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Snow & Ice coverage in the Northern Hemisphere Winter 2020/21


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Weather outlook for the Arctic is now changing.

The warmer winds blowing up through the Bering Straits and into Chukchi, ESS and Laptev are being displaced over the next few days as the winds drop, and back more southerly - caused by the string of lows over the Russian coastline gradually moving south and westwards..   and with high pressure expanding out from Greenland into the Svalbard area.

Much colder air, gradually forming,  over Siberia and low pressure will mean a rapid expansion of the snowfields there, and as we have seen today will soon engulf Scandinavia.

Snow is likely to spread rapidly westwards from Asia into Northern Europe.

Over in North America cold is becoming entrenched and the snow is expanding to cover most of the north of the continent.

Sea Ice - the last 3 days have been appalling for sea ice extent,but is causing compaction more then melting -  caused by the weather conditions prevailing.  I now expect a gradual improvement over the next 3 days and a rapid expansion starting later on this week, as the cold spreads out of Siberia. 

Expect the sea ice to move rapidly out from Siberian coastline.

Below are a selection of charts from CR to show my views -

Today 

image.thumb.png.59ce105dc4bff7e0647045a870dada26.pngimage.thumb.png.8d8dde348a198d4c744e930e1891b703.pngimage.thumb.png.44b43a4e8728ecf229eb8775a29d77e7.png   

 

3 days Average -

image.thumb.png.a69c2ec09fa3775fe328f0f12b36f695.pngimage.thumb.png.4e0a2e4cb6545117db0a0a8e87f7867b.pngimage.thumb.png.52738bd08be9c24929f4a18198ed6c9a.png   

!0 Days -

image.thumb.png.0d7a6ec994e9a33a21b22ba39dabf03b.pngimage.thumb.png.27d7811553ef77539959440f5658d51d.pngimage.thumb.png.2c594662d56304b490ed5d4079ff0e6b.png   

As they say - time will tell.

MIA

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Siberian snow at last. Looks like an area larger than the UK just got dumped on  

Noticed we didn't have Snow & Ice thread yet for this year, one of my favourites of the year. So here's the latest offering:  

Well, well, well.... Checked out US NIC early, as I am out in the morning....  Snow cover -    small reductions in both East and West. But Its an absolute killer for ice extent.....

Posted Images

Each of the last 5 days have set record large -ve anomalies for Arctic sea ice extent, relative to the 1981-2010 mean.
The previous record had been 3.068 million km2 on October 8th, 2012.
The last 5 days of this year have been (in millions of km2):
-3.088
-3.128
-3.167
-3.209
-3.275

What we're seeing regarding Arctic sea ice at the moment is truly exceptional.

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On 18/10/2020 at 20:31, Midlands Ice Age said:

Weather outlook for the Arctic is now changing.

The warmer winds blowing up through the Bering Straits and into Chukchi, ESS and Laptev are being displaced over the next few days as the winds drop, and back more southerly - caused by the string of lows over the Russian coastline gradually moving south and westwards..   and with high pressure expanding out from Greenland into the Svalbard area.

Much colder air, gradually forming,  over Siberia and low pressure will mean a rapid expansion of the snowfields there, and as we have seen today will soon engulf Scandinavia.

Snow is likely to spread rapidly westwards from Asia into Northern Europe.

Over in North America cold is becoming entrenched and the snow is expanding to cover most of the north of the continent.

Sea Ice - the last 3 days have been appalling for sea ice extent,but is causing compaction more then melting -  caused by the weather conditions prevailing.  I now expect a gradual improvement over the next 3 days and a rapid expansion starting later on this week, as the cold spreads out of Siberia. 

Expect the sea ice to move rapidly out from Siberian coastline.

Below are a selection of charts from CR to show my views -

Today 

image.thumb.png.59ce105dc4bff7e0647045a870dada26.pngimage.thumb.png.8d8dde348a198d4c744e930e1891b703.pngimage.thumb.png.44b43a4e8728ecf229eb8775a29d77e7.png   

 

3 days Average -

image.thumb.png.a69c2ec09fa3775fe328f0f12b36f695.pngimage.thumb.png.4e0a2e4cb6545117db0a0a8e87f7867b.pngimage.thumb.png.52738bd08be9c24929f4a18198ed6c9a.png   

!0 Days -

image.thumb.png.0d7a6ec994e9a33a21b22ba39dabf03b.pngimage.thumb.png.27d7811553ef77539959440f5658d51d.pngimage.thumb.png.2c594662d56304b490ed5d4079ff0e6b.png   

As they say - time will tell.

