Record Low Arctic Sea Ice for July; Quiet tropics

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 5:26 PM GMT on August 08, 2011

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Last month, Arctic sea ice extent was the lowest ever recorded for any July in the 1979 to 2011 satellite record, according to the National Snow and Ice Data Center. Most of the ice loss occurred in the first half of the month when high pressure made for clear skies and melting sunshine, and warm air blew into the Arctic from the south. In the first two weeks of July, air temperature over the North Pole was 11 to 14 degrees Fahrenheit above average. During the last two weeks of July, low pressure took over and brought cooler temperatures, although it appears this also acted to push the ice around, which resulted in a larger but thinner area of ice. New research shows that old ice continues to decline as well, which is problematic because older ice is more stable and tends to grow thicker over multiple seasons, and new ice is thin and more susceptible to melting. According to the University of Washington Polar Science Center, Arctic sea ice volume was 51% lower than average and 62% lower than the maximum (which was seen in 1979 at the beginning of the record).


Figure 1. Monthly July ice extent from 1979 to 2011 from the National Snow and Ice Data Center shows a 6.8% decline per decade.

The low amount of sea ice along Siberia has opened up the Northern Sea Route early (figure 2), and some companies are already taking advantage. It doesn't appear possible to get through the whole passage without the aid of an ice breaker or two around the East Siberian Sea, but compared to the normal route south through the Mediterranean and Indian Ocean, it's a deal. From Yokohama, Japan to the Rotterdam port in the Netherlands, the route through the Arctic is around 8,500 miles. If the Arctic is impassable, the route through the Pacific, Indian, and Atlantic oceans is around 13,000 miles.


Figure 2. Sea ice concentration from the University of Illinois Polar Research Group. Image modified to highlight the Northern Sea Route in light blue.

Quiet Tropics

After a brief reformation over the weekend as a tropical depression, Emily finally dissipated for good on Sunday, and the National Hurricane Center issued its last advisory on the system. The 7-day precipitation accumulation for July 30th through August 5th (figure 3) shows us that most of Hispaniola and eastern Cuba dodged the widespread, extreme rain that could have fallen had Emily stayed organized. Locally high accumulation of 5 to 15 inches fell in the Dominican Republic, which was probably aided by topography, but it does not appear that heavy, widespread rain fell in Haiti. The southeast Bahamas also might have also seen some relatively heavy rain (1.5 to 5 inches) from the system as it redeveloped thunderstorm activity north of Cuba late last week.


Figure 3. Satellite-estimates precipitation in millimeters for the 7 days preceding Friday, August 5th. Data provided by the Climate Prediction Center.

Beyond Emily, we're seeing a typical upswing in African easterly wave activity for August. Out in the main development region of the Atlantic, between Africa and the Caribbean, we have two waves, one near 50°W and the other around 25°W. Neither of these waves are forecast by any models to develop into tropical cyclones at this point, but the National Hurricane Center did invest the eastern wave over the weekend as 92L. They're no longer updating that invest as of yesterday afternoon, since satellite presentation degraded and the GFS stopped developing the wave. Even though they aren't favored to develop, what these systems might provide is a primer for waves that have yet to leave Africa. The next two waves, scheduled to enter the Atlantic around August 11th and August 15th, are looking slightly more favorable, although model support has waned since last week. This is expected though—its hard to get consensus and consistency from models on waves that have yet to enter open water. We'll know more at the end of this week, for sure.

Angela

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1070. cdtupper
6:15 PM GMT on August 12, 2011
Heading to the Carribean tomorrow. Wish the discussion on the track of the 93L was more detailed ie Model X has it passing north of Guadalope on Wed morn as a tropical depression. Remember if you talk to 6 weather men you will get 7 opinions. If one looks at the Tropical weather overview and get an enlargement it's at the current position. One can't scan to get a better idea of where it will be. Saying Lesser antilles or windward is like saying US east coast or Florida. It can mean a lot of difference. a bit of rain and mildly rough seas vs typing everything down.

