Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Cold Spring Dragging

This list of headlines is a reminder of just how unpredictable weather can be. Our spring has on average been a bit late as compared to amazingly early just two years ago. I still think that what we are experiencing is a return to normalcy from a decade of somewhat warmer weather whose trend line finally reversed just as it all became very noticeable.

I do not think that the heat surplus in the Northern Hemisphere is completely eliminated and that there are still possibilities for the Arctic sea ice based on its unusual thinness. Thus if enough open water exists, enough energy can be absorbed to at least initially slow ice recovery for a while.

The question that is not answered satisfactory as yet is whether or not the gross heat content is increasing, neutral or in actual decline. It was increasing for at least thirty years ending with the winter of 2008 in a completely surprising downswing. When I say increasing, I mean not that it was accelerating but that there was a net gain each and every year that I think pretty well averaged out year after year. It was enough to destroy a lot of sea ice.

I now think that it has at least returned to neutral and could well continue into the negative and we will then see a slowly accelerating increase in the total sea ice again.

We already know that there is an apparent thirty to forty year hurricane cycle that also fits this apparent pattern. What we do not understand is the apparent conservatism in atmospheric heat content. We want to think that incoming matches outgoing in a very quick dance. This is telling us to be not so fast.

A one percent increase in the heat content of the equatorial ocean would be invisible and immeasurable but would nudge the atmosphere in the type of decadal cycles been observed. A modest increase in the heat content of the winds entering the Arctic would be unnoticeable in the lower latitudes, yet deliver a summer’s aggressive melting as we saw in 2007.

One other thing that is poorly understood by most. The Arctic gyre is small compared to the surrounding oceanic gyres that extend to the equator. However it seems consistent enough in the summer to deliver pretty uniform storm free weather. That is it warms up and stays pretty warm for a few brief months if cool might be considered warm. The point that I am making is that the big events are all else where in terms of shifting the climate around and a little surplus heat goes a long way in the Arctic.

So if we have cool spring, the Arctic is unlikely to be contributing much at all. More likely, a late warming for whatever reason is driving the lag in the climate and considering the shifts back and forth, I hate to make any suggestions.

Brrrrr. Too cold for ice cream! Parts of U.S. forecast to have a 'year without a summer'

Long winter marches into June as unseasonable cold and snow continues

Monday, June 08, 2009 - By Marc MoranoClimate Depot

The long winter of 2009 continues with unseasonable cold and snow continuing in many parts of the world. AccuWeather is forecasting parts of the U.S. may have a "
year without a summer." Below is a small sampling of articles on the June chill.

Parts of U.S. forecast to have a 'year without a summer'

Record-low temp recorded in International Falls

Cool has pushed growth of Western Canada's wheat and barley crop at least 10 days behind schedule

Unseasonably-cool weather slows ice cream sales

Frost may force Brazil to cut this year's corn output forecast

It's it must be snowing: Great British summer goes from sweltering to shivering in just a week

'Unusually cold spring continues' -- two more cold records set in N. Dakota

Isn't this June? Snow sticking around on Pikes Peak...'7 foot snowdrifts'

North Dakota city sees first June snowfall in 60 years

Nearing mid-June in Wisconsin: No sign of summer in forecast

Schoolchildren rescued from hiking trip as June snow and cold hits California

Finland: Chicks killed by the frost in chilly early summer

Ireland: 'Unseasonably cold weather' kills famous chickens

New Zealand ski resort sees earliest ever opening as heavy snow hits

Botswana: Cold Weather Forecast hit by severe winter

'Devastating freeze': Spring frost in Texas killed '99% of our peach crop this year'

Freezes were noted this morning in parts of Montana

Prediction: Northwest Passage won't clear this year

Wyoming: Unseasonably cool temperatures brought a late spring snowstorm and freeze warnings

New record lows were again established in southern Alberta

Below normal temps bring frost damage to Michigan hayfields

Erie, PA: Temperature dips to record low of 40

Winnipeg likely 'to see a record low maximum temperature'

Parts of Canada forecast to get 4 to 8 inches...'set new record lows'

N. Dakota: 80,000 cattle likely have been lost to the harsh winter=

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