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Mon, 04 Dec 2023
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Extreme Temperatures

Ice Cube

Return of the polar vortex? Stratospheric trifecta signals extreme cold for February

It now appears that the stratosphere will kick off a number of indices that deem February to be the coldest prolonged period of winter thus far. In today's post, I will address multiple indices that favor a significantly colder than normal February.

Part I: The Stratosphere

- First Warming
In the opening days of January, we saw a stratospheric warming event occur. This event was minor, as the chart above (depicting temperature anomalies in the upper latitudes) shows. Nevertheless, this first warming event, coupled with the ongoing warming event is helping to destabilize the polar vortex in the stratosphere. So far this winter, the stratospheric polar vortex has been resistant to any and all attempts to be put down. We can attribute this to the positive phase of the Quasi-Biennial Oscillation (QBO), which is unfavorable for a weak polar vortex. These two first warmings are just tastes of what is to come. While the first warming was minor, it seems to have shaken up the vortex at least a bit, and this ongoing warming event right now is most likely helping with some slight (at the very least) destabilization of the polar vortex.

Arrow Up

Recovery! In 2013 global sea ice was above average for first time in 9 years - Now similar to 1986!

Global sea ice is supposed to be melting away. We are often led to believe that it is at or near record lows. It's global warming after all, and everyone knows that warmth melts ice. But if ice is growing, maybe it's a sign that things are cooling down.

From the chart that follows we do see that global sea ice did take a small hit in the 2000s, especially the Arctic. However the trend for the last three years is definitely a strong upward one.
Global sea ice 1979-2013

Source: arctic.atmos.uiuc.edu/cryosphere/global.daily.ice.area.jpg


Scientists uncover more evidence for dramatic weakening of Gulf Stream, ocean current shut down completely in November 2004

Scientists have uncovered more evidence for a dramatic weakening in the vast ocean current that gives Britain its relatively balmy climate by dragging warm water northwards from the tropics. The slowdown, which climate modellers have predicted will follow global warming, has been confirmed by the most detailed study yet of ocean flow in the Atlantic.

Most alarmingly, the data reveal that a part of the current, which is usually 60 times more powerful than the Amazon river, came to a temporary halt during November 2004.

The nightmare scenario of a shutdown in the meridional ocean current which drives the Gulf stream was dramatically portrayed in The Day After Tomorrow. The climate disaster film had Europe and North America plunged into a new ice age practically overnight.

Although no scientist thinks the switch-off could happen that quickly, they do agree that even a weakening of the current over a few decades would have profound consequences.

Comment: Could such a shutdown of the Gulf Stream lead to, or at least correlate with, the sudden onset of an ice age?

The geological record says it certainly could!

What have we noticed in recent years? Long, cold winters...


Daring tourists queue up to climb frozen waterfall in China

The wall of ice in the Miyun district is perfect for a spot of climbing, providing you have a head for heights

Frozen Waterfall
© Rex
Frozen Waterfall.
It is so cold in the Miyun District that a waterfall has actually frozen solid.

The sub zero conditions have caused havoc in places, but not in China where they're using the plummeting temperatures to their advantage.

Any ice cool tourists brave enough can scale the usually raging torrent with the help of some crampons and a pickax.

Freezing weather conditions have battered much of the globe with parts of America dropping to -60 thanks to Winter Storm Hercules.

Conditions in the north of America are so historically low that the world-famous Niagara Falls actually froze spawning some truly amazing snaps.

Lake Michigan steamed because the water was warmer than the surrounding air, and the small town of Hell froze over - for real.


Fish encased in ice: Mass death in Norway as the water froze

The school of fish perished as they froze to death when the water rapidly froze over this weekend at Lovund island, in the Nordland province in Norway.

A temperature of -7/8°C (that's approx 17-19°F) with an east wind made the bay freeze over very quickly. The fish had probably been chased towards the shore by cormorants and did not make it back to the open sea before the water froze solid.

Aril Slotte at the Sea Research Institute says it's not uncommon for fish to be chased to the shore by predators. The type of fish is described as coalfish or pollack (Pollachius virens).

It made for a striking photo op.
Frozen Fish
© Ingolf Kristiansen
Not the first time this has happened in Nordland this year.

Ice Cube

Sea freezes so fast in Lovund, Norway that thousands of fish are killed instantly

Norwegian public radio (Google-translated) reports on the instant death of thousands of fish in a bay in the island of Lovund, Norway. An air temperature of -7.8 C (17.96 F) combined with a strong east wind froze the sea water instantly, trapping and killing the fish. You can see it in this fishapocalyptic image:


The dog owner says that he has never seen such a phenomenon. NRK claims that the herrings were chased by predators into the bay when the deadly freezing happened. Aril Slotte - the head of pelagic fish department at Norway's Institute of Marine Research - says it is not uncommon for herring to get very near the shore when chased by predators, sometimes getting trapped by the low tide in areas like this bay.


