Extremely High Horizon Refraction
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EH2R News 2013

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Pyramids of snow

Well not quite, the Pyramids seem to have rejected snow.

Upper left Southwards Jet stream heading towards Egypt and Israel.

2 massive cyclones, at left 944 mb centered south of Greenland the other less than 980 mb near Arkhangelsk Russia. The day before the snow in the desert, made it very warm in some parts and very cold in some others. They also affected the position of the jet stream.

2 huge cyclones side by side is not so common an event, so is , a wildly distorted broken meandering jet stream.
wd December 14, 2013

It's not from the Arctic series; a blast sub connection, how it happens to be so cold further South

A modified Temperature anomaly chart by NOAA of cold football day. Note the cold anomaly zone in blue is surrounded by warmth.

Dr Masters points out the usual suspect about a brief return reminiscent of a cold ice age day on December 7 2013. It's the jet stream of course. As presented , making a strange loop following the outline of the North Pacific. At such occasions I usually bring out the reason for the Jet stream, in this case the Pacific is very warm and Siberia and West North America very cold. Of Course the Arctic is usually biting cold, but as NOAA anomaly chart indicates, warmer than usual, especially in the Alaska region. This is why the jet stream causing this cold weather bout is not crossing the North Pole. But what is newish, is rather the reason why there is a High there, over western US and Canada. While The East coasters enjoy a respite from wintery conditions with a continuous string of cyclones. The High pressure zone didn't pop out of nowhere, but comes as a result of anticyclone-genesis. To be created, an Anticyclone needs a clockwise circulation with clear air over colder ground or surface.

As presented last year, Kara and Barents Sea has a near consistent Low pressure, usually directing another Atlantic Northwards bound Low North of Greenland towards the NW Canadian Archipelago coast. This Low sometimes joins the Baffin Bay one which not only comes from the North Atlantic but the North Pacific. At any rate, all these Lows surrounded the Western one, which brings the question, who is creating whom? The High and Lows are in fact feeding off each other. And by some geographical situation happenstance, the Lows created a rather large one. Which if lesser thinner Arctic Ocean Ice continue, they will keep on creating rather substantial High pressures wherever they likely to form, over much colder land during clear dark nights. As a matter of physics, not unlike the film the Day After Tomorrow, Northern Hemisphere Lows require the presence of Highs and vice versa, otherwise we would have no circulation.....

WD December 8 2013....

Arctic cold encroaching from the Sub-Arctic

~ Common last few Arctic long nights

~ Here we show its reflection in the higher atmosphere

North of Alaska and Yukon lies a small jet in blue, from NOAA, Nov 20,2013 250 mb mb winds. Over the Central Yukon its cold, Arctic strong, so much so, the Cold Temperature North Pole lies right in its center. of which Upper winds tend to circulate counterclockwise around its perimeter all the way to the secondary CTNP over the Eastern Arctic, in this case making an ovoid shape from Alaska to Baffin Island. A small jet only indicates that its warmer to the North. But not by much about 5 to 10 degrees C.

The North of Yukon is warmer than the South. Temperatures throughout most of the North American Arctic are warmer in the high Arctic. Where there is no sun at all.

So it was during the last years at start of the long Polar Night. The cold comes from the South! For those living down South, this does not make any sense at all.. But it is so:

The complete November 2012 at left, much warmer over the Arctic Ocean than say November 1980 (right). The net effect is to have more jet streams over the Arctic Ocean, changing the climate everywhere to the South. Now we have the Northern Hemisphere continents which originate the cold spells instead of a joined larger wider extremely cold air area, connected by the once mighty thick sea ice of the Arctic ocean. A winter land by no other words.

WD November 20, 2013

CLOUDS major play; explains a cool 2013 Arctic summer and warm Arctic fall

~ ENSO split NORTH SOUTH bipolar personality, south Atlantic hurricane killer

~ Global Warming may not be explained in simple terms, one must study to reveal never ending natural variations, where they may be and why they exist

As written below, the cool Canadian Arctic summer was a complex contribution by 2 major atmospheric players, anti beaufort gyre contrarian winds caused by near persistent presence of cyclones over the Arctic Ocean, and extensive cloud coverage, of which were even present over rather large Arctic High Pressure systems which did happen more often lately.

The great Arctic cloud coverage of 2013 must come from extraordinary reasons, the -extra- is of course ENSO but there was an 'ordinary'; the North Atlantic and Pacific, look carefully at the last 4 months, El-Nino loomed like North of the equator, La-Nina was just South:

Virtually the same SST image every day for 4 months. Thanks NOAA...

One reason why there were fewer or no hurricanes in the South Atlantic, but lots of thyphoons in the Pacific was and is that the Northern Hemisphere is in El-Nino mode. While the Southern Pacific is very much like a La-Nina. ENSO has a split personality syndrome. Furthermore the North Pacific is unusually warm. The cloud seeds are planting continuously, therefore clouds under a high pressure regions are possible.

Conversely a cool Arctic summer, can't contribute to a cool following fall, not logical isn't it? However, the clouds persist. Giving naturally a much warmer fall:

DMI nice North of 80 Graph says it all. The clouds are keeping the Arctic fall warmer.

wd October 6, 2013

Tidal power as seen by the big lead

~No other explanation

NW Ellesmere island, the big lead shows up big time, opening as much as 20 nautical miles in less than 24 hours. The winds dominate towards the Island, it is not a wind driven event. It is rather a tidal wave which comes stronger during the equinox.

There is no other plausible reason, this was seen before . Sea ice was not so compacted because of dominant cyclones hovering over the Arctic Ocean during the entire summer period, ideal for tidal action causing a sensational break in the ice which will likely close quickly as the winds continue towards land.

With a relatively weak tide, its hard to explain how this can possibly happen. But it does. There is likely some more ferocious geophysical reason not seen, like a deeper current rising making the tide current more rapid or stronger. wd Set 14, 2013

Winds Northern Ellesmere

Varied from the NE very strong before the 13th, on evening of 13th largely North to NW, on the 14th WNW to NW.... It was not a wind driven event..... wd sept 15, 2013

Cooler air reducing sea ice melt??? Not so...

Many are saying that 2013 melting season was reversed by colder air. This doesn't represent a correct description of what has happened, the colder surface air manifested from a negative feedback which has nothing to do with cooling.

First off, 1 month in the late melting season does indeed look like a great thaw.

But it wasn't entirely so, concurrent surface temperatures closely reflected the lack of compaction of sea ice due to North Pole centered counterclockwise winds:

Uncanny duplication of ice morphology by a temperature anomaly map. It came merely as a rendering of extremely stable cyclonic activity:

The center of the long lasting Cyclone was between Northern Ellesmere and the North Pole. This automatically means a North Atlantic flow of air, which favors a greater melt or warming on the European and West Russian side of the Pole, but also favors NW influx of air towards the Canadian Arctic Archipelago. Conversely a early snow season occurred over the CAA , while none over Northern Russia and Europe.

There was nearly no compaction of sea ice, because the beaufort Gyre got cancelled during the melt season by cyclonic winds.

False reasoning would dictate that there was more sea ice extent this season because surface temperatures got colder, not so. There was more ice extent because of anti Arctic Ocean Gyre winds which cancelled the usual sea ice compaction:

Surface winds (my black arrows) shaped the very look of the entire pack. Scattered Sea ice cooled surface air more (the negative feedback). Influx of warm North Atlantic air caused an early snow season to one portion of the circumpolar world. The great 2013 dispersal of sea ice masked the actual melt especially when using standard statistics.

The tentative conclusion that there was less melting because Polar weather was cooler is not at all accurate. WD September 8, 2013

Is this what the North Pole looks like?

~ yes it was

From NASA,  cant really tell with great precision,  NASA's satellite picture doesn't have coordinates. Needs to be double checked,  but this spot of open water mixed with loose ice should be close to or at the North Pole today August 20,2013.  WD August 20,2013

And its stable, likely getting bigger:

courtesy NOAA

What is needed is a Radarsat complete Arctic Ocean analysis, Radarsat data is a high resolution very high quality satellite product,  completely oblivious to clouds.  

WD August 22, 2013

Super fast ice retreat

NOAA Visual actually captured an ice retreating incredibly by the hour towards the Pole especially off Alaska Northern Coast, last of pictures in the following animation were on the evening of July 12 2013.

To view video, click here

NASA comparison from July 7 (left) to 12 (right) was more or less obscured by clouds, but still demonstrates a rapid compaction and melting in progress. WD July 12, 2013

NAVY model not so bad

~There is thinner ice

Same quadrant next day from June 10-11 , likely open water thinner ice close to where the NAVY ice model places it, its not as big but significant to see steady from multiple visual HRPT pictures.