MIA

Its happening folks...

Siberia cooling off quickly now.

Already snow covering the whole of Northern/Central Russia and now quite rapidly into Northern Europe.

Ice starting its re-expansion now that the winds are falling lighter.

I am expecting a much improved Masie today and large gains this week.

image.thumb.png.487565f07d892b4e58b199ab760be402.pngimage.thumb.png.0fdd26187f377709cade73752a0d5db5.png    

MIA 

Edited by Midlands Ice Age
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The NSIDC extent has set a new record for the largest -ve anomaly (relative to 81-10) for each of the last 6 days.
We are currently:
- lowest on record by 380,000 km²
- below the 81-10 average by 3,309,000 km²
- below the 80s average by 3,935,000 km²

NSIDC19th.thumb.jpg.0be8370b2e5a8fa8f68789b937b9b386.jpg

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1 hour ago, BornFromTheVoid said:

The NSIDC extent has set a new record for the largest -ve anomaly (relative to 81-10) for each of the last 6 days.
We are currently:
- lowest on record by 380,000 km²
- below the 81-10 average by 3,309,000 km²
- below the 80s average by 3,935,000 km²

NSIDC19th.thumb.jpg.0be8370b2e5a8fa8f68789b937b9b386.jpg

I'm not really knowledgeable in this respect, but, due to the low ice extent that we've been seeing, what this have side effects on the upcoming winter and encourage HLB in the hight latitdudes over the pole? I'm a strong believer that this happened in 2012, on our all time  record breaking low ice extent, which is why we had a cold winter 2012/2013.

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10 hours ago, Midlands Ice Age said:

Its happening folks...

Siberia cooling off quickly now.

Already snow covering the whole of Northern/Central Russia and now quite rapidly into Northern Europe.

Ice starting its re-expansion now that the winds are falling lighter.

I am expecting a much improved Masie today and large gains this week.    

MIA 

Masie today...

 Extent total 5303K KM2 An increase of 109K based upon yesterday, but only an increase of £24K Km2 based upon the highs of the last 5 days.  The extent on Masie is now at a record low.

Good news is that yesterday the ice started its increase in most of  the major sea areas, after the previous 5 days had stayed roughly constant.

As suggested the jet streak into the Arctic from the East has now subsided and I now expect a rapid advance of the sea ice extent from its record very low levels for the time of year.

Beaufort (+31K) has continued to increase during the stasis, and has now joined the Alaskan coastline ice. Chukchi (+20K) after suffering only minor drops in extent. The ESS actually gained yesterday (+7K) and Laptev(+1K) also steadied.

Kara and Barents remained nearly ice free, but Greenland(+4K) and Baffin(+3K) managed small gains after losses in the last couple of days.

CAA gained (+7K) after heavy losses of (-50K), but Hudson lost the ice it had formed (-6K). The Central Arctic gained (+43K) to eliminate its losses over the last few days.

Interestingly extent losses have been greatest in the North American sea areas, whilst attention has been on the ESS, Laptev and Chukchi.

The ice seems to have been compacted over the last few days on the Eastern Arctic front, rather than actually falling , and this may lead to a more robust pack later on in the year.

DMI and PIOMAS have both recently shown ice volume to be the second lowest (and still growing) , hence the ice is not melting there.

DMI (shown below) is still increasing (see the insert), and is now showing a line of thicker Laptev ice just inland from the ice edges.

image.thumb.png.7688f828a0d905403d79888d9b2e13b7.png

MIA

Edited by Midlands Ice Age
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The ice continues to creep out between 19th and 20th.

 

image.thumb.png.d9045ed820d191a595a742639af634a6.png

image.thumb.png.84d91a80e3be3f6850ea89e67d278781.png

 

Sadly though the ice is still incredibly poor compared to the year I always look at, 2010. 

Though the snow has moved far further west than it had in 2010. 

 

image.thumb.png.971486463d10417182d5c9d703f2f7fd.png

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With far less ice means more moisture to pick up generally which might explain increased scope of snow accumulations in recent years.

To be honest the sea ice situation looks very poor at the moment. Even looking ahead we are struggling to see the depth of cold pooling up there to really speed things up.

Not seeing much sub -16c @850 hpa in the right places for the forseeable!

 

Edited by The Eagle
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Thanks Throwoff for the above 

Masie extent today has grown by only 54K KM2 and is well below average and in lowest place.

This despite gains in Beaufort(+13K) , Chukchi(+12K) and ESS(+7K), and small falls in Laptev, Kara and Barents.

North America showed little movement.

