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Summer of 95

Drizzle At The North Pole?

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Reading an account of a visit to the North Pole by icebreaker at http://confluence.org/confluence.php?visitid=16370 I was amazed to see the following comments on conditions at the Pole:

It drizzled and I had to wipe the GPS screen from time to time with a cloth.

Although it was only about 0°C we were freezing during the confluence dance of the ship and resumed the party in the bar.

This trip was made in July this year. I know this is midsummer, and the sun is up for 24 hours, but I would never have thought it possible to reach freezing point and drizzle at the North Pole! Were these real freak conditions, or is that to be expected in the Arctic in summer nowadays? I know that the ice moves and breaks on the ocean, so it can see patches of open water at the Pole, but I would never have imagined the air could reach 0C.

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If you look at the Arctic temperatures this year you can see that the temperature on average always rises above 0C (blue line). So it would seem likely the temperature is above 0C regularly during the summer at the North Pole.

http://ocean.dmi.dk/arctic/meant80n.uk.php

I'm not sure what you mean by nowadays, the conditions this year are similar to what we have seen over the last 100 years. As to what causes the drizzle to form I don't know exactly how that works.

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"Nowadays" as in the Arctic is warmer today than it used to be. That said, I doubt that drizzle at the North Pole in summer would have been that unusual in the 1970s and 1980s. Average temperatures in July are between 0 and -5C.

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"Nowadays" as in the Arctic is warmer today than it used to be. That said, I doubt that drizzle at the North Pole in summer would have been that unusual in the 1970s and 1980s. Average temperatures in July are between 0 and -5C.

Also even if its below freezing you can still get rain and drizzle. I have experienced light rain at -6 while cross country skiing in North Sweden (within the arctic circle).

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Reading an account of a visit to the North Pole by icebreaker at http://confluence.or...p?visitid=16370 I was amazed to see the following comments on conditions at the Pole:

It drizzled and I had to wipe the GPS screen from time to time with a cloth.

Although it was only about 0°C we were freezing during the confluence dance of the ship and resumed the party in the bar.

This trip was made in July this year. I know this is midsummer, and the sun is up for 24 hours, but I would never have thought it possible to reach freezing point and drizzle at the North Pole! Were these real freak conditions, or is that to be expected in the Arctic in summer nowadays? I know that the ice moves and breaks on the ocean, so it can see patches of open water at the Pole, but I would never have imagined the air could reach 0C.

I am surprised with 24/7 sun why you would not think temps would climb above 0c at the North pole

If temps can reach 10c at 12,000ft in January (North America) why not in the high artic in summer. The angle of the sun is similar

Places inside the artic cirlce of course e.g North of Fairbanks often reach 80f in the summer

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Also worth bearing in mind is that 850hPa temperatures are often well above -5C in the summer months at the pole the majority of the time. What you tend to get is a very shallow layer of colder air around 0-2C sitting at the surface with milder air above. It is also the reason why its quite foggy up there.

In essence its rather like a 'mild' easterly we get here as the air is moderated at the surface to give low cloud, mist, fog and drizzle. Ive no doubt that if the surface is cold enough then you'll get graupel and fine snow too.

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Also even if its below freezing you can still get rain and drizzle. I have experienced light rain at -6 while cross country skiing in North Sweden (within the arctic circle).

True, and it also ties in nicely with Reef's post regarding 850hPa temperatures. If the upper air is well above freezing, any falling snow will melt, and so even if the surface temperature is well below freezing, the result, at most, will be freezing rain rather than snow.

I recall reading that in the back end of the January 1987 cold spell, when warmer upper air moved in from the east replacing the exceptionally cold air that brought the snowfalls, drizzle was widely observed in south-east England with temperatures of -4C.

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I am surprised with 24/7 sun why you would not think temps would climb above 0c at the North pole

If temps can reach 10c at 12,000ft in January (North America) why not in the high artic in summer. The angle of the sun is similar

Places inside the artic cirlce of course e.g North of Fairbanks often reach 80f in the summer

I would have thought that it being in the middle of a freezing ocean, which is (for the time being) ice-covered year round, would prevent the temperature at sea-level rising above freezing. IIRC the highest ever recorded at the South Pole is around -15; I know it's much higher there but it's in the middle of a continent, and has at least the same (more?) solar radiation. Or does the amount of ice there suppress summer temperatures even more so than an oceanic location would?

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The Antarctic is a bit of a different animal to the North Pole. The South pole is essentially deep inside a continental interior as well as being 2800m in elevation. This means that even in high summer there temperatures are very low. If there was less altitude you'd probably get higher temperatures. The North pole on the other hand is a frozen or semi-frozen ocean surrounded by warm (in summer) landmasses with plumes of air regularly moving northwards. Temperatures at the surface are quite stable and close to that of the water/ice, but higher in the atmosphere they tend to vary greatly (it has been known for 5-10C 850hPa air to be up there):

http://www.wetterzentrale.de/archive/2005/avn/Rhavn00220050801.png

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The Antarctic is a bit of a different animal to the North Pole. The South pole is essentially deep inside a continental interior as well as being 2800m in elevation. This means that even in high summer there temperatures are very low. If there was less altitude you'd probably get higher temperatures. The North pole on the other hand is a frozen or semi-frozen ocean surrounded by warm (in summer) landmasses with plumes of air regularly moving northwards. Temperatures at the surface are quite stable and close to that of the water/ice, but higher in the atmosphere they tend to vary greatly (it has been known for 5-10C 850hPa air to be up there):

http://www.wetterzen...00220050801.png

Apparently in the past, Antarctica was subject to more meridional flows, and hence was much warmer in summer than it currently is. In modern times the continent is insulated by rampant westerlies, and likewise surrounding regions are somewhat insulated from Antarctica.

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