WD June 11, 2013

SEA ICE phase changes mimicked by the vertically shifting horizon

~Seeing the thermal effects helps explain the sea ice melt

~ A series of May 2013 days remove the veil from thermal variance mysteries

In order to establish a 12 melt hour period and prove it, one must record data. Last few days of photo chemical ice crystals showers slowed the melting period, for now it lasts about 10 hours a day. The image sequence below shows a relatively complex drop of the morning horizon as the sun elevation rises. One may observe the 3 underside phases, freezing (extreme left) until steady state 4th from left, and melting (extreme right). Underside melting will go on until long wave outgoing radiation become weaker and the ice horizon will rise again in about 10 hours.

{take sequence to desktop and zoom} All pictures from land to sea with fixed mount camera.

Mean time from extreme right melting picture the horizon will drop further and further.

The total thermal effect from top of sea water column twinned with more intense sun rays on top of ice obliterate atmospheric boundary layers (inversions) created during the night right above the ice. This shifts the horizon to go lower. During the night, in this case from the much lower midnight sun, the underside freezes because the net thermal balance favors it, this causes the horizon to rise greatly. When the sun rises further in elevation , sun rays penetrate a thinner and thinner atmosphere, the rays have been less depleted and hit the ice. The albedo effect theoretically should deflect most of this energy upwards. But sea ice, even covered with snow seems to absorb a significant amount of rays, sufficient to change its net thermal balance within 1 hour as seen here, making it emit more long wave radiation along with short wave deflections (which does not warm air as much). We literally see here sea ice thermal emissivity change to the point when the ice can't possibly be freezing or accreting. The underside of the ice is most bombarded with long wave radiation from above and below, thus it melts.

First 12 hour underside melt observed

History in the making

Same May 10 2013 day, 11 hours later (extreme right picture) underside ice was still melting. The day got cloudier a few hours after the beginning of the underside melting. The clouds were mostly broken stratocumulus at 3000 feet , which reduced the impact from photochemical ice crystals (less sun, less photochemistry). This reduced sun ray obstructions to surface. Here seems to be another discovery, total clear air makes the sea ice more thermally active, clouds mixed with sunlight reduced wild thermal fluctuations especially in the evening. This kind of weather is possibly an ideal cold weather sea ice melt accelerator. At any rate, after 11 hours of underside melting, the weather was such that I lost the clear horizon, distant snow showers reduced visibility. However secondary observation spot showed a continuance of the lower horizon. So for the first time in history, 12 hours of underside melting was observed and nearly completely filmed. This means that the sea ice at 75 N 95 W is thinning, cracking and vanishing. Slowly for now, but much faster in no time. 2012 during same May period had consistently smaller melt periods. The underside ice column also has a significant layer of bottom "soft ice" confirming the visual observations.

wd May10, 2013

Overnight clear sky cooling slows the melt

Clear weather is a double edge sword when it comes to thawing underside sea ice, this morning (May 12) I measured a later start of melting phase by 46 minutes than from May 10 (above).

Below is a darkened on purpose 1 hour phase change sequence:

The net effect of clear night air was to cool sea ice a great deal more especially with the low midnight sun. This caused a later freezing to melting phase change, remains to be seen whether a clear day can counter balance this shift and make the melting period last just as long than previous days. Clouds with sunshine seem to be the most potent thawing combination.

8 and a half hours later, apparent underside thawing stopped , 3.5 hours earlier than previous days, in cool very clear air. This is very interesting. The likely reason is the latent cooling from the clear night prior, freezing the soft ice column further than usual. There was cooler ice to start from, ultimately it was not warmed to previous days balance. If left to clear air only, the freezing process would last longer in the spring because of the low midnight sun. Pictures will be placed up tomorrow.

Clear Sky conundrum, the ice freezes more

~With confirmation of melting phase.

The next few clear days from May 12 were strange and exhilarating. Turns out that clear skies were indeed not conducive for melting sea ice, even with the midnight sun at reasonable elevations. From May 10 and 11 melting periods of 12 hours or more, day 12 went to 8.5, 13 8 and day 14 even less long. Despite 24 hours sunshine and on day 14 warmer temperatures.

First on day 13, I have confirmed a melting phase. If sea ice is one solid block of uniform ice and for example there is no melting going on when there is more sun rays hitting it, the horizon should drop continuously, without interruption similar to what it does at night, raises continuously in direct relation with the lowering elevation of the sun. Inversions are such that there is no limit to the horizon rise, if there is less and less rays the surface to air interface inversion becomes stronger and stronger. Causing a form of looming, the sea ice well frozen looses most of its energy to space, since the ice is at same thickness the only variable is the long wave radiation escaping to space. Theoretically with the one block of ice getting warmer as the sun rises, at local apparent noon, when the sun is at daily zenith, the horizon should be lowest, it was not observed as doing so. The horizon reaches a steady point and stays there, similar to boiling water, when the temperature reaches 100 C it stays there until all water evaporates. Likewise with sea ice, the underside melts, a new thermal balance is reached where the horizon stays at constant elevation. What likely happens was triggered by the changing nature of the sea ice column when water melts on its underside the ice column is not the same. Its a mix where sea water is part of the process, at that moment there is a much larger body of matter to exchange heat with. Unlike 1.7 meters sea ice, this sea water may be considered as having infinite thermal capacity, therefore there is a lull in the lowering of the horizon. Its the same as air interfacing with open water , a thermal exchange causes a fixed horizon level, only to be changed when especially the air temperature just above varies. A similar effect occurs when the sea temperature becomes different. But as seen below, especially places like Redondo beach California, a small difference between sea and surface air temperature doesn't shift the horizon a whole lot. Sea ice is unlike the sea surface because it is insulated and may be considered a body separate from the sea until it starts melting in the underside.

Bottoming out of dropping horizon:

The first picture from left until 4th spans nearly 3 hours at about the same horizon height, despite the pre and post local apparent noon sun. Very similar to sea to air horizon when the sun can't heat the sea significantly enough to make a shift. The furtherest picture right was equally fascinating, this phase change occurred significantly earlier than previous days, 1 hour earlier, despite clear blue sky compared to cloudy weather.

Although this sequence just above (repeated twice more), represents a better understanding of what is going on under the ice surface, the last one furtherest right was puzzling. Why would there be more freezing on a sunny clear day? The next 3 days were clear, it seems the ice was made warmer by clouds, then sea ice cooled dramatically at first clear night, slower on the next following days.

The freezing period was progressively longer, with subsequent clear nights and days of May 13 and 14. Even though the temperatures were 5 degrees warmer on the 14th.

From 12 hours of melting in clouds, the freezing became stronger in each subsequent clear air day because there was an adiabatic process which evolved from weaker to stronger, since the air above was relatively still cold, the adiabatic process on the 14th was equally more unstable. In the fall, particularly over wide open Arctic water, adiabatic air profiles favors surface cooling. Only the higher 24 hour sun can compensate for the heat loss from adiabatic process, likely as records show end of May at 75 N. When clear air will likely give melting longer than 12 hours. The other discovery here is equally important, partially cloudy weather has been the greatest factor increasing melt times, so far....WD May 15, 2013

Returning clouds stops sea ice night cooling

Subsequent clear nights of May 12,13 and 14 amazingly slowed the melting process until the 14th when there appears to be a gain in late melt time from Local Apparent Noon.

May 15 late AM. at first it was cirrus, approaching from the southwest, then lower clouds from a small cyclonic system. The results were interesting, the high clouds gave similar horizons than with clear skies, at first, then the horizon never bottomed out for long afterwards (line in yellow). In the evening, the usual sudden rise of horizon from long wave radiation loss to space slowed a great deal compared to preceding day, so this means a lesser extent of cooling. Resuming the longer melting period especially for tomorrow, since the night is cloudy. I'd expect an extensive melt period nearing 12 hours if there is partial skies again. We shall see...WD May 15, 2013

Low clouds exceed 12 hours melting again

Night of 15-16 was cloudy , day 16 equally so. Fortunately late evening gave ideal conditions to study, mostly cloudy but with a clear horizon. Instead of the usual rebound with clear or high cirrus, the horizon remained low indicating a likely 12 hour melt day. Again broken clouds peppered with sun breaks gave the maximum thawing effect. This great method of observing the Thermal balance of sea ice shows an elegance in heat exchanges. A continuity, a follow up from the consequence of the previous day and night. Clear days cool the ice more than warm it, until the midnight sun becomes higher in the sky. Cloudy days prop up the thermal influence from sea heat, bouncing back from cloud bottoms instead of escaping to space. The clouds reflect back the heat from the sea , which as the graphs above show, does not bottom the horizon elevation as much as the sun during a clear blue day. But overcast conditions are lethal for sea ice growth, something most specialists always knew, but not for the fact that clear skies- not at the North Pole - give a strong diurnal thermal variation favoring ice accretion. WD May 16, 2013

What happens when the sky is mixed 50% blue?

Same graph as previous day except for purple line representing May 17.A mixed sky shifted the horizon all over the place. There was at first mainly cirrus which gave practically the same horizon heights as clear skies, bottoming slightly higher than a clear blue day. Than at evening the clouds, even cirrus moved away, causing an abrupt change of phase from melting to freezing. Afterwards the sky dome changed appearance with a mix of low clouds and cirrus taking turns over the filmed horizon light rays path.