Personally I'd like to see these models all being initialised with the same data. Not different data at different times. We might get a better idea of the accuracy of their forcasts.
Member Since: August 24, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 0
1069. SAINTHURRIFAN
5:17 PM GMT on August 09, 2011
Actually Teddy I have not bashed anyone on this blog.I just tried to point out that it seems to me people on here get frustrated and mad when there are no storms active or affecting the conus.When someone points out the current situation which it is.You know Ike rarely post on here anymore due to the fact when he would post the obvious he would get repeatedly chastized for being a downcaster;well his reality forecast came to pass did it not?And I went back and looked at your post from last year, and you basically said the same things you are saying this year.Conditions would change the conus would be threatened etc.If anyone who pointed out a different opinion, you acted as you are now.Well we ended up with Bonnie. This year so far we have Don.So would you agree so far its the same?I never said the pattern would not change just so far like last year it has not. If it does I will point it out.Im sorry if I'am not like a lot of people on here. If a storm forms its the same as the birth of ones new baby.First of all it should treated as a moment of dread not a joyous occasion.Next Wed thier will be a memorial for 217 people that were killed on Aug 17.Three of those indivuals: Hope, Charity,and Faith were never even given a known name by there tombstone.Why do I get aggravated?The majority on here have not been through a storm or old enough to have dealt with the consequences they bring.So for the continued anticipation and glee for destruction and death I'll never understand.There are more people on here that show overjoyment for the formation of a storm,then they do for the possible heartache it will cause on the people it will impact.So in closing I will say the current situation shows nothing.The future who knows, Im not God andd niether are you.No matter how smart we think we are we still have much to learn.Have a blessed day and I have no hard feelings for anyone just wish people would be a little more open minded.
Member Since: August 20, 2005 Posts: 5 Comments: 706
1068. kshipre1
4:53 PM GMT on August 09, 2011
ok Levi. sorry to sound redundant since this has been the discussion for a while, but do you see a stronger A/B high in the coming months?

Or a weaker displaced one placed further south

Also, what's with all these troughs? I thought it was supposed to be less this year.
Member Since: July 12, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 1130
1067. AussieStorm
4:51 PM GMT on August 09, 2011

WTH!!!! Emily!!!! just go, you've driven us all nuts now just go!!!!
Member Since: September 30, 2007 Posts: 9 Comments: 15932
1066. Skeptic33
4:50 PM GMT on August 09, 2011
Quoting ProgressivePulse:



2005 was Neutral trending La Nina.

2/3/06: La Niña Detected in Pacific
A new La Niña, a cooling of the ocean surface that can have global consequences — from the promise of a warmer, drier spring in Georgia to a new wild card in what forecasters already expect will be a hyperactive hurricane season — has emerged in the Pacific, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration reported Thursday.

Past cooling episodes in the same area of the central Pacific have been linked to increases in the number and intensity of hurricanes, but climate experts say it's too early to tell what role this La Niña will play in the 2006 hurricane season, already expected to be more active.

OOPS, Busted Hurricane #'s Forecast, lol.

8/25/06: The Return of El Niño?


That gave us a lot of rainfall during 2007 in the entire Texas. Great growing season. Never seen such green area that far into the summer. Would be nice to see that happen again in 2012...
Member Since: March 8, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 99
1065. ProgressivePulse
4:49 PM GMT on August 09, 2011
1056. Levi32 4:40 PM GMT on August 09, 2011

Yeah, that was comical for sure. I bet we end up on the high side of the #'s this year.
Member Since: August 19, 2005 Posts: 5 Comments: 5043
1064. Neapolitan
4:46 PM GMT on August 09, 2011
NEW BLOG ENTRY FROM ANGELA

Complaint shields up: contains scientific climate content. ;-)
Member Since: November 8, 2009 Posts: 4 Comments: 13459
1063. nrtiwlnvragn
4:46 PM GMT on August 09, 2011
OLD BLOG
Member Since: September 23, 2005 Posts: 14 Comments: 10876
1062. SouthDadeFish
4:45 PM GMT on August 09, 2011
Quoting Levi32:


