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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Neutral conditions remain in the tropical Pacific
Issued on Wednesday 3 August | Product Code IDCKGEWWOO

Neutral ENSO conditions persist in the tropical Pacific, with most atmospheric and oceanic indicators at near normal levels. Pacific Ocean temperatures have cooled over the last month, but remain within neutral thresholds. Atmospheric indicators of ENSO such as trade winds and cloudiness near the date-line have fluctuated around normal.

The majority of international climate model forecasts of ENSO show that neutral conditions are likely to continue for the remainder of the southern winter and into spring with the chances of an El Niño developing now considered unlikely. In fact, more models are now predicting further cooling over the coming season


From the Aussies last week. Possible bias emerging towards La Nina but with the "time lag" issue, not sure if it will impact our H-Season. Something worth keeping an eye on over the next two months.
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hydrus,

thanks for the links earlier. sorry for the dumb question but why is everyone talking about going back to La Nina? It seems that we are in a fairly strong ENSO neutral pattern
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Quoting hydrus:
Going from La-Nina to neutral back to La-nina again. Could get strange around here.


Strange is good... keeps things interesting.
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theirs a arrow signature over florida if you look at regional radar,its pointing east
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Quoting CorneliaMarie:
Will the record low sea ice affect New Orleans?


That will happen when sharks start walking...
Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 32559
Quoting whepton3:


This is the time to make sure you have your La Nina preparedness kit ready.

What will the implications be in terms of our season I wonder?


La Niña usually increases tropical cyclone activity in the Atlantic basin. If it comes in the month, or after the month, of September, we may be seeing an abnormally active OSD (October-November-December).

Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 32559
Quoting whepton3:


This is the time to make sure you have your La Nina preparedness kit ready.

What will the implications be in terms of our season I wonder?
Going from La-Nina to neutral back to La-nina again. Could get strange around here.
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Quoting hydrus:
They have issued a La-nina watch...Link


This is the time to make sure you have your La Nina preparedness kit ready.

What will the implications be in terms of our season I wonder?
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Quoting hydrus:
Here,s a sight, two lows over texas in 120 hours..


That is quite a surprise, thanks!
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Quoting MahFL:


Not NE FL, it's dry as a bone still.
My bad, should have said peninsula.
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They have issued a La-nina watch...Link
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What if Emily redevelops now, dissipates, then reforms around where Grace in 2009 did? I love tracking storms, but this is getting weird.
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Quoting BahaHurican:
This storm is a nuisance.
Well, one can usually find a way to rid themselves of a nuisance...
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Anyway, I'm out for now.... will check back later as opportunity permits.
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Quoting MahFL:
"What did folks do before the sophisticated models ?"

They died when storms "arrived" without much notice, like Galverston in 1900.


Or 1923 Labor Day cane in the Keys when someone blew off a telegraph report from a forecaster in Cuba about a storm headed their way............
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Quoting Patrap:
3D NEXRAD Radar

This is an experimental BETA project.




Not something to try when your on cheap pharmaceuticals... made me dizzy.
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Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:
Well...Emily is up on the Navy page, it has a floater and it says "Emily (AL05)" and ATCF has it as a tropical depression...Think the NHC will declare it later on?

This storm is a nuisance.
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Well...Emily is up on the Navy page, it has a floater on the SSD page and it says "Emily (AL05)" and ATCF has it as a tropical depression...Think the NHC will declare it later on?

Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 32559
Quoting hunkerdown:
A lot of GFScasters on this morning...based on this years history, not a group I would want to be in. One thing a lot of people have forgotten, thats to use what God gave you instead of model worshipping.
And here I was thinking He gave us the GFS.... lol

Quoting JrWeathermanFL:
Whats at about 8.5N 45W? Propably a wave, but its looking interesting...
There's a wave there, had a dissipating low with it last analysis I looked at...

Quoting Tropicsweatherpr:


You meant 45-50W right?
Totally... just fixed it... lol... Ta...
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947. MahFL
"What did folks do before the sophisticated models ?"