When low clouds dominated the horizon dropped, when cirrus covered the ray path the horizon rose. wd May 17, 2013

Horizon BOTTOM elevation confirms a deep water column source of energy

May 18, measured the horizon at Local Apparent Noon , 2.43' above a fixed point again, as often as the sun is 30 degrees high and there is no clouds or just high Cirrus. It is a wonderful repeated observation confirming the under sea ice is melting. Sea water temperature can be considered a constant, only the sea ice and surface air changes in nature. So today, a warm sunny day of spring, has warmer temperatures than preceding days, by more than 10 degrees C. Yet the bottom LAN horizon is a constant?

Something is making it so:

The horizon can drop further than 2.43', this is a 1.73' arc minute September 2010 open water example. It can lower even more.

Consider again the sea ice one single ice sheet, uniform in density, 1.8 meters thick, from direct sun rays it's horizon should lower and lower along with the rising towards noon high zenith sun. In the High Arctic it does so daily. But then the horizon stops lowering, remains at near constant elevation only to rise when the sun is about 25 degrees on its diurnal course towards the midnight lower in the sky sun. If perfectly insulated from sea water, the top of the sea ice should reach a thermal balance similar to the picture ( just above, with 1.73' above fixed point), but it doesn't. Something is moderating the course of events. And that is the sea water thermal signal mixed with the ice thickness which now doesn't appear to change, for that to happen something must give, this something has to be melting sea ice. The energy gained by sun rays twin with heat energy from the sea, merge to melt underside ice keeping the horizon constant. Water replaces bottom ice, this should make the horizon lower but it doesn't, because sea water does not change in temperature (just like the ice next to it), there is a vertical displacement of water just melted. Being replaced by constant temperature water from the much thicker water column. When the sun energy is insufficient to compensate for thermal radiation escaping to space, the ice bottom refreezes, insulating the ice further, lengthening the insulation from top of sea column to top of sea ice. This changes the structure of the surface to air interface immediately above the ice. wd May 18, 2013

New horizon bottom, the ice melted until the skies cleared

May 14 May 20 May 22

A long series of cloudy days eventually reduced the horizon elevation to about 2.13' above a fixed marker point. On May 22 with clear afternoon sunshine, the low horizon was repeated. This means that the ice thinned, or the column of soft bottom ice has gotten even thicker. May 14 had 2.86' horizon, May 20 2.13' and May 22, after cloud effect, the horizon , even with high sun all day, the same horizon was 4.32' all at about the same some position in the sky.

On May 22 the same low horizon with a strong sun above 30 degrees elevation, resumed the horizon with low clouds achieved the day prior. This new refraction bottom is likely due to a new state of the the nature of the sea ice, either thinner or physically altered by a different softer to hard ice ratio. Warmer temperatures did not play a major role in this change. It is the net balance of thermal rays, namely Long Wave Radiation which created these interesting changes. WD May 22 , 2013


May25 3 PM left, later past midnight right, even with much milder temperatures the solar diurnal effect still takes place, especially with clear skies. The sun at 6.4 degrees at midnight is by far weaker and not capable of melting underside ice. At this late time there is freezing even at -7 C with about 2 meter sea ice. Long wave radiation escapes to space, particularly from the top of the sea water column, cooling occurs bottom side gets coldest as opposed to earlier warmest. There is a couple of interesting effects, namely a 6 degree sun in February noon gave a much lower horizon. There is resonance with the sun ray intensities, if the rays lessen in total photons the horizon rises, the opposite is true even during much colder weather. A sun 6 degrees from the South at noon usually has a lower horizon than with a 6 degree midnight sun. There seems to be a photon momentum effect., but its likely because the ice cools further from a warmer point than from a much colder state of total weighted temperature.

WD May 26, 2013

For a better understanding please read below:

Data gathered from Optical Refraction above sea ice. An introduction

Photochemical ice crystals, positive or negaitve feedback?

Ice crystals come in various shapes offering certain optical effects with the sun or moon light. Today's optics offer a clue as to why these Canadian Arctic Archipelago skies are white, the camera sees through this illusion, what appears milky white is in fact blue sky filled with ice crystals. The halos, sun dogs parhelia are all part of a process stemming from an adiabatic atmosphere dragging up exotic aerosols from the sea ice surface, mainly bromines, once the sun is much lower these ice crystals seem to vanish. There is a crystalline diurnal effect here. Looking carefully at the image above reveals a lost horizon in the multiplicity ice crystals creating a haze. This is interesting, because ice crystal showers are not quite clouds, neither smog nor snow flakes. Refraction data obtained with more difficulty, but obtained nevertheless, show lesser sea ice underside melting, today by at least 1 hour. So these numerous sun created crystals covering the whole lower sky should be causing a negative feedback. Not quite as simple, it appears that they slow down the rising horizon late at night as well, this is more of what a low cloud would do but not quite. At first glance, less short wave radiation is reaching the sea ice surface, this makes the diurnal warming weaker, but when the sun lowers the rising horizon is also slowed. The net over all effect may be judged only if I gather a longer daily record.

There is an interesting twist, this adiabatic profile sun created photochemistry is not universal, not all over the Arctic at once. Near the North Pole, halos around the sound appeared only twice in 3 weeks, while we had this photochemistry every day.

Halos at the Pole are scarce, yet further to the South not so.

There is a difference with the CAA, the sky is not as white, but this may change when the sun reaches higher altitude, it will certainly be interesting to see. The over all impact of this photochemistry may be different due to the source of this phenomena. Whether its universally pan Arctic or not will either aid or doom the sea ice to a lesser or far greater melt. WD May 5, 2013

Significant dropping horizon near the North Pole

~ A lowering of the horizon with the sun risen by 3.1 degrees

~ Likely what is not seen which causes stronger than expected effect

Expectations were met with a bit of a surprise, a visibly thick drop can be observed readily throughout the horizon. This implicates thin ice. Thicker ice should have had a slower drop because thicker ice has lost a lot of heat during the long night. Thinner ice warms up quicker from above and from the warmer water below. The formulation and calculation of how thick the ice is will take time and effort, but it can be determined by comparing with other locations with known thickness. ---- Read more about this new scientific method with the next article below. WDApril 27, 2013

And the falling horizon continues.......

The gap is huge, potentially indicating a great melting is occuring. A 170 cm horizon should drop about .57 minutes of arc per sun rising degrees. If the ice is 170 cm thick the gap should be 2.28 arc minutes wide, I measure about 2.4' of arc drop making the ice about 2 meters thick. . errata, the scale used was incorrect, 2.4' of arc is not possible to determine with the resolution of this picture. the gap was closer to 22' of arc suggesting a significant thermal event, which may have been caused by significantly thinner ice or wide open water. April 30, 2013 ----May 2 correction May 3

Cam 1 definite signs of melting from the snow top:

Cam1 has no such great drop of horizon, that is better, no ridging means that there are fewer recent leads near by. It represents the majority of ice surface about the Pole. The resolution of the NOAA pictures is such that a drop of the horizon can only be seen when the sun is much further up in elevation. Higher resolution upgrade of either the camera or photo processing would show a shifting horizon. But since we have none, implies we must wait until the sun rises a further 5 or 6 degrees before it shows.

Astounding! The snow surface is in sublimation mode, this is what snow looks like when it disappears quickly. The effect of the sun at 12-16 degrees elevation bombarding sea ice surface demonstrates without a doubt that both ice and air has warmed considerably, this type of snow is a precursor to water puddles WD May 4 2013

Despite ridging a small perceptible drop can be seen:

Its not big, but if you zoom after moving to desktop there is a small likely significant drop especially on top of radiometer. The resolution of camera shot is such that a precise measurement is difficult. The snow nodules got drifted over, and it has been very cloudy and foggy near the pole, this slows the melt progress quite a lot.
WD May 12, 2013

Significant drop is clearly large

near North Pole horizon shows up significantly lower when sun is 10 degrees higher.

There was ridging at right side of radiometers. But the left side has undeniable lowered horizon, normally I would expect this drop to be about 4' of arc or more, NOAA picture drop is greater than that. WD May 25, 2013

2013 Summer fall early winter projection

~ New forms of heat found, a new metric can be seen

First the success of last Fall's winter projection, lessons learned.

"1- Slow start of winter; Winter does not start at the solstice as tradition goes, it begins at various days about the fall equinox, when darkness hits the North Pole.

->This year winter started very late."

It did, but it had a twist, literally the circulation around the Pole was dominantly Anticyclonic. Very much opposite to previous winter of 2011-12.

"2- Sea ice thickness affects the enter circulation of cyclones about the Northern Hemisphere, very little thickness means the slow build up of winter.

-> Low pressure cyclones will easily penetrate the North Pole area same as last year, this means a warmer Arctic and somewhat cooler temperate zone, as opposed to a wide variation of very cold to cool temperate winter."

