Support the Arctic Sea Ice Forum and Blog

Author Topic: The Blob Vs. The Nega-Blob  (Read 5172 times)

Okono

  • New ice
  • Posts: 66
  • Ignorance ↔ bliss ∧ you're ¬ happy ∴
    • View Profile
    • Introspecting Me
  • Liked: 0
  • Likes Given: 139
The Blob Vs. The Nega-Blob
« on: November 27, 2016, 10:06:19 PM »
For several years, there has been a persistent anomaly of a ton of hot water in the North Pacific off the coast of Washington State.  It's been called "The Blob", associated with the so-called "ridiculously resilient ridge".

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Blob_(Pacific_Ocean)

We've seen the large anomalies persist -- but they've become negative rather than positive.  There is now a large Nega-Blob and a deep, persistent upper-level low.

I don't believe consensus emerged regarding the cause of the Blob, but an idea mooted in the Wikipedia article -- some association with the PDO -- gives me pause, given that the PDO index as determined by UW has remained quite positive,

http://research.jisao.washington.edu/pdo/PDO.latest.txt

but the anomalous overlay associated with the PDO in articles seems a rough visual match.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pacific_decadal_oscillation#/media/File:PDO_Pattern.png

Others have posited associations with declining sea ice in autumn and early winter, but I don't feel like there has been a directