Thursday, November 15, 2018
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Extreme Heat Event in Northern Siberia and the coastal Arctic Ocean This Week

This isn’t typically what I would write about in this blog, as I typically cover threatening ocean storms. However, this has implications for the Arctic Ocean and possibly mid-latitude weather. An extreme heat event for this particular region…with high temperatures of greater than 40 degrees F above recent normals…will impact the coast of the Arctic Ocean (specifically the Laptev Sea and Eastern Siberian Sea) Wednesday-Friday. This will generate maximum daily temperatures as high as 90-95 degrees near the open ocean coast!

Yes,  you read that correctly.

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Wednesday Afternoon (local time) high temperatures along the Laptev Sea in Northern Siberia. Widespread 80s to mid-90s, over 40 degrees above normal as forecast by the Global Forecast System Model.

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Thursday Afternoon (local time) high temperatures along Eastern Laptev Sea and far western portion of the Eastern Siberian sea in Northern Siberia. Similar temperatures and departures to Wednesday.

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Friday Afternoon (local time) high temperatures along the far western portion of the Eastern Siberian Sea in Northern Siberia. Widespread 80s to mid-90s, over 40 degrees above normal.

Needless to say, a true roasting for this area.I’ve looked over the European model and there appears to be general agreement over the intensity and timing of this extreme event. It is absolutely incredible and really one of the most intense heat events I’ve ever seen for so far north. Climate change has sent temps skyrocketing in the far north of the planet over just the past 20 years. While that’s been quite reflected in the rapid rise in wintertime temperatures, it’s increasingly being reflected in summertime temperatures as more and more sea ice disappears earlier in the season, leaving more dark blue ocean to absorb more daytime sunlight. This heating of the ocean surface by low albedo (very low reflectivity…little sunlight being reflected back off into space) causes some heat to be released back to heat the atmosphere above, speeding up warming of the Arctic region. This is known as Arctic Amplification. And one larger-scale hemispheric consequence being actively researched by Dr. Jennifer Francis (YouTube Video Presentation) and on others is that Arctic Amplification is causing an abrupt weakening of the polar jet stream (on timescales of just the past decade or two), the main feature which steers and intensifies weather patterns in the mid-latitudes. The weakening is causing the polar jet to become much wavier, with greater wave “breaks” and blocking patterns where waves sit in the same place for weeks promote extreme weather patterns (extreme cold relative to normal as well as extreme heat, very wet, and drought conditions).

2018 has unfortunately been a prime example of global warming’s effect on the jet stream. And northern Siberia has been getting blowtorched by heat that refuses to quit because of an ongoing blocked pattern favorable for intense heat.

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Mean temperature anomalies the past 30 days. Normal relative to 1981-2010 baseline.

This, in turn, has result in significant erosion of the sea ice in the Laptev Sea and warming of the waters into the mid-40s in the sea (around 43 F).Arctic_AMSR2_nic

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Warming in of +6 C (11 F) above normal sea surface temperatures in the ice free area of the Laptev Sea on the left. Also circled is the ice free +6 C area in the Chukchi Sea on the left between Siberia and Alaska, which also had record low sea ice extent this past winter and spring.

I would expect sea ice concentration to decline further this week, perhaps significantly as these incredible temperatures strike the region. The numerical models not only indicate the intense daytime heat, but also nighttime lows in the 60s, with 70s not far inland.

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Thursday Morning (local time) temperatures along the Laptev Sea. Upper-60s to mid-70s.

Incredible! Also, during the daytime hours there will be strong offshore wind blowing hot air offshore out to sea capable of heating waters and destroying more and more sea ice.In addition to the immediate impact on sea ice, there is also the impact on permafrost. Or perhaps, what was “permafrost”. More of these kind of intense heat events now hitting the Arctic at the height of summer will result in more rapid destruction of land permafrost as well as heating of the shallow waters just offshore where sub-sea permafrost is located, allowed for increasingly more carbon dioxide and methane to be released into the atmosphere, speeding up global warming and resulting climate change, including effects on storm patterns in the mid-latitudes.

To view the original post, from Meteorologist, Nick Humphrey, please click here.

 

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