It was not quite so, the Pole area had an early starting anticyclonic build up directly above the remaining pack ice from the great melt of 2012. This was the dynamic genesis of the winter of 2012-2013. I identified this phenomenon early on but miss diagnosed its importance. Didn't think it would gave stayed after growing along with the recovering ice extent. Lows didn't penetrate the North Pole , despite thinner ice, primarily because the circulation around the Pole was clockwise. The flow basically kept Kara and Barents sea Cyclones to hover over these seas. Very unlike 2011-12 winter.

"3- Sea surface temperatures along with atmospheric temperatures are at all time highs

->Implying great moisture events throughout the winter everywhere influenced by sea evaporation."

That was bang on, great records of record precipitation was reported all over the world.

4- Cold Temperature North Pole locations, they have been varying for about a month

-> means not steady monotonous weather for the Northern Hemisphere."

Bang on varying Jet stream locations caused unusual weather patterns were witnessed pretty much everywhere.

…….."A warm wet winter for all. How warm depends on cloud extent, how wet depends on whether El-Nino will survive. And by wet, I mean when near 0 C with snowfall as well. Ireland and UK should have a reprieve in regular rainfall and more variable weather, North America will wonder where winter went again. The rest of The NH will enjoy warmer weather along with bitterly cold periods as Eurasia will cool down more than the Arctic."

"This leaves El-Nino in a lynch , suspended animation, but nonetheless leaning on a come back summer 2013, because there is no mechanics in place fostering a deep La-Nina except for the Southern Hemisphere dominated by Antarctica and ozone holes,"

This has happened pretty much as expected. ENSO varied quickly towards La-Nina. Then re-trended towards El-Nino. The continents were much colder than the Arctic first. Early winter of 2011-12 was mild following the sea ice great melt.

"If La-Nina returns full blast, unlikely but if so, the melt in spring and summer time will crush 2012 great melt as a distant old record, the Pole will be sailable. If everything remains Neutral or warmer ENSO wise, the ice pack North Pole will be assailed once again by open sea water, 2012 record melt will be still exceeded. The big add on would be increased tornadoes (where they thrive) early in the season, its in the cards, a normal tornado season is not yet foreseen, by all accounts waiting for Polar stratospheric vortex to show itself last. wd December 2, 2012."

North American Tornadoes prediction was excessively precise. Once a rapidly building Polar Stratospheric collapsed in Late December Early January, the very early tornado season ended. ENSO has been very difficult to predict. But El-Nino trending from and almost certain pending La-Nina . Proved that ENSO had no real driver at the wheel, and seemed to languish without a sense of direction.
Over all I rate this past projection as fairly good. While I missed to extend what I detected with respect to sea ice build up reinforcing anticyclonic activity.

Sun Refraction data;

What is the score?

275 observations of differential sun disks; leading in averages percentages, 120 decimal levels from -1 to 10 degrees elevation

2010 and 2005 #1, 2011 #2 and 2013 #3.

February and Early March sun disks were very compressed, only to expand gradually, for the first time I measured many sun disks with strictly adiabatic profiles consistently at end of April. They revealed pure cold temperature refraction compressions. Not surprising, since captures were taken in the zone of cold temperature North Pole, an area where the densest coldest air existed. This zone was much reduced to the Northern part of the Arctic , the Northeast sector of the Canadian High Arctic. ECMWF 500 mb map captured this quite well, when eventually the 500 mb Low center in blue will disappear so will also winter, and this is projected to be so on May 8 2013. One would expect round sun disks when the temperature profile becomes purely adiabatic, it was so, even to the extent when green flashes were less numerous. But the disks were not compressed strangely similar to 2005 or spring of 2010, which were greatly expanded on a continuous way. So the habit of projecting the temperature trend for the Northern Hemisphere is the basis or the back bone for this seasonal long range forecast. Since we were in the Cold temperature North Pole region during literally the entire duration ob differential refraction observations, while coincidentally the rest of the Northern Circumpolar Hemisphere was not, it may be more suitable to predict 2013 as # 2 or 3 warmest year in history. From there we can likely reason out the outcome of the weather to come. The basic cold dense temperature centric idea is that the rest of the world weather circulates around this center. It becomes then important to know where the likely location of the cold temperature North Pole will be. Especially given the circumstances of a rather well established anticyclonic circumpolar flow over winter just past .

New method; Horizon refraction analysis finds more heat.

Particularly strikingly different than sun disk measurements is Horizon refraction, which can be analyzed even in darkness. These observations were compared to a database of past 3 years. Recent refraction analysis presented much stronger adiabatic tendencies. Last year 2012, had very similar effects especially compared to 2011 which had a strong polar stratospheric vortex. Any vortex once well established may trigger a great ozone depletion at its center, giving temperatures lower than -80 C. This great chasm in temperature affects even the surface values, but also the structure of the very lower temperature profile. Winter 2012 -2013 had a strong vortex short lived at end of December 2012, the vortex collapsed under its own oversized weight while some would say by a Sudden Stratospheric Warming, which may be part and parcel of its disintegration process. The vortex split in 2 in January. All during that period, there was very little strong refraction. This was an astonishing find. The Vortex split in 2, and there was 2 vortices more or less centered from ground up to stratopause , one over the Canadian Arctic Archipelago the other over Northern Russia.

2012-2013 summer projection.

Pre-summer Prognosis

ECMWF, the deep blue area at left comprises of the coldest air in the Northern Hemisphere, other lighter blue zones are mostly Cyclones. Winter essentially will vanish with the big blue. The larger question is how the circumpolar general circulation will be this summer? Cyclonic or Anticyclonic? In fancier terms

Arctic Oscillation Positive or Negative? After a winter of mostly anticyclonic weather, one should use the theory of persistence and say it will be anticyclonic. But that is too simple for a larger chaotic circulation system. The process of rapidly melting sea ice may give a different pattern all together, which is Cyclonic.

Which will it be? An anticyclonic dominated circumpolar region would be a disaster for Arctic sea ice, the other way around would be better as was the case in 2012, imagine a 2012 greatest melt with clear air instead of clouds? How much more would sea ice have vanished? Nevertheless it turns out either way sea ice will melt further this summer.

The greatest puzzle to consider is why very weak refraction at the surface to air interface was observed? The answer is the sea was warmer. Because the over all thermal effect or long wave emission from the Arctic Ocean was strong this last spring and more so very strong particularly during the long night. Absent the sun, inversion effects were mostly rare, astounding considering past observations. These near surface lack of inversions were key, it stems from thinner ice or a warmer sea, perhaps both.

Projection scenario Neutral El-Nino

El-Nino does not seem to be making a come back. Although there was a time not long ago when it appeared that ENSO was becoming La-Nina, now re-trending towards El-Nino. ENSO is a major player with respect to cloud formations, even in the Arctic. A Neutral ENSO means worse conditions for sea ice than 2012. Therefore the sea ice melt of 2013 will be greater, with a great possibility of the Pole being free of ice and navigable by ordinary ships. Earlier on Adiabatic lapse rates enhance or bring up whatever is on the surface, open water would be a greater source of energy transferred to the atmosphere, therefore a great soggy wet summer for most of the Arctic. The mechanism is simple, an open spring lead usually spreads out its heat under a persistent inversion layer. The existence of the inversion layer literally surrounds the lead with very cold air. Eventually the lead freezes. The absence of boundary layer changes this scene. Adiabatic air likely draws more heat, which flows upwards. Since it is spring, sunlight

warms the darker water as well, the lead should remain open longer. This was observed particularly in 2010. While a same gap in the ice in 2011 was observed to last only a day.

General Circulation of the Arctic should be more Cyclonic, given the rather large influence of a more open Arctic Ocean, the already thinner ice is already favoring an early eradication of boundary layers. There should be lesser cloud coverage than 2012 for the circumpolar region because of Neutral ENSO conditions.

Further to the populated South will benefit from warmer weather with lesser harsh precipitation variances associated with El-Nino. Tornadoes should be less frequent than an average season less numerous than 2012. This would be nice if it was not for Neutral ENSO comes what should be a "normal" summer. This would be nice if it was not for Arctic sea ice disappearing greatly. The greater presence of much wider Arctic ocean water affects the very structure of jet stream circulations, making them lethargic or slow moving. A major omega block somewhere over the Northern Hemisphere, likely causing Central USA furtherance of drought and or Eurasian caucuses to dwell under similar conditions.

Extremes in precipitation will still exist, namely NW Europe especially by Greenland massive ice sheet placing the cold temperature North Pole near its NE shores.

WD April 28, 2013

Data gathered from Optical Refraction above sea ice. An introduction

~ Pre paper basics presentation.

~ Ice formation is not strictly the result of colder temperatures

Unlike surface water, sea ice has rapid thermal variation characteristics which enables an instant evaluation of its thickness and age.

Lets go back in time, a March 2004 sunset comes to mind:

Apparent high Arctic sunset disappears in mid air. That was not so. The sunset was much raised with the ice horizon. By 11 arc minutes. The horizon was higher, the entire sun disk transforms in turn. From ovoid to becoming saucer like, eventually morphing to a sun line which was highly compressed sun disk image. Arctic haze, more common then, masked the raised ice horizon. At the time, sea ice over the NW passage was a mix of old and new. Multi-year ice made the onset of freeze-up earlier in autumn 2003. The end result was thicker ice many months later in March when this sequence was taken.

Refraction effects can be even more complex. Horizontal refraction permeated the lower horizon, seeming to dissect the air
layer by layer, making the sun's upper limb wearing a green flash hat, or at the end revealing gravity waves streaming.

Fortunately sun disk effects are much more complicated than the rising horizon. There is so much air thickness between sun and camera which absolutely demands a greater knowledge of great chunks of the atmosphere.

Inspiration to study something apparently simpler came about. To make sense of all these mirages a steadier subject was needed. Elevation wise, sea ice varies throughout the day. Can be studied at any time for days especially with good visibility.

From this visual aspect, using a baseline value for sea horizon height having water and surface air with the same temperature, a retrospect evaluation of sea ice thickness is possible. On this March 2004 day, there was likely a sea ice mean thickness of 3.2 meters over a huge area of the NW passage.

1- Instant Identification of sea ice status, freezing, melting or steady state

Long wave radiation has a way to be revealed, if a body emits a great deal of it, the immediate area adjoined will be warmed. In the case of sea ice, sun rays heats sea ice surface, but warming comes from below as well, Arctic sea surface temperatures are almost always higher than air during winter, this continuously tends to soften the ice bottom making it become brittle or fragile. If the sun is strong enough, the sea ice to air interface looses its boundary layer, or structure.

Steady state:

September 2012 Sea surface temperature (devoid of ice) is equal to the surface air, the horizon is at steady state, it appears at pure astronomical horizon elevation. If the Horizon goes below this level, there is an inferior mirage, the water or ice is warmer than the air. If it rises above, there is an inversion, when so water or sea ice surface is colder than the air.


March 19, 2013, seemingly cold -26 C day. The ice horizon was lower than the steady state, the ice is not getting bigger at this moment, more likely melting from the bottom, warm surface sea ice nullifies the inversion above which was keeping the cold air locked, and creates an inferior mirage, similar to road mirage.


Same day but later , the sun is 3 degrees above the horizon, ready to set. Ever since last picture was taken, the horizon rose in small increments, will continue to do so. The steady state astronomical horizon line was exceeded higher, sea ice was thickening. The cold air overtook the heat gained by the sun, there is a net heat lost by the ice. The apparent horizon gain gives away the over all thickness of the sea ice. As a general rule, the thicker the ice, the quicker the horizon rise.

2- Determining ice thickness by refraction

There can be several methods of determining sea ice thickness optically, which means immediately. During the long sunless night, the horizon was highest when radiation escaped to space directly without interference by clouds, which may affect the radiation balance at sea to air interface. On a mostly clear evening the ice horizon peaks after sunset:

From minima day onwards the first onset of thinnest ice, clear sky horizon rose in tandem with ice thickness. One basic empirical rule is 50 cm per minute of arc increase. In this picture above, it means 160 cm overall ice. 255 cm less than compared to 2004 sunset sequence at about the same date.


Studying instantly whether sea ice is growing adds a better understanding on how accretion works, in the case of winter 2012- 2013 freezing season, there was melting as early as March 18, at about sea ice maxima peak. It was short lived by a few hours, subsequently melting grew longer day by day, eventually the melting period of any given day will exceed the freezing once the horizon is lower than a steady state level more than 12 hours a day. Freezing is not a continuous process dependent on degree days, but rather whether the radiation budget of sea ice is in a loss or gain mode. Remote sensing merely calculates the gain or loss of sea ice volume or extent, but horizon measuring explains what is happening directly. The two methods of visualizing sea ice complement each other, and should be utilized in improving sea ice models. WD April 14, 2013

High Arctic Earliest melt, West of Southwest Cornwallis Island

Spring Equinox Freeze up Maxima of Northern Hemisphere Cryosphere is not a coincidence. The returning sun stops accretion and causes the melting of sea ice, very early on particularly on its bottom. Surface Sea ice may appear cold, normal and well set, but that is not the case on its underside. It may be very cold outside, but sun rays on a clear sunny day have a huge impact over lower accretion action. Above is last 4 seasons spring collage. 2011 was the coldest year sea ice wise. The first column displays earliest bottom melts. 2012 and 2013 had very low horizons way earlier, although 2010 data was scarce in February. Second column displays first extreme low horizons, all within March 11 and March 19, sea ice Maxima period. Third column sets the date when continuous low horizons were seen afterwards. 2011 was particularly good for sea ice preservation. Late February shots were at sun elevations 5 to 7 degrees during Local Apparent Noon. Indicating a sun merely 6 degrees high has an impact over the energy balance of ice. Thus 11.8 to 15 degrees elevation sun causes certain melting on the underside, while 5 to 7 degrees elevation noon sun can do likewise but the conditions must be right, thinner ice and likely less snow insulation may be major factors. 2012 and 2013 were noted as having earliest underside melts, this is likely because of the disappearance of multi year-ice. WDApril 21, 2013

Practical examples:

Current NOAA North Pole Cam :

Using fix point reference the radiometer box,

The horizon height should vary, all be it not very high as with examples above. The data acquired from this variation will show the nature and status of the ice. The sun rises very slowly continuously, until it rises a couple of degrees, only clouds will affect the horizon, unless one uses very high resolution programs converting the image, if capable a slow and gradual reduction of sea ice horizon will occur . wd April 20, 2013

A very small drop in horizon has been detected after 5 days. This suggests thin ice melting on its underside. April 21 2013

Lets go Surfing

This method applies for any horizon, including Redondo beach L.A.

Redondo beach L.A. extreme right picture displays a significant drop in horizon at about 1 PM, the effects are very similar to sea ice. The sea surface has warmed due to warm air and High noon sun. The surf looks good from likely sea breeze keeping shore weather cooler. wd april 20

Night time and morning have extreme variations, not as much as sea ice, but noticeable if you take sequence to desktop and zoom. April 21, 2013

Really obvious drop at right april 24.

At this beach there is an evening diurnal rise very similar to sea ice, day time horizon drops and night time and very early morning rises. bring to desktop and zoom on image. April 25 2013

Unusual, with sea surface 16C with surface air 16 C. Could be a fog bank on the right picture or the true astronomical horizon. Must observe further.

Observe the significant drop at right, which only means warmer water than air. May17,2013

May 6, 2013:

Redondo beach May 13 near perfect astronomical horizon at extreme right. May 13, 2013

What about Scotland?

Yes variations on Fraserburgh Aberdeenshire webcam show the same drop. But slower, and at evening end. WD May 1,2013

Scotland never disappoints look carefully:

Warm from land winds have created a great looming or superior mirage seen at far right. Sea water at this time is +6.5 C air going to Northeast at 21 km/hr. The temperature difference is such that the horizon rises above an apparent air layer. wd0505

Fraserburgh astronomical horizon:

The theoretical perfect astronomical horizon, temperatures of sea surface and air is equal. So far, most of Fraserburgh horizon was high because the water was colder than the air, but here a stint of cold air lowered the horizon substantially. For it to be even lower will likely require winter weather when the sea becomes warmer than the air the horizon will lower further. Note the lower light house pier seems aligned with the perfect astronomical horizon, an accident? Or an architectural master ly design. WD may 9, 2013

Fraserburgh June 8 sea temperature colder than the air (right) , the horizon goes higher than picture above . WD June 8 2013

Cold temperature North Pole (CTNP) coming Spring and Summer effects

~Means much wetter NW Europe.

Late May 2013:

May 28, 2013. Coldest 700 mb air settles NE coast of Greenland. The temperature at about 600 mb roughly represents the average temperature of the entire troposphere. The Cold Temperature North Pole moved Eastwards from North Central Canadian Arctic Archipelago to the East coast. As the rest of the Arctic warms further, it is highly likely that the CTNP will hover around NE Greenland for months. This will inevitably bring the jet stream to be hitting NW Europe with all the weather from the warm Atlantic.

Seemingly innocuous, the Cold Temperature North Pole is the center of the weather world. Where big meteorology circles around it counterclockwise. Its influence can be judged daily, especially when Cyclones join with it causing the very location of the jet stream. WD May 28,2013

APRIL 2013

Where exactly the coldest air is influences greatly the jet stream meandering positions. Now is the time when Ireland and the UK starts its rainy season, and there are some surprises as to why, the Arctic just use to have the coldest densest upper air. But now it shifted to the East Greenland coast. This brings the Polar jet stream to head unusually Southwards along East Greenland:

NOAA 250 mb winds april 12 185958 2013 product. The jet stream is in utter chaotic formations. the cold air of spring no longer resides in the Arctic but further south. Especially where it should be warmer. Greenland East coast should be warmer than its West. But that is not the case:

500 mb Upper air is just as cold over the UK than over Baffin Island. This re-centers the Cold temperature North Pole to exist along the Greenlandic East Coast.