Except that ridges tend to build in behind exiting tropical cyclones, making it more likely that the one behind it has at least a slightly stronger ridge to direct it farther west. A hurricane's vorticity also makes it tend to kick troughs out and bring them along with them as they recurve.
But as long as you have a progressive shortwave pattern, by the time the next storm comes there is probably another shortwave waiting to kick the storm out. That's why I think unless the storms are very close, there are too many variables to necessarily make this correlation.
Member Since: August 12, 2007 Posts: 11 Comments: 2448
1061. SouthDadeFish
4:44 PM GMT on August 09, 2011
Why you don't trust long range models: Yesterday's 12Z GFS had a hurricane hitting the Yucatan from this wave near Africa. Today's 12Z GFS has the same wave becoming a hurricane and heading for Newfoundland. They are just fun to look at ;~)
Member Since: August 12, 2007 Posts: 11 Comments: 2448
1059. Levi32
4:41 PM GMT on August 09, 2011
Quoting SouthDadeFish:
To be honest, I think it is all just timing. I haven't really seen any correlation like this consistently. I think each situation is unique and not necessarily dependent on the storm in front of it, unless they are close enough to feel the effect of each other's vorticity. Although the closer they are the more similar the pattern will be.


Except that ridges tend to build in behind exiting tropical cyclones, making it more likely that the one behind it has at least a slightly stronger ridge to direct it farther west. A hurricane's vorticity also makes it tend to kick troughs out and bring them along with them as they recurve.
Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 635 Comments: 26548
1057. MississippiWx
4:41 PM GMT on August 09, 2011
Interesting to see the GFS back at developing these African waves. With the upward MJO pulse coming through in the middle and end of this month, we should definitely see an upswing in activity.

Shear being 5-15kts below average across the MDR should help as well:

Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 17 Comments: 10159
1056. Levi32
4:40 PM GMT on August 09, 2011
Quoting ProgressivePulse:



2005 was Neutral trending La Nina.

2/3/06: La Niña Detected in Pacific
A new La Niña, a cooling of the ocean surface that can have global consequences — from the promise of a warmer, drier spring in Georgia to a new wild card in what forecasters already expect will be a hyperactive hurricane season — has emerged in the Pacific, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration reported Thursday.

Past cooling episodes in the same area of the central Pacific have been linked to increases in the number and intensity of hurricanes, but climate experts say it's too early to tell what role this La Niña will play in the 2006 hurricane season, already expected to be more active.

OOPS, Busted Hurricane #'s Forecast, lol.

8/25/06: The Return of El Niño?


Well that was funny because everyone knew the El Nino was coming except for the CPC.
Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 635 Comments: 26548
1055. CybrTeddy
4:39 PM GMT on August 09, 2011
GFS has been consistently indicating though that the wave train is about to begin, we'll be seeing just like last year.. whether they follow the same path as Danielle/Earl/Igor/Julia though remains to be seen. The way the ridge over the USA is set up as Levi mentioned on his video updates is analogous to years like 2008 though, and if a trough's not there to pick it up its possible storms could go into the Caribbean. We've already seen that with two storms this year, Don and Emily. While Don and Emily where both weak storms, they both originated from tropical waves.
Member Since: July 8, 2005 Posts: 259 Comments: 23572
1054. hydrus
4:39 PM GMT on August 09, 2011
The HPC wants to keep the trough over Florida for the next 48 hours..
Member Since: September 27, 2007 Posts: 1 Comments: 20507
1052. SouthDadeFish
4:39 PM GMT on August 09, 2011
Quoting CybrTeddy:
12z GFS, looks like a recurve due to a trough while a secondary system travels west in the Caribbean. Often, as we saw last year, when you get these 1-2 Cape Verde systems right after eachother the 2nd system is normally more inclined to go more west. Danielle recurved east of Bermuda, for example and Earl which formed right behind Danielle ended up not to far away from the US coast.
To be honest, I think it is all just timing. I haven't really seen any correlation like this consistently. I think each situation is unique and not necessarily dependent on the storm in front of it, unless they are close enough to feel the effect of each other's vorticity. Although the closer they are the more similar the pattern will be.
Member Since: August 12, 2007 Posts: 11 Comments: 2448
1051. ProgressivePulse
4:38 PM GMT on August 09, 2011
Quoting hydrus:
They have issued a La-nina watch...Link



2005 was Neutral trending La Nina.

2/3/06: La Niña Detected in Pacific
A new La Niña, a cooling of the ocean surface that can have global consequences — from the promise of a warmer, drier spring in Georgia to a new wild card in what forecasters already expect will be a hyperactive hurricane season — has emerged in the Pacific, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration reported Thursday.

Past cooling episodes in the same area of the central Pacific have been linked to increases in the number and intensity of hurricanes, but climate experts say it's too early to tell what role this La Niña will play in the 2006 hurricane season, already expected to be more active.