German scientists show climate driven by natural cycles

Climate reveals periodic nature, thus no influence by CO2
We reported recently about our spectral analysis work of European temperatures [1] which shows that during the last centuries all climate changes were caused by periodic (i.e. natural) processes. Non-periodic processes like a warming through the monotonic increase of CO2 in the atmosphere could cause at most 0.1° to 0.2° warming for a doubling of the CO2 content, as it is expected for 2100.

Fig. 1 (Fig. 6 of [1] ) shows the measured temperatures (blue) and the temperatures reconstructed using the 6 strongest frequency components (red) of the Fourier spectrum, indicating that the temperature history is determined by periodic processes only.

One sees from Fig. 1 that two cycles of periods 200+ years and ~65 years dominate the climate changes, the 200+ year cycle causing the largest part of the temperature increase since 1870.

fig 1

Fig. 1: Construction of temperatures using the 6 strongest Fourier components (red), European temperatures from instrumental measurements (blue). It is apparent that only a 200+ year cycle and a ~65 year cycle play a significant role.

Comment: No, CO2 has nothing to do with the extreme climatic changes that we are currently experiencing - and according to the above article, we might have seen nothing yet!

The Winter of 1947 - "Climate disruption" before the current lunacy of "CO2 caused extreme weather" era
The whole CO2 "argument is tiresome and absurd...alarmists living in a fantasy world": Joe Bastardi
Polar vortices have been around forever - they have almost nothing to do with more CO2 in the atmosphere

Cloud Grey

Polar vortex over U.S. brings abnormally mild weather to Scandinavia

© Sylwia Domaradzka/Barcroft Media
Rainy weather in Finland is said to have brought many bears out of hibernation early.
The freezing polar vortex that has gripped the US has extended an abnormally mild winter in Scandinavia and disrupted the seasonal patterns of flora and fauna. The weather system that brought snow, ice and record low temperatures to many parts of the United States this week left Iceland, Greenland and Scandinavia much warmer than normal.

On the back of a generally mild winter, there have been reports of bears emerging early from hibernation in Finland, changes in the behaviour of migratory birds off the coast of Sweden and plants appearing earlier than normal in Norway. Scandinavia and Russia's cold weather during the winter comes from a high-pressure system that keeps warmer, more humid air and low-pressure systems with wind and rain from coming up from the Atlantic Ocean.

The weakening of the jetstream that holds this in place has allowed cold air to spill further south into much of the United States and Canada, while bringing above-average temperatures to parts of Europe.

Snowflake Cold

Heavy snowfall cripples life in hills in Nepal

Heavy snowfall has crippled normal life across the hills of the far-western and mid-western regions. Bhim Dutta Highway, the only motorway to reach the hills of the far-western region, has been blocked by snowfall since Friday night. Hundreds of buses, trucks and other vehicles are now stranded on the highway. As snowfall continues, the highway is unlikely to be cleared any time soon.

"We are unable to clear the highway as it is still snowing," said Keshav Bohara, inspector at the District Police Office (DPO) of Dadeldhura. "We will start clearing the highway only when it stops snowing." Heaps of snow can be seen in Saukharka and Hugulte areas of the highway; and vehicles are now trapped between these two places. There is no way out for them as long as it keeps snowing in the hilly region.


Hundreds of striped bass found dead in Connecticut River tributary due to cold

It appears as if humans weren't the only ones badly stressed by the recent cold snap.

Hundreds of striped bass were found dead this week in the Blackhall River, a tributary of the Connecticut River in Old Lyme, in what state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection officials believe was a natural die-off related to the extreme cold.

Five blue crabs also were found dead.

"We had the same thing happen last year," said David Simpson, director of marine fisheries in the agency's Bureau of Natural Resources. "It was pretty coincidental with the new moon, real low water, very cold weather."

He attributed the deaths, as best as DEEP staffers could determine, to "cold shock," possibly as a result of fish getting trapped in icy cold water by ice and shallow depth.

The DEEP also received reports in Old Lyme of fish drifting out of the Connecticut River and washing up on Long Island Sound beach, but Simpson said he believes those fish were part of the same die-off, which was first reported Sunday by an Old Lyme police officer.

"There's quite a few fish in there and the water really gets shallow during those extreme low tides," he said. "It was a pretty quick change of temperature. There was a salinity change ... I think they just got caught in it."