Circulation along the border of the coldest densest air is counterclockwise. Unlike the jet stream further to the South which has something to do with pressure height differences between cyclonic and anticyclonic air systems, the CTNP jet stream is far more consistent. Given that the Arctic is warming hugely, it leaves the spring/summer to have Greenland as the last bastion of cold on account of its massive glacier. The disappearance of multi-year Arctic Ocean ice shifts the location of the coldest Upper Air to Greenland, this in turn affects NW European weather a great deal, in a consistent pattern of predictable wetter weather.

WD April 13, 2013

Algae green makes darker ice

Barrow Strait early April snow covered shore with snow covered NW passage sea ice which is close to the median thickness of the entire Piomas calculate ice mass, greatly devoid of multi-year ice, with a lot of ridging. The sun elevations were within 1 degree of 8, 2013 shot is earlier by 4 days at similar time of day. There was likely similar snow cover on each shot. The ice appears strikingly blue greener than last year and or snow covering land. 2010 was even less green, although I have fewer shots with same optical equipment and camera to compare.

The green from active algae under ice surface growth is likely called Melosira arctica. Much studied by prof. Antje Boetius group on the great research ship Polarstern of the Alfred Wegener Institute (by the way Alfred Wegener made outstanding contributions to Atmospheric refraction theory). Snow covered green ice appears darker than snow covering land. Likewise it means that a biological contribution, very much in need of thinner ice, is contributing to the great melts of Arctic Ocean ice. It is a biological positive feedback. The greater extent of thinner sea ice, increases algal biological activity, in doing so will be quickening the 2013 melt further. WD April 7, 2013

Where did the heat go?

~Thinner ice complexities brings the mystery of extra heat to atmosphere in question

~Surface Heat has truly one place to go

NOAA Monthly composites, from January to February, 1998,2005, 2010 the warmest years in history in sequence compared to 2013. 850 mb temperature anomalies. This altitude is closest to ground or sea where one would expect the thinner ice to have some immediate impact. None discernible except for Siberia in 2005. From a point of ice thickness there is definitely a larger amount of energy transferred to the atmosphere. It is known that an increase in thickness by 60 cm tend to reduce conductive heat flux from -129 W/m2 to -50 W/m2. Ice can be much thicker, therefore any sea ice approaching 100 cm thickness unleashes a vast amount of energy if covering a huge surface area, especially if this ice was once 260 cm thick let alone up to 10 meters.. . What should happen with thinner sea ice affects the first troposphere inversion near its surface by weakening it. In doing so the air temperature profile becomes more adiabatic, the warmer air parcel expands in the higher upper atmosphere transferring heat from below. Open water leads also exchange a huge amount of energy, but briefly especially at low temperatures.

Brings the 500 mb level, generally recognized as half the atmosphere level, here again 2005 displays stronger warming, makes sense in terms of advection from lower latitudes, does not make sense in terms of thinner sea ice. Energy unleashed by overall thinner ice in 2013 doesn't seem to manifest.

A surprising trend appears at 250 mb level, where there is usually an important inversion creating the tropopause. 250 mb coincides with the jet stream level. We can see prior 2010 jet stream should have been more predictable, less broken and rather circumnavigating mid latitudes, while in 2013 the jet stream was broken up, irregular and unusually to the North. 2013 saw the collapse of the polar stratospheric vortex very early in the season. Subsequent to collapse weather patterns in the stratosphere and troposphere were aligned with two vortices over the Canadian Arctic Archipelago and Siberia spanning from ground to stratopause. It seems highly plausible that heat generated by thinner ice affected the temperature at the tropopause or jet stream level. Intertwined with geopotential heights research proposing the reshaping of climate patterns by jet stream new alignments. A vast new heat source is bound to change the atmospheric thermal dynamic balance of the Arctic, to suggest that heat stays near the surface contravenes with physics of convection. WD April 1, 2013

Extreme High Pressure and leads formations

March 3 ,2013 NOAA IR upper left, concurring 18z surface chart, to the right. This High pressure lasted a long time over many leads forming over the SW quadrant of North American Arctic Ocean sea ice. These leads in the same sector have occurred before in many past seasons.

At times the High pressure center 'punched' an impression of itself, leaving a distinguishable mark or footprint. However, the earlier appearance of them is newish. The same leads distorted by ice movement amongst newer ones can still be seen (lower second picture to the right NOAA March 23 IR).

Having not disappeared indicates apparent age of the greater sea ice coverage, it means the ice is more uniformly thick and likely having the same surface and underwater topography. The newly formed leads with much thinner ice withstood great lateral pressures, if there was older sea ice amongst the pack, these leads would have been crushed closed making them apparently disappear. Unlike the big lead just formed disappearance, older multiyear ice crushes new leads rapidly and is a major source of ridging, creating more thicker persisting multiyear ice. ............ WD March 23 , 2013

Real jet stream driven storm opening CAA mega lead

~Very unusual jet stream patterns affect sea ice where it is at its thickest

The storm lines are obvious, in white over Devon and Southern Ellesmere a severe blizzard stirring up snow thousands of meters above. Looking more carefully on the NW coast line of the Arctic Archipelago, cloud streamers from a 2nd Cyclone centred over Northern Bathurst Island Pry open the famous big lead of Northern Ellesmere, there was another one which passed the same way in a great blitz rush a day and a half ago. North of Ellesmere, there where ice is thickest, where tidal waves are more significant under the North American continental shelf. Where also a distant High Pressure Anticyclone near the Pole teams up with these CAA lows and obliges the return of the big lead for all to see.

To the South of the Polar Jet stream over Baffin Island lies the cold temperature North Pole, so far away from Eastern Greenland coast of last years wet UK and Ireland record soggy summer. The sub jet turning counterclockwise around what is left of this winters colder air sector. Drives the usually dying Baffin Bay Cyclones to live again and strike winds all the way to the Pole. Is it unusual to see jet so far North? Yes, but not necessarily unique. It is spring temperatures on the surface over much of the CAA which are more than +15 to 20 C above normal striking a pause for reflection, now that is rare but more and more common over the last decade or so. WD March 19, 2013.

Cotidal lines familiar look

Source US NAVYAtlas of Polar seas, Arctic Ocean. "Numerals indicate time of high water of the principal lunar semidiurnal tidal constituent (M2) in solar hours after upper and lower transits of the Greenwich meridian."

Cotidal lines look like Arctic Ocean leads by no fluke, huge lateral height differentials sometimes breaks the strongest ice. wd March 3, 2013

Unusual Sea Ice formations

Given the great melt of 2012 , there was going to be some surprises about what Arctic sea ice will look like , true enough there are many new "looks":

Perhaps the great roundish ice pans around Spitsbergen exist in the summer not at maximum extent time. WD March 2, 2013

Loose pack ice starts very near 85 degrees North for nearly half its circumference (90E-40W). An unimaginable transformation at sea ice maxima. This apparent lack of consolidation next to the wide open North Atlantic will have profound implications during this years melt. WD March 4, 2013

March 6 2013 NOAA, add a bit of winds and the unstable pack 60E 20W about 85 North looks even more unsettled.

Polar Tropopausic clouds

- Potential Proof of visible dark CCN's in the extreme lower stratosphere

Without further a due the evidence:

On this picture, the sun is well set, twilight is about to end, sun elevation is -6.36 degrees below the astronomical horizon, what appears to be a noctilucent cloud is likely a PSC , but Polar Stratospheric Clouds form at -78 C, there was no evidence of -78 C layer anywhere in the upper atmosphere throughout the entire Arctic. Furthermore the bright cloud appears lower, amongst what I call CCN layers which seed some scant Cirrus clouds just below. An approaching weather system from the Southwest moving NE (the picture is towards the SW), was likely bringing some moisture clashing with very cold high pressure air.

CCN black streaks were mixed with more liquid or ice crystal tropopause cloud, as they can be, there can be moisture in and just above the tropopause, in the middle are very visible small cirrus just under the the bright cloud, the cirrus was in the Earths shadow, the bright cloud wasn't. Furthermore the bright cloud disappeared shortly after, night set and no brightness was seen. Suggesting that this was a tropopause cloud 7.5 Km high which vanished along with twilight.

Geometric calculations at the point where the cloud was recreate disappearing sun rays altitude by the Earth's shadow when the sun is 3 degrees below the Horizon (with no atmosphere). The distance of the bright cloud may be closely estimated since it was at 2.2 degrees above the horizon. Laser and Radiosonde results show the scant presence of a cloud 7.5 kilometers above ground, moisture mixing ratio was nowhere near capable of creating a cloud. This does not mean that other regions of the sky had higher moisture like where the bright cloud was, laser ceilometer likely back scattered the CCN's as no clouds were observed above. The CCN's cover the sky completely but were only visible just above the horizon. The more numerous CCN's are the more visible they become to cover a greater chunk of the sky from the horizon up to zenith. The bright cloud has a rare occurrence of moisture, not usually seen but happens when there was chemical reactions at extreme cold temperatures, or in this case, overshooting moisture from a thundercloud event further from the South which was quite intense. There may be another exlanation.

