I love this! Yesterday, we saw CNN idiot Chad Myers explain that there’s no ice up in the Arctic, and that’s why we have cold in the lower latitudes.
Well, there’s a paper out, stating essentially the same thing. It’s a work of beauty! It’s a bit sad because they do identify some normal semi-cyclic behavior, but feel obliged to confuse attribution. The title is harmless enough….
But, the devil’s in the details. The accompanied news release is here, Climate change brings colder winters to Europe and Asia.
Essentially, this paper tries to explain why Eurasia has recently experienced extreme cold in winter. Which contrasts greatly from Grist’s explanation. Here’s the introduction…
Along with the generally increased global mean surface air temperature, extreme cold winter weather events have more frequently occurred in recent years over Eurasia (e.g., Zhang et al 2008, Overland et al 2011, Cohen et al 2010). The occurrence and persistence of the extreme cold weather events have been attributed to various contributing factors, including a temporally polarized negative Arctic/North Atlantic Oscillation (AO/NAO; e.g., Thompson and Wallace 1998, Deser and Teng 2008), a spatially shifted Northern Hemisphere atmospheric circulation leading pattern (e.g., Zhang et al 2008 and their figures 1 and 2, Overland et al 2011), and increased snow cover (e.g., Cohen et al 2010). Temporal and spatial changes in atmospheric circulation pattern are significant drivers of reduced Arctic sea ice and Arctic and Eurasian surface warming (e.g., Rigor et al 2002, Zhang et al 2003, Zhang et al 2008, Overland and Wang 2010); the circulation changes may also have been amplified through feedback processes from the underlying reduced sea ice and warmed surface (e.g., Honda et al 2009, Petoukhov and Semenov 2010, Wu and Zhang 2010, Blüthgen et al 2012, Francis and Vavrus 2012).
Okay, we’ve identified various factors which contribute to the cold winters. Let’s look at a couple of them. We all know that shifts in the AO have been documented. But, we also know that naturally occurs. “Oscillation” look it up. Oddly, they also cite Cohen et al stating increased snow cover causes this. (Hold on to that thought!) The abstract to Cohen et al 2010 doesn’t mention snow cover, so I don’t know if they’re specifically referring to Eurasia or seasonal or year round. We’ll get back to that. Then they do something astounding! They attribute the reduced Artic sea ice to circulatory events as drivers of the surface warming and sea ice reduction! But, then, reverse it by saying the ice reduction and surface warming amplify the circulation changes! This is fascinating because if these events were self-feeding, we would have a permanent condition of increasingly severe winters in Eurasia. This would have happened long ago, but it didn’t, so the explanation is inadequate.
From their conclusions…….
Changes in the cyclones and anticyclones, and their resultant regional surface atmospheric circulation and SAT anomalies, are consistent with the recently identified spatial shift of the Northern Hemisphere atmospheric circulation leading pattern and associated surface climate consequences (e.g., Zhang et al 2008, Overland and Wang 2010). The spatial shift of the hemispheric-scale atmospheric circulation pattern could be a particular phase of decadal-scale natural variability. Although underlying physical mechanisms for this shift have not been well understood, the triggering and driving role of the shifted circulation pattern in the rapid sea ice decline and extreme summer sea ice loss in 2007 has been clearly elucidated (e.g., Zhang et al 2008, Graversen et al 2010, Overland and Wang 2010). Decreased sea ice cover or enlarged open water in the Arctic would feed back to the overlying atmospheric circulation pattern by exciting stationary Rossby wave train propagation towards Eurasia and east Asia (e.g., Honda et al 2009), influencing cyclone and anticyclone activities.
Yes, the old stationary Rossby wave. sigh. But, other than that piece of idiocy, we also see people seeking an explanation where none is needed. Changes in cyclonic and anticyclonic behavior is known to be associated with changes to the Arctic Oscillation.
Again, the sad part is, they have struck upon something which explains the cold. But, they continue and go too far in their attribution. The cyclonic and anticyclonic behavior is graphed here.
Oscillation……. And then there’s the sea ice problem. Yes, the sea ice minimum has been decreasing. But, there’s been little change in the sea ice extent in the winter. Here are the recent winter (Dec-Feb) measurements graphed. 2004-present.
We have exactly the same winter ice extent we’ve had for years. So, unless they’re arguing that the open water in September is somehow affecting the circulation in January, then the ice doesn’t have anything to do with it.
As to the curious inclusion of the imaginary increase in snow cover, we don’t know specifically where and when they’re referencing. But, here’s a couple of graphs that should allay any fears of getting permanently snowed in. For the NH year round.
We do see somewhat of an increase over the last few years, but 2007 and 2009 need to be explained then. Did the processes call a timeout for those years?
Now, they don’t spend a lot of time on the warmed surface air of the Arctic causing the cold. So, I looked to the accompanying press release to see if they can give us any more insights as to the mechanism they’re trying to describe. …… I do believe in saving the best for last!
So why have winter anticyclones been strengthening over Eurasia? Melting sea ice in the Arctic and changing weather patterns are both possible drivers of the new winter weather trends. “Decreased sea-ice cover favours further extension of warm air into the central Arctic Ocean,” explained Zhang. “When this warm air propagates to the lower-latitude Eurasian continent, it gets cooled due to radiative heat loss. Anticyclones accordingly form or intensify.” Meanwhile, weakened tropospheric mid-latitude westerlies and aligned south–north winds over the North Atlantic increase heat transport from low to high latitudes.
Ironically it seems that Eurasia’s extreme cold winters are partly a consequence of global warming, with warmer global temperatures driving sea-ice melt and changing weather patterns.
So, the cold the people in Eurasia are having today, is because of the warm air in the arctic, gets blown down to the south and loses heat via radiative heat loss, which we all know is an impossibility via the GHG theory(isn’t CO2 a driver of our temps) , and doubly impossible because of the imaginary increase of snow, more snow = more snow cloud cover.
Warmcold is back!