So why have we seen large drops in extent and yet the volume (and thickness) remain above last year (2019)?.

I consulted DMI thickness and volume graphs and these are the results from this  year and last year -

     20/10/20                                                                        20/10/2019

 image.thumb.png.7b3c1b8c47f5b69ed97aabb6d7981ad5.png         image.thumb.png.52399ef93c16f394b0058e7aacbd55a2.png

 

Can anyone else spot the difference?

The ice is much thicker this year.

 

So I then looked to see why this has happened over the last couple of months - 

 

        20/10/2010                                                      20/9/2020                                                  20/8/2020

image.thumb.png.7b3c1b8c47f5b69ed97aabb6d7981ad5.png    image.thumb.png.d7a96720d6c3c12d4ced9228e7031782.png   image.thumb.png.04b5dfd65e46d2e1570acc199435dcaf.png

 

Well it seems as though this year ice growth has gone into compaction and thickness rather than into the extent growth.

 

What affects will this have longer term and what has caused it?

The first point is unknown, but I suspect that the second is caused by the piling into the pack of the easterly gales over the last few days and weeks.

Time to wait and see what happens.

MIA   

image.png

Edited by Midlands Ice Age
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9 hours ago, The Eagle said:

With far less ice means more moisture to pick up generally which might explain increased scope of snow accumulations in recent years.

To be honest the sea ice situation looks very poor at the moment. Even looking ahead we are struggling to see the depth of cold pooling up there to really speed things up.

Not seeing much sub -16c @850 hpa in the right places for the forseeable!

 

Well fortunately the forecast looks much improved closer to normal but much colder than it has been. The ESS still looks to struggle to get real cold air, but the Laptev I think we will see rapid expansion/progress here.

B2102151-24D0-4737-8CFD-E4D5443E115B.thumb.png.375bab3772a7ffb08c7ea24335a0cb34.png2E87BBE3-B134-493A-9991-71F59C66522E.thumb.png.3ec396fcce6a5f5272073173fd909012.png

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22 hours ago, The Eagle said:

With far less ice means more moisture to pick up generally which might explain increased scope of snow accumulations in recent years.

To be honest the sea ice situation looks very poor at the moment. Even looking ahead we are struggling to see the depth of cold pooling up there to really speed things up.

Not seeing much sub -16c @850 hpa in the right places for the forseeable!

 

Where’s the ‘right’ places? 

 

BFTP

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The sea ice is in a truly terrible state, and it's descent into record low territory is growing each day. No significant ice formation yet along the Russian coastline, something not seen previously and extra surprising considering those seas used to have ice throughout the summer in most years.

AnimationReg.thumb.gif.16f3892594a9985198048d9c050b1c49.gif

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1 hour ago, BornFromTheVoid said:

The sea ice is in a truly terrible state, and it's descent into record low territory is growing each day. No significant ice formation yet along the Russian coastline, something not seen previously and extra surprising considering those seas used to have ice throughout the summer in most years.

AnimationReg.thumb.gif.16f3892594a9985198048d9c050b1c49.gif

Yes it really is shocking....and the lack of any substantive increase in the last third of October is a huge eye opener. Not good from any angle. I know theories around arctic ice loss having an impact on the strength and angle of the jet have been knocked back in recent years, but we might well be in new territory here regarding synoptic impacts. All that open water promoting moisture evaporation and latent warmth (compared to ice) must impact on Siberian patterns in some shape or form. 
 

I enjoy your updates by the way - very informative. 

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2 hours ago, BornFromTheVoid said:

The sea ice is in a truly terrible state, and it's descent into record low territory is growing each day. No significant ice formation yet along the Russian coastline, something not seen previously and extra surprising considering those seas used to have ice throughout the summer in most years.

AnimationReg.thumb.gif.16f3892594a9985198048d9c050b1c49.gif

Its called a climate crisis and its happening now, you are looking at the very predictable outcomes starting to play out with horrific clarity.

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I tweeted this perhaps the lack of dispersal of sea ice is a big factor. The ice itself in CAB is very compact and thick on more recent years I have checked. 2019 has smallest volume and you can see why. Maybe the patterns have been strangely good news for survival of the ice in high Arctic next summer, but of course it needs a buffer zone.

 

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3 minutes ago, Daniel* said:

I tweeted this perhaps the lack of dispersal of sea ice is a big factor. The ice itself in CAB is very compact and thick on more recent years I have checked. 2019 has smallest volume and you can see why. Maybe the patterns have been strangely good news for survival of the ice in high Arctic next summer, but of course it needs a buffer zone.

