing northward over
Siberia that are expected to generate a warm front that takes in
nearly the entire Arctic Ocean. A weather pattern that, if it
emerges, will completely compromise the central region of polar cold
that has traditionally driven Northern Hemisphere weather patterns.
week, a huge pulse of warm air rose up over Northwest Canada and
Alaska. Invading the Beaufort, it drove a broad warm front which
forced near or above freezing temperatures over between 1/4 to 1/3 of
the Arctic Ocean zone. Regions from the East Siberian Sea, through
the Chukchi, into the Beaufort, and including a chunk of the polar
zone above the 80th parallel all experienced these anomalously warm
readings. By Friday, air temperature anomalies in the entire Arctic
zone above 66 North were about 3 C above average and in a large
section of the hot zone centered on the Beaufort temperatures ranged
between 10-15 C above average. For the Arctic, it appeared that June
had arrived a month early.
Arctic snow and sea ice melt on May 12 provides a visible record of a
region compromised by the heat of human-forced climate change. Large
land regions — such as Northwest Canada and Alaska — snow free
when they should not be. And larger regions of open water appear in
the zones that were traditionally covered by sea ice. A bluing over
the Chukchi and Beaufort is also indicative of melt pond
proliferation. Summer, it appears, has come to the Arctic far too
early. Image source: LANCE-MODIS.)
effect of all this heat — just the latest hot flare during a record
warm 2016 — on the sea ice has been tremendous. Huge areas of dark,
ice-free water have opened up. The Bering is practically ice free.
The Chukchi is plagued with thin ice, large polynyas, and melt ponds.
Baffin Bay and the Barents are greatly reduced. And in the Beaufort a
massive 120 to 200 mile wide region of open water continues to
Arctic Sea Ice Melt, Mid Summer is Happening in May
Actic sea ice — indicated by the red line in the JAXA monitor above
— continues its record plunge. Record Arctic heat during 2016 has
driven a never-before-seen rate of melt for the first four and a half
months of this year. If such melt rates continue, there will be very
little sea ice left by melt season end in September. Image
not only is the sea ice less extensive and thinner than it has ever
been for this time of year, but the rates of loss it is now
experiencing are more similar to those that would typically be seen
during June and July — not May. In such a context of record heat
and melt, current new sea ice extent lows are about 9-10 days ahead
of the previous record low, 22-24 days ahead of the 2000s average
line, more than a month ahead of the 1990s average line, and fully a
month and a half ahead of the 1980s average line. In other words,
there is something seriously, seriously wrong with the polar region
of our world.
Warm Front To Cross From Siberia to the Barents
bad as the current situation is, the coming week looks like it’s
setting up to be far worse. A second massive polar warm front is in
the process of bulging northward from the region of Eastern Siberia
near the East Siberian Sea. This warm front — driven on by an
anomalous ridge in the Jet Stream and backed by warm winds flooding
up from the East Asian heatwave and wildfire zone — is predicted to
bow outward over the coming five days. It is expected to encompass
all of the East Siberian Sea and the Laptev, traverse the 80th
parallel, continue on past the North Pole, and then flood out into
the Barents. Essentially, it’s a warm front that will cross the
polar zone in total — completely ignoring the laws of Jet Stream
dynamics and basically rupturing what is traditionally an area of
cold centering on the Pole.
winds are predicted to be pulled up from Siberia as a high pressure
system churns over the Beaufort and a warm front crosses the North
Pole — flushing below freezing temperature out of a majority of the
Arctic Ocean Basin on May 16th in the GFS model forecast. Note the
very large extent of predicted above freezing temperatures in the
graphic above. Image source: Earth
four years of unbroken Arctic observation and threat analysis related
to human-caused climate change, I’ve never seen anything like this.
And given the odd effects of fossil fuel emissions-forced climate
change, I’ve definitely observed some pretty weird stuff. To say
this really kinda takes the cake for Arctic weirdness would be an
Seen Conditions Consistent With Human-Forced Climate Change
May 20, most of the Arctic Ocean is predicted to see near-freezing or
above-freezing temperatures. Readings warm enough to promote surface
melt of the ice pretty much everywhere and across all basins.
Readings that for the entire Arctic region above 66 North are
predicted to be 5 C above average. That is one hell of an anomaly.
Something that would be odd if we saw it during January (when climate
change related seasonal warming has typically taken greater hold).
But for May this is absolutely outlandishly hot.
in the Arctic are expected to hit a +5.04 C anomaly by May 20. Such
an amazing amount of heat will generate rapid thaw conditions that
were typically only experienced in the middle of summer during
previous record warm years. Image source:Climate
are conditions that even during the previously record warm period of
the 2000s normally didn’t take come into play until late June or
early July. Conditions that were practically unheard of for any
single day at the peak of summer warmth during the 1980s. Conditions
now predicted to happen in late May.
is climate change, folks. Pure and simple. And if such a pattern of
extreme heat continues, it may wipe out practically all the ice by
the end of this melt season. This week, it looks like that dreaded
event will grow still more likely if this predicted insane heat
break-out into the Arctic emerges. An event many scientists thought
wouldn’t be possible until the 2070s or 2080s as little as ten
years ago. A Blue Ocean Event that is now a very real risk for 2016.