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6/14/2014 — Greenland and Siberia Heat Up, Antarctica Cools Down
Posted by Sean Birkel

I haven't posted to the blog since March... Really? Well, there are two notable events in the current GFS model forecast, so perhaps now is a good time to break the no-post streak.

The first event is a ridge of warm air wafting over Greenland Sunday, June 15th - Monday, June 16th, where on both days about half of the Greenland ice sheet could see surface melt (Figure 1).

The second event is a ridge of hot, moist air developing over the Central Siberian Plateau that could bring > 30 °C (86 °F) 2-meter air temps to very near the Laptev Sea coastline, well north of the Arctic Circle by Wednesday, June 18th (Figure 2).

Siberia has the most extreme seasonality of anyplace on the planet, and this heat wave is an impressive contrast to the region's notorious frigid winter conditions. Sea ice extent in the Laptev Sea is now well below normal (Figure 3), coincident with this most recent warm circulation pattern and following an unusually warm winter across the Arctic Ocean (Figure 4).

That's the Northern Hemisphere. Down south the picture is a little different, with Antarctica last week seeing 2-3 days with a continent-wide 2-meter air temperature anomaly of about -4 °C (Figure 5).

What else?

El Niño - how could I forget you? El Niño conditions are developing across the equatorial Pacific (Figure 6), and global weather patterns could become a bit wild over the coming months.

That's all for now folks.

Figure 1. GFS-WRF 12 km downscale showing 2-meter air temperatures across Greenland forecasted for Sunday, June 15th, 2014 at 1900 UTC. Approximately half of the Greenland Ice Sheet could see surface ablation. Click image to enlarge.

Figure 2. GFS 2-meter air temperature (top) and anomaly (bottom) forecast for the Arctic, Wednesday, June 18th, 2014 at 0600 UTC. Click image to enlarge.
Figure 3. Satellite measured Arctic sea ice and snow cover for Sunday, June 14th, 2014. The Lapteav Sea (and also Barents Sea) has significantly diminished ice cover for this day of the year compared to 1979-2000 climatology. Click image to enlarge.
Figure 4. Temperature anomaly forecast for February 1, 2014. Anomaly values are calculated using a 1979-2000 climate baseline. Click image to enlarge.
Figure 5. Significant cold temperature anomaly over Antarctica, June 10th, 2014. Click image to enlarge.
Figure 6. Above normal sea surface temperature across the equatorial Pacific, representative of El Niño. Click image to enlarge.