Part of identifying the altitude of the cloud must come from satellite photography:

Available NOAA Visible satellite February 20 2013 21:15 UTC. The arrow points to the likely band of clouds where the bright cloud was. Satellite brightness near the terminator may be in fact the cloud itself. Further to the South was a coming weather system from the North Pacific.

There is a problem, the cloud band was too close to meet the basic requirement, a theoretical 20 Km high Earth shadow exists, the cloud should not be bright by sun rays, only much more distant away. Unlike the satellite photo, the horizon picture above was taken at 23:36 UTC, the system clouds were even closer by 2 hours North Eastwards movement.

Arctic Atmospheric Refraction is interwoven with illusions, the sun appears where it shouldn't. Always further above than when there is no atmosphere. So the Earths shadow theoretically at 5 degrees was lowered by refraction by about 2 degrees. Refraction confirms the CCN's altitude, low along with the bright cloud, this suggests that the dark streaks are none other than drier Cloud Condensation Nucleii, the bright slightly yellowish cloud color was very similar to a sunset at 0 degrees astronomical elevation when observed at mostly pristine Polar air. Unlike in Southern locations, many with pollutants, normal sunsets appear bright white with a faint tinge of yellow in the cloudless Arctic sky.

Suggested reading: the Earth terminator shifting due to atmospheric refraction.

WD February 20-21, 2013

On Tornadoes and the Polar Stratospheric Vortex

As a matter of an attempt to see if there is a link between tornado frequency and winter buildup of Polar stratospheric vortex, I made predictions and waited for the results, sort of like a ball rolling down on a ramp in order to determine cause an effect, I explore to find if the vortex has any effect at all with Tornado activity way to the South.

The latest November 2012 prediction was bang on:

"About tornadoes, early in the season is not from January 1 onwards, but from December 21 and later, it is the real new year. So they have happened quite early as expected, Weather Underground reports he strongest outbreak for Christmas day ever. The link between the Polar Stratosphere Vortex and tornadoes is largely an hypothesis. A larger version version of the Lorenz butterfly wings, the chaos started way above seems to permeate well below to ground. Alabama's Christmas Tornado is a good example of very strong conflicting winds. 12/26/2012"

Late 2012 vortex was very intense, but collapsed in 2 distinct continental vortices early January literally changing the outlook of everything:

These high in the atmosphere vortices were amazingly in synch with the polar vortex below.

Accordingly NOAA Storm Prediction Center charted active Tornado Activity:

The greatest apparent link with respect to Tornadoes and PSV activity is made obvious here, the single vortex vanished and so did active tornado events. The link seems obvious and straight forward as was the weaker vortex of 2012 compared to 2011 having the most ardent PSV in memory. True enough there was a drought in 2012, as Dr Masters wrote, a drought is hardly conducive to violent thunderstorms. These recent records show tornadoes occur strongly in the spring, which preceded the drought, no doubt lack of moisture had an impact on thunderclouds, but a warmer troposphere helps drought conditions along, a non existent PSV should make the upper troposphere warmer. Warmer Upper Air is not friendly to convective activity. The question becomes larger, the drought itself is a part of the complex. In weather or climate, everything contributes to a single event.

What remains to be seen is whether the Vortex will reconstitute, it doesn't look so, but the signs are for a change from the Sudden Stratospheric Warming onwards:

The warming has stopped making way to a a weaker reconstituted vortex. Onto itself a pale fraction of 2011, tornadoes should be less frequent until the further news of a change way high in the Polar sky.

wd Feb 17, 2013

Full moon tide action caught by sea ice

NOAA HRPT sat pics January 23 2013 crescent leads forming by tide action. Look carefully at the Arctic Archipelago NW coast, it is the most susceptible place for tidal events, you can literally see it opening up especially after high tide at 00:38 UTC. The first IR picture to the left is at 22:35 UTC, middle (day 24) 00:13:00 and right side 01:54 UTC. Darker trace lead at right most picture means it just opened, it has a very warm Infrared signature.

The full moon has always had a huge repertory of folklore associated with it. But this on is real. At about or near the full brightness of the moon and also likewise at the new moon, sea ice and tides usually do a great display, in this case North of Ellesmere Island, extreme sport skiers/sledgers to the North Pole are really aware of this. The events are readily recognizable with satellite pictures even between phases, but are not so strong or visible. The winds on the pictures above can be seen by streamers, small water sky clouds pushed away from open leads rich with water vapor, they are the condensation trails of the lower atmosphere seen from airplanes and space, in this case these are not so aligned with the tidal leads which are more to do about underwater topography, however the winds may help exacerbate formations . Of course in April , the spring tides give a more spectacular display.


Right this NOAA capture was 2.3 hours after Low tide at 07:27 UTC, the freshest lead nearest to shore of NW of Canadian Archipelago shows darker, it exposes warmer open water at near -2 C. The way to understand this to consider the black leads width considerably larger than once broken open. The to and fro of full and new moon tides are usually seen more prominent, despite apparent small height tidal differences. The reason for this occurrence is not well understood to the wider audience often dismissive that it even exists, the larger explanation has something to do with gravity and the speed of the wave action, the tidal current.
Of Note is the close proximity to shore of the tidal event (a sign of the times) then the bifurcation Northward (along with the high tide ebb crest). Its width likely several Kilometers wide. The way to understand this would be best if standing on the right shoreline of the lead, whereas steady ice provides a view of the expanding lead to the westwards. The winds seen by streamers help push open the lead further towards the greater pack ice. The lead parallel to the coast, less contrarian to wind direction opened less.

Higher resolution pictures demonstrate a battered ice shelf:

Higher resolution pictures demonstrate a battered ice shelf:

DMI shots give a closer look, while there is no North Pole expeditions from way of land this year, potential extreme sport skiers would have had a terrible time close off the starting mark at Wardhunt Island if they were on the ice now. The degree of damage is significant seen by many smaller fracture leads, the most dangerous ones to venture near. With higher resolution picture Crescent leads appear numerous, however they are highly visible from the surface horizontally , since they are wide and give unstable ice conditions, narrow dangerous leads are those covered by snow with very little ice under . This entire current event will disappear with ice refreeze and snow cover. Only to reappear again when conditions are right.

A few days later , it got really bad, very much like summer ice break with land just 5 months early:

DMI January 25 213 at 04:32 UTC Very close to the worst open water break in January ever filmed, if not the worst, I do not recall such very wide open water next to shore when so cold, even if temperatures were significantly above average . NW higher altitude Greenland appears very warm, Fjords and Inlets look very white confirming the scant surface temperature data available, over darkening processing seems possible to capture sea ice features or there is a great deal of heat above the surface. Only a radar picture may solidly confirm precisely how wide this parting of sea ice is, but no doubt its huge.

WD January 23-24, 26, 2013



New moon March 19 to 21 2002 tide events, look at the Canadian Archipelago NW coast and the progressing tide ebb towards its shore. The leads were recently broken and they revealed tide progressions much better. It was an old program save, play again and again and you shall see.

WD February 9, 2013

Baffin Bay Ice model is getting bigger

~Some chunks of mid-winter Arctic Ocean look awfully like Baffin Bay

AS seen from NOAA orbital satellite, Baffin Bay pack ice has always been impossible to travel on, unless by a skilled Polar bear or by another animal. Recently its sea ice completely vanishes come mid August, is massively fluid despite quite cold air temperatures, a testimony to heat capacity of oceans.

Same January 15 2013 day Beaufort Sea ice appears slightly thicker by satellite imagery, same if not more fractured than Baffin Bay, both ice areas will likely disappear come August 2013. The alternate way of proving how thin this ice may be with ice buoys:

This image of Ice buoys flowing fast was utterly unimaginable for even the summer times when sea ice had a larger portion of multi-year ice. Its a sure sign of thinner ice, more broken, much fractured and a whole lot less safe to venture on.

The entire month of January 1993 (left) has absolutely nothing comparable with January 2013 above. The flow rates of each buoy, not just a few, are minuscule compared to what is going on in 2013. early nineties were the last days of greatly consolidated sea ice, cemented by their very presence sealing off the Arctic Oceans heat from escaping.

Not even August of 2008 (at Right) is comparable with January of 2013 (bigger map above). What we are seeing is proof beyond much doubt that Baffin Bay sea ice model need be applied for the larger Arctic ocean. The future surely will be like it. A sea of ships for the summer and thinner extremely fluidic ice for the winter. Baffin Bay ice has particular features which ease the presence of cyclones over the entire Bay. It seems obvious that Arctic Ocean new ice morphology is doing exactly the same thing, but on a far larger scale, Baffin Lows are a repository of Cyclones, they die there because of Greenland.