They died when storms "arrived" without much notice, like Galverston in 1900.
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Ex-Emily is still spinning away several hundred miles away from any landmasses. It will be interesting to see if she does what Cindy did, and form into a tropical cyclone in this area. Of course, in Ex-Emily's case, it would be re-reform into a tropical cyclone.

Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 32559
Quoting cloudburst2011:
the pattern i was talking about last month has set up perfectly...the A/B high has set up very far south being pushed down by the trofs that continue to keep pushing south...this will increase the shear and keep anything from hitting fla and the east coast for 2011...the SAL shows signs of letting up so anything that woud form would take a due west course into the caribbean then either head into central america or the yucatan...this is a repeat of last year...it will be the islands getting really bad hurricanes this year...all they can hope for with the A/B high that far south is for the SAL to continue and take the starch out of those powerful waves....there is only one wave worth mentioning and thats the one that came off the african coast and it had a strong surface spin to it...this could be giving the winwards trouble over the weekend...
I agree with you right up to the "Central America or Yucatan" point. That same troughiness that keeps the high solid and relatively low in the EATL will be constantly eroding the western edge of that high. That's why I keep saying anybody from Nigaragua to Nova Scotia could get hit this year. I don't think this is going to be 2010 with storms ending up in Mexico; there are going to be recurves, and it will be as good as a WAG from storm to storm whether there'll be a weakness within the requisite time from to allow a particular storm to escape north.
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942. MahFL
Quoting hydrus:
Florida getting soaked


Not NE FL, it's dry as a bone still.
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941. LBAR
Is it me or is the monsoon trough abnormally high in latitude over Africa?
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3D NEXRAD Radar

This is an experimental BETA project.


Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 426 Comments: 129093
Quoting RitaEvac:
Heat is about to break records in a few days over TX. Dallas and Waco is nearing it's consecutive days of 100+ all time record

Austin's already broken all of its available records. Nothing left now but to be #1....:(
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Quoting hydrus:
Large low and trough over N.E. in 144 hours..
if a tree falls in the forest but no one is there to hear it...just sayin'
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Quoting RitaEvac:
The rigged game is on

11,025.96
+216.11
The Asian markets stabilized..it will come upward significantly now..
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934. SLU
Sigh ...

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Quoting Levi32:
By Day 10 the east coast trough is basically gone, replaced by anomalous ridging over southeastern Canada. If a storm were there to the south, it would come into the coast as the trough lifts out.



I'm glad someone like Levi is here to interpret maps like this...the one on the right kinda looks like what one of my kids would do to a kid's meal placemat at Friendly's or something!
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Heat is about to break records in a few days over TX. Dallas and Waco is nearing it's consecutive days of 100+ all time record
Member Since: July 14, 2008 Posts: 1 Comments: 9648
Large low and trough over N.E. in 144 hours..
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GFS ensembles show week 2 temperatures a lot cooler than they have been. The ensemble mean is for near normal, but if you look at the individual members, there are two main solutions. One is overall chill in the east, and the other is a band of heat, but that heat is almost always along or north of I-40. This kind of a pattern can set off the hurricane season once continental heights and convection are decreased.

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Quoting CybrTeddy:


TBH he's been on mine for a while.


Last year I was much more forgiving. This year, my ignore list is filling up quickly.
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By Day 10 the east coast trough is basically gone, replaced by anomalous ridging over southeastern Canada. If a storm were there to the south, it would come into the coast as the trough lifts out.

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Morning
Member Since: July 14, 2008 Posts: 1 Comments: 9648
Please tell me Emily isn't back......
Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 32559
Quoting CybrTeddy:



You know, that's a good question. I think they used that and buoy and ship data to check for a closed circulation and intensity. They also might have guessed strength by satellite intensity.


Right; and dangerous too but I suppose they relied on Mariner observations who now, as the result of technology, avoid the storm location altogether........
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Member Since: July 14, 2008 Posts: 1 Comments: 9648
Morning RitaEvac.
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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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