Dr. Jason Box in Svalbard, Part 2: Tracking the Polar Vortex 2014

March 9, 2014

Part 2 of my conversation this week with Dr. Jason Box, who has been in Svalbard, Norway, high in the Arctic, as Northern Hemispere winter winds down and melt season is staging its return.



14 Responses to “Dr. Jason Box in Svalbard, Part 2: Tracking the Polar Vortex 2014”

  1. The Overland paper that Jason Box refers to is open access:

    Several previous studies suggested that global warming would result in an increase in the positive AO and that the fingerprint would be through a persistent positive sign of the major climate pattern (Palmer 1999). This claim was based in part on the positive AO in the early 1990s and weak positive results from modelling (Feldstein 2002; Gillett et al 2003). In contrast, our study looks a different mechanism: increased geopotential thickness and a thermal wind effect which favours a weakening of the vortex and a resulting meridional flow pattern (e.g., Seierstad & Bader 2008; Budikova 2009).

    Overland, James E., Kevin R. Wood, and Muyin Wang. “Warm Arctic–cold continents: climate impacts of the newly open Arctic Sea.” Polar Research 30.1 (2011).

  2. The following literature, which includes an earlier paper by Overland, may also be of some interest:

    Climate Change and Extreme Weather
    A selected bibliography
    Compiled by Stu Ostro, Senior Meteorologist, The Weather Channel

  3. ClimateState Says:

    So Germany just had it’s 4th warmest winter on record (2 weeks winter weather only). Many parts didn’t had a closed snow cover in those two weeks.

    And just today stunning 23.7C LOL – see https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=587962994633287&set=a.201065459989711.43923.196805450415712&type=1&stream_ref=10

    And the German weather service had to published a wildfire warning, because the winter was also very dry.

    Experiencing the above mean (visible as green areas in the video – in the ball park of 0-4.5C) really helps to understand how unusual the 24C anomaly in the Arctic is. Another good point he made was about the relation to the record sea ice decline.

  4. For those who are interested, Chris Reynolds did a fairly good review a while back on how diminished Arctic ice may result in colder mid-latitude winters.

    Please see:

    On this issue a key paper I’d recommend as a starting point for anyone interested is Dagmar Budikova’s excellent 2008 review of the science. The relationship between Northern Hemisphere winter weather and Arctic sea-ice conditions in the preceding summer has been suspected as early as 1914. Reduced sea-ice cover results in a reduction of westerlies and storm intensity north of 45degN, with an increase in westerlies in sub-tropical regions.

    Cold Winters: Arctic Sea Ice.
    30 October 2011

    Some links to the relevant articles are included at the bottom of his post.

    In other news, like Clash of the Titans 3, the new Maunder Minimum has been put on indefinite hold.

    Please see:

    Solar activity at a ten-year high
    Idiot Tracker, March 8, 2014

  5. climatebob Says:

    Of all the affects of climate change the melting Arctic sea ice is likely to be the fastest. Ten years ago nobody could have forecast that this was going to happen and we have only had a 0.8C increase in temperature. With the time lag in global warming we are on feeling the results of the CO2 from 1970, forty years ago. The next forty years should be very interesting.

  6. cyhalothrin Says:

    If past human behavior is anything to judge by, it’s reasonable to predict that the Arctic region will be the next “boom town.” With the receding ice, I expect we’ll see more shipping, fishing, maybe even oil and gas drilling/fracking. Expect some North Dakota-style housing (mobile homes) to pop up quickly.

    Unfortunately, the boom might not be quite as wonderful as its promoters are hoping, because a fair bit of the Arctic Ocean is not very high above sea level. We are used to seeing those dramatic photos of Alaskan fjords, mountains and glaciers, but those are on the Pacific coast, not the Arctic. The Arctic Ocean coast of Alaska and Siberia is a low-lying plain, so any oil drilling in that area will probably be “off-shore” even if it’s “onshore” now.

    Well, perhaps Alaska can benefit from the swarms of climate refugees from submerged southern Florida. Lots of desperate families eager to find jobs in a safe place above sea level. Great for real estate prices in Fairbanks.

    Not impressed? Hey, I’m trying to see an upside here. After all, the folks at WUWT keep telling us that even though it’s getting cooler, the warming (which is caused by sunspots and volcanoes) will be good for us.

  7. andrewfez Says:

    On an incidental note, the University Centre in Svalbard gives free tuition to its PhD students in Arctic Geophysics if any young folks are out there wondering how they’ll be able to afford their upcoming tuition. They take foreign students and the official language for the school is English.


    • Remember, this is Norway, we don’t pay ridiculous fees to go to University here since we a social democracy. Only a small semester fee. Although Svalbard has a lot of tax exemptions in addition (which is partially true for the mainland too as you get further north).

      We still have climate deniers in government now though.

      • andrewfez Says:

        Well, if it were cheap in the U.S., I might consider being a lifelong student in some capacity or other. Though now that i have high speed internet, i do learn a little here and there, sitting in front of my computer….

  8. […] In einem Skype-Interview aus Spitzbergen erläutert Polarforscher Jason Box den Verlauf des vergangenen Winters (auf […]

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