Recent cyclones on their way North dwarf Greenland a great deal more than the spin off Lows which usually die over Baffin Bay, they have no quick place to expire but live a whole lot longer over the Arctic ocean, this ultimately changes the nature of long standing weather cycles going way back in time. At this stage of thinner ice, we are not experiencing the full effect of the change. But have some ideas of what will happen. Massive Cyclones will keep the Arctic even warmer, they will linger longer bringing Northwards all the heat they carry, instead of "bouncing" off cold anticyclonic air frontier and therefore keeping the mid-latitudes warmer. The interim view is a colder mid latitude winter only in some spots, while the further warming of the Arctic.

WD January 16, 2013

24 years ago Ice state comparison revelations

   DMI JAN 13 2013                     NOAA JAN 13 1989

Northern Ellesmere Left , Northern Greenland to the right on each picture.

At first glance the differences are huge, and they are, click on the picture.

1-> The famous big lead.. In 1989 it was 30 to 40 miles North of Ellesmere (right), in 2013 right next to shore. The big lead is the border between shelf fast ice
and Arctic ocean moving ice.

2-> The strait between Ellesmere and Greenland was far more frozen in 1989. In fact the ice at the beginning of the strait was stable, un-moveable, like a surface of ocean ice shelf, it disintegrates every year.

3-> New floe edge like ice North of Greenland, sign of fluid ice moving right onto its shores, it is much warmer. In 1989 no such ice was seen

4-> Much more fluid pack ice, its warmer, sea ice is thinner. The same ebb tide leads
only seen in 1989 are now joined with hundreds of fresh fractures which are wind an current induced in 2013.

The big lead being further away from Northern Ellesmere was a buffer for its deep ice shelves which are now falling apart. Temperatures over the Arctic ocean is much warmer in 2013, the open water leads unleash a huge amount of energy immediately to the atmosphere. 1989 ice was much more stable and especially easier to sledge to the North Pole by way of land. Each fresh lead freezes over, even in 2013, the thin ice of a fresh lead usually gets crushed and gets to create cumbersome pressure ridges. Making ice treks even more difficult. The fluidity of thinner ice encourages a continuous formation of leads, which appreciably slow down the cooling process especially stronger during the long Arctic night, the formation of winter on a planetary scale is much reduced. The missing link with winter of 2013 and of 1989 is the presence of more open water which literally transforms the climate of the Arctic and well to the Southwards, the thinner ice still slows down the warming appreciably, but its a matter of time when the temperatures will make this 2013 image a thing of the past just as 1989 is.

WD Jan 13,2013

The Picture of a thousand leads

How thin Arctic Ocean sea ice is made obvious by this NOAA infra red picture of January 6, 2013. the ice is seen better by a strong High covering the central portion of the top part of this picture, a warm North Atlantic in origin Cyclone (upper right) rolls along the High pressure Isobars towards the Canadian Archipelago. The orientation of some leads closest to wind blizzard is 90 degrees perpendicular. Away from the wind zone, the leads are aligned with high tide ebbs, the sheer number of leads, unprecedented in Polar Orbiting satellite imagery, simply shows the ice is thin and readily breaks under any pressure. Near surface streamers show the wind direction. Temperatures in the dark zone are near 0 degree C, likely warmer. Past last week or so had a balance of pressure systems between North Pacific and Atlantic Cyclones squeezing a High Pressure North of Central Eurasia. This equilibrium is due to open water which tends to keep Cyclones lingering. The battle for winter being cold or warm is clearly displayed, the incursion of a warm Low streaming along Northern Greenland shores is a recent phenomena increasing the flushing of multi-year ice greatly.

WD Jan 6, 2013

Atmospheric refraction, the curiosity which will become as important as the invention of the thermometer

~Few examples of density problems.

~The new ways to come.

Dr Jeff Masters recent article about Hurricane forecast prowess by European Center for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts , the ECMWF model, brings out a seldom mentioned fact that atmospheric refraction can be used to measure regional tropospheric densities.

"However, the ECMWF model's superior technique used to assimilate the initial data allows inclusion of data from a large number of polar-orbiting satellites, which the other models cannot do as well. Polar-orbiting satellites orbit Earth at an altitude of 540 miles twice per day, circling from pole to pole. Their data is difficult to use, since the it is only available twice per day at each spot on the Earth, and the time of availability is different for each location. According to an email I received from Jean-Noël Thépaut, the chief of the Data Division of the Research Department at the European Center for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts, the ECMWF model uses data from at least fourteen polar orbiting satellites: N-15, N-19, N-19, N-17 (ozone SBUV instrument only), Metop-A, AQUA, NPP (ATMS instrument only), AURA (ozone OMI data only), F-17, TRMM (TMI data), COSMIC, GRACE-A, TERRASAR, and the GPSRO data on top of METOP-GRAS. The data of most importance is the data collected in the infrared and microwave wavelengths, as well as atmospheric density data obtained via GPS radio occultation (as a polar orbiting satellite goes over the horizon, the GPS signals from the satellite get bent by Earth's atmosphere, with the amount of bending proportional to the density of the atmosphere. This GPS Radio Occultation data is gathered from eight polar orbiting satellites, and fed into both the ECMWF and GFS models.) You can find a nice summary of the impacts of polar orbiting satellite data on weather prediction models at this link.)"

Forecasting power found by using refraction is undeniable by the success from the work found here, an instant measurement of atmospheric density has a lot of meaning. Traditionally, density was usually integrated by radiosonde balloon sounding data, which only occurs twice a day in a not representative sampling at irregular locations of the entire Earth. The Oceans are largely not probed aside from the GPS method cited above. A simple measurement of the sun disk dimensions can determine the density of the air instantly. This method is very cheap, can be incorporated on sea ships, remote weather station locations anywhere on Earth. And is not necessarily limited by clouds.

It reveals the physics of invisible air if you know where to look:

This 2005 picture of a sunset demonstrates that the atmosphere can be highly stratified, its the way of hydrostatic equilibriums, perhaps unlike underwater sea thermal zones air thermal layers can be very thin. Less than 1/2 a meter or shallower. The sun can be replaced by a building, a lamp post, or anything opaque reflecting light. Terrestrial mirages can be used just as much.

The sun disk method has a simple rule, the greater the vertical sun disk diameter, the less dense the air is, largely roughly speaking this is the rule.

A simple sun disk picture can tell where it was taken anywhere on Earth- provided the sun elevation is known. Like the Arctic:

March 10 2006 through clouds, the surface based inversion was 3.3 C/100 m.

The measure of density is the sun itself, which if there was no atmosphere would be equal to 32 minutes of arc. Here it is 31.39' . Large despite sizable sea level pressure, but the shot was directed towards the Southeast from Cornwallis Island Canada. The all time spring average for this location was 31.4'. Summer Montreal all time average is 31.47' (at 100 meters above the Cornwallis observation site). The equipment used needs upgrades but the error rate is about .1 arc minutes, which is 6 seconds of arc.

Sun disk measurements were logged in the high Arctic and Montreal for more than 10 years. There has been a slow and gradual increase in sun disk sizes with the usual variances, when a hot year was ongoing like 2005, 2007 and 2010 the sun disks confirmed the temperature record very closely. Spring 2010 had all kinds of records broken, from 2005 to 2012, looking back at specific spatial locations in sun elevation the rank of warmest to coldest is:

#1- 2010 and 2005

#2- 2011

#3- 2012,2009 and 2006

#4- 2007

#5- 2008

Of which a neat cooling was noted in 2008 strongly linked with spring time clear air driven by La-Nina.

NASA GISS temperature record of the Northern Hemisphere ranked

#1 2005

#2 2010

#3 2006

#4 2012

#5 2008-2009

#6 2007

#7 2011

Vertical sun disk diameters from one location alone compared from one year to the next mirrored the temperature trend almost exactly. In other words, density of the atmosphere is a very important metric indicating Global Warming. Having density measurements taken from the entire Earth would be the most precise metric known.

Surface temperature is not directly linked with vertical sun disk dimensions. March 7 2006 had a near average height.

While at the Equinox the vertical measure shrunk despite warmer surface weather. Higher pressure usually gives a smaller vertical sun disk size. Not in this case. The atmosphere is vast, especially horizontally. Therefore a sun disk measurement is very similar to a GPS satellite occultation. Except for the cost in acquiring it.

More to come.

WD Jan5, 2013


Global Warming

Visible Global Warming
Effects of cold air
Strong Refraction
Horizontal Refraction
Low horizon pictures
Sun pictures
Rectangular sun
Half sun
Red sun
Orange sun
Low Horizon
Rectangular sun
The Line
Novaya Zemlya effect
Ducting of sunlight
The Terminator
Satellite pictures
Visible light
Infrared sun
Sunset Phases
Ellipsoid sun
Arctic twilight
Red Twilight
Orange Twilight
Double sunset
GPS sunset
GPS errors
Sunset times miscalculated