Nov 30, 2009

Arctic Sea Ice Expansion

During the month of November, arctic sea ice extent expanded much more rapidly than the normal seasonal increase, especially in the Bering Sea. This can be seen clearly here. This is now the third year in row this has happened in almost exactly the same way and at the same time of year.Arctic sea ice extent anomaly - each line represents 1 million square km
Data from

It was also about three years ago that the sun went into a very quiet mode (see this page) and weather patterns have been different ever since. The greatly expanded sea ice in the Bering Sea increases the temperature gradient between it and the warm North Pacific Current and has been no doubt contributing to the unusually strong polar jet stream. Just yesterday, a 960 mb storm hit buoy 46035 in the Bering Sea with sustained 56.3 knot winds with gusts to 68.0 and waves of 38.4 feet. The effect downstream from all that energy includes record snowfall in the Pacific Northwest, and an ongoing winter storm for Southern Arizona and New Mexico and southwestern Texas which produced 52 mph sustained winds at Guadalupe Pass. Western Europe has also been hit with a number of Atlantic storms causing flooding and wind damage including one as strong as 953 mb on Nov. 21st which produced 44 foot waves just west of the British Isles.

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