 

Unfortunately, those DMI volume measures aren't considered reliable. One of the more obvious clues being that they have the minimum occurring in August, which tells you that something in their physics has gone awry.
The latest PIOMAS has 2019 equal with 2012 up to October 15th (since then, extent and area has dropped to record low values though).

MidOctALL.thumb.jpg.4981ab6d45c83f5d6cb595a2764926c3.jpg

SMOS satellite data also suggests that the ice is at record thin levels. And we should have cryosat estimates within a few weeks too.

On top of that, we have the images from the N. Pole this year which showed the ice to be thin and scattered

EgLqGTJXkAAZMR2?format=jpg&name=large EgLqGSOWkAA8u4s?format=jpg&name=large

And this report from a new Russian Icebreaker, wishing to test itself against some thick sea ice

 

Sorry if this comes across like a bombardment of counter info! It's just that from all reliable, standard measures and reports from people that actually went into the central Arctic, there doesn't appear to be any positives to pull from the current situation.
The central ice might be better than 2016 though? it was in a terrible situation that year (but with much more volume and area/extent overall).

EgL3ulKXoAMQvRT?format=jpg&name=large

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Not at all, I appreciate the correct information/sources, it does look extremely bleak in that case. But pretty fascinating in a morbid way how far will it go? 

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Many posts above...

I just repeat the DMI reports over the last 2 months...

The reports of the ice (Polarstern, sailing to the pole,etc) occurred back in August.Here we can see that the ice was very thin at that point, and there was indeed a ridge of very thin ice leading directly to the pole..

Look at what has happened since. 

20/8/2020                                                                20/9/2020                                                         20/10/2020

image.thumb.png.93124e5803b185cef57b40b2eead2aa5.pngimage.thumb.png.53a06559bd984f080d8ab5b5b632c922.pngimage.thumb.png.c9c57b2a61d2dc24a0af72a52d0ee63d.png       

 

This shows that within the last 6 weeks the ice over the central pack has thickened dramatically. 

(Unless it is being suggested,  DMI is not a reliable indicator)?

It does appear to agree with PIOMAS  

MIA 

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It's kinda predictable what's happening over in the Siberian arctic. It was just so obvious aslong weather patterns played along that the Beaufort was going to refreeze quick but the Siberian side really slow. Problem has been persistent compacting winds which did initially bought colder air from Siberia but then switched towards the Pacific and high SSTS has meant a lack of coastal ice. What is also evident this year is the lack of arm of ESS ice and still no signs of this developing and whilst that is the case, the laptev will struggle to refreeze. 

Just how far behind will we remain. 

 

Edited by Geordiesnow
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Balanced summary GeordieS..

Meanwhile, back on the topic,  USNOC has shown the snow fields increasing steadily again in both the east (Russia and Europe) and the west (N.A.).

Sea Ice growing, (but not yet quickly) in nearly all sea areas apart from Laptev which seems to be still taking the full force of the easterly winds. 

image.thumb.png.eec635bbaad5dd6dff295f9a51a2e0d8.pngimage.thumb.png.21c60a130003aedf6025dde4ab9ed1c6.png                      

MIA                   

 

 

Edited by Midlands Ice Age
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16 hours ago, BornFromTheVoid said:

The sea ice is in a truly terrible state, and it's descent into record low territory is growing each day. No significant ice formation yet along the Russian coastline, something not seen previously and extra surprising considering those seas used to have ice throughout the summer in most years.

AnimationReg.thumb.gif.16f3892594a9985198048d9c050b1c49.gif

And that (oceans of open water) to me anways, looks like the cause of increasing snowfall adjacent to north-facing coastlines... I see nothing to suggest that lake-effect snow won't occur 'up there' any less than it does 'down here'...? 🤔

For peeps to use increased autumnal snowfall as a way of diminishing the current parlous state of the Arctic sea ice, is daft... But then, I guess it's what some folks need to hear/see... a nice white, fluffy comfort blanket?🙊🙉🙈

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8 hours ago, General Cluster said:

And that (oceans of open water) to me anways, looks like the cause of increasing snowfall adjacent to north-facing coastlines... I see nothing to suggest that lake-effect snow won't occur 'up there' any less than it does 'down here'...? 🤔

For peeps to use increased autumnal snowfall as a way of diminishing the current parlous state of the Arctic sea ice, is daft... But then, I guess it's what some folks need to hear/see... a nice white, fluffy comfort blanket?🙊🙉🙈

If enough snow falls I guess into the spring it will hang around a bit longer which will reflect more sunlight, although with the increase in temperature the melt rate will be that much more that added snow depth doesn’t account for much

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