OOPS, Busted Hurricane #'s Forecast, lol.

8/25/06: The Return of El Niño?
Member Since: August 19, 2005 Posts: 5 Comments: 5043
1050. tropicfreak
4:37 PM GMT on August 09, 2011
Quoting MississippiWx:


Did you see any words in that quote? That's the only reason why I did it. He's now on my ignore list as well.


Apologize.
Member Since: September 2, 2006 Posts: 110 Comments: 6874
1049. rv1pop
4:36 PM GMT on August 09, 2011
BTW my comment was being addressed to Saint. I am not used to copying comments so --- Sorry if it looked wrong --- I edited it. POP
Member Since: August 18, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 191
1048. MississippiWx
4:36 PM GMT on August 09, 2011
Quoting tropicfreak:


Please don't quote him, he's jason and I have him on ignore.


Did you see any words in that quote? That's the only reason why I did it. He's now on my ignore list as well.
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 17 Comments: 10159
1047. NICycloneChaser
4:36 PM GMT on August 09, 2011
Quoting CybrTeddy:
12z GFS, looks like a recurve due to a trough while a secondary system travels west in the Caribbean. Often, as we saw last year, when you get these 1-2 Cape Verde systems right after eachother the 2nd system is normally more inclined to go more west. Danielle recurved east of Bermuda, for example and Earl which formed right behind Danielle ended up not to far away from the US coast.


At the same time, Fiona and Julia stayed east of their bigger brothers, Earl and Igor. Though this was probably because they formed so close behind the first storm, so had a tendency to follow them, and eventually get killed by their outflow.
Member Since: August 10, 2010 Posts: 2 Comments: 1971
1046. CybrTeddy
4:36 PM GMT on August 09, 2011
Quoting rv1pop:

I have enjoyed your comments in the past. 'Round here we'd say, "pull the cheat grass out of your feet (or ???) and quit complaining." I would rather read you good comments than put you on ignore.
Thanks
BTW I had only 2 on my ignore list since I started - I now have 13! This is nutz. Please give us the good old blog. Thanks again.


Yea sorry about that, I normally don't tend to stray offtopic.. I try to keep it focused on tropical weather instead of cyber drama and AGW.
Member Since: July 8, 2005 Posts: 259 Comments: 23572
1045. tropicfreak
4:35 PM GMT on August 09, 2011
Quoting MississippiWx:


Like a BOSS!


Please don't quote him, he's jason and I have him on ignore.
Member Since: September 2, 2006 Posts: 110 Comments: 6874
1044. MississippiWx
4:34 PM GMT on August 09, 2011
Quoting tropicalweather12:


Like a BOSS!
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 17 Comments: 10159
1043. tropicfreak
4:34 PM GMT on August 09, 2011
Quoting Boca:
Last couple of years there was so much talk about the extremely high SST in and near Carib. Why isn't anyone talking that up this year? Or, have I missed it....or is it not as bad? Thanks for info.


We have been talking about it a lot this season, just you haven't been around.
Member Since: September 2, 2006 Posts: 110 Comments: 6874
1042. CybrTeddy
4:33 PM GMT on August 09, 2011
12z GFS, looks like a recurve due to a trough while a secondary system travels west in the Caribbean. Often, as we saw last year, when you get these 1-2 Cape Verde systems right after eachother the 2nd system is normally more inclined to go more west. Danielle recurved east of Bermuda, for example and Earl which formed right behind Danielle ended up not to far away from the US coast.
Member Since: July 8, 2005 Posts: 259 Comments: 23572
1041. SouthDadeFish
4:33 PM GMT on August 09, 2011
Hour 168: Trough trying to erode western edge of high and pull "Franklin" out to sea.

Member Since: August 12, 2007 Posts: 11 Comments: 2448
1039. NICycloneChaser
4:32 PM GMT on August 09, 2011
Is that an eye????

Member Since: August 10, 2010 Posts: 2 Comments: 1971
1038. SouthDadeFish
4:32 PM GMT on August 09, 2011
Quoting Gearsts:
What a huge mess of a high is that :O
Much weaker than the last 12Z run though.
Member Since: August 12, 2007 Posts: 11 Comments: 2448
1036. Boca
4:31 PM GMT on August 09, 2011
Last couple of years there was so much talk about the extremely high SST in and near Carib. Why isn't anyone talking that up this year? Or, have I missed it....or is it not as bad? Thanks for info.
Member Since: May 24, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 47
1035. Gearsts
4:30 PM GMT on August 09, 2011
Quoting SouthDadeFish:
12 GFS showing a weaker A/B high over the Central ATL.

What a huge mess of a high is that :O
Member Since: August 2, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 1430
1034. PakaSurvivor
4:30 PM GMT on August 09, 2011
Quoting nrtiwlnvragn:
At times this blog reminds me of the Randy Travis song with the lyrics;

As long as old men sit & talk about the weather
As long as old women sit & talk about old men



Many on here are the men, some the women.


First, good Song!
Second me and the little woman talked about that this weekend. We've turn into Our Parents! : 0 (Nooooooooooooooooooooo!)
Member Since: September 20, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 235
1033. kshipre1
4:29 PM GMT on August 09, 2011
looking at the image you posted (post 1029), the High looks to be a bit south instead of displaced north or northeastward
Member Since: July 12, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 1130
1032. SouthDadeFish
4:29 PM GMT on August 09, 2011
12 GFS showing a weaker A/B high over the Central ATL.

Member Since: August 12, 2007 Posts: 11 Comments: 2448
1030. nrtiwlnvragn
4:27 PM GMT on August 09, 2011
At times this blog reminds me of the Randy Travis song with the lyrics;

As long as old men sit & talk about the weather
As long as old women sit & talk about old men



Many on here are the men, some the women.
Member Since: September 23, 2005 Posts: 14 Comments: 10876
1028. tropicfreak
4:26 PM GMT on August 09, 2011
I just got some nasty mail again from Jason, anyone else getting this?
Member Since: September 2, 2006 Posts: 110 Comments: 6874
1027. rv1pop
4:25 PM GMT on August 09, 2011
Quoting CybrTeddy:


And I've been here since 2005, so how on Earth could I be JFV? Honestly Saint, your not giving an opinion your screaming at everyone with huge paragraphs saying 'the blog standards are crap' or 'everyones a load of wischasters', ect, ect. That is an opinion but it has nothing to do with tropical weather. How about you stick to that for once instead of bashing everyone on the blog. Anyways, back on topic.

-----edit: Note to Saint ---

I have enjoyed your comments in the past. 'Round here we'd say, "pull the cheat grass out of your feet (or ???) and quit complaining." I would rather read you good comments than put you on ignore.
Thanks
BTW I had only 2 on my ignore list since I started - I now have 13! This is nutz. Please give us the good old blog. Thanks again.
Member Since: August 18, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 191
1026. kshipre1
4:24 PM GMT on August 09, 2011
if I am correct that H in the central atlantic looks to be the bermuda high

looks like it is sliding a bit more westward

yeah, that could be a problem for the CONUS
Member Since: July 12, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 1130
1025. CybrTeddy
4:24 PM GMT on August 09, 2011
12z GFS is running,

114 hours out.
Member Since: July 8, 2005 Posts: 259 Comments: 23572
1023. kshipre1
4:22 PM GMT on August 09, 2011
I think I see what you and Levi are saying about the ridging pattern
Member Since: July 12, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 1130
1022. hydrus
4:22 PM GMT on August 09, 2011
Quoting PakaSurvivor:
1005 Hydrus

Will those Low bring rain to Texas and New Mexico?
I am not sure yet, but the most important is that there is no big blue H there.......Which is cool in its own right..Could mean a nice break in the ridge or sumtin..
Member Since: September 27, 2007 Posts: 1 Comments: 20507
1021. nrtiwlnvragn
4:21 PM GMT on August 09, 2011
Quoting tropicfreak:


Low almost closed???


Elongated within the monsoon trof, will need to consolidate and break away.
Member Since: September 23, 2005 Posts: 14 Comments: 10876
1020. PakaSurvivor
4:21 PM GMT on August 09, 2011
Quoting Minnemike:
you inadvertently answered my question.. thanks!

Actualy I tried to answer your question but when attempting to do TWO things at once at my age, you Oops alot :)
Member Since: September 20, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 235

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Jeff co-founded the Weather Underground in 1995 while working on his Ph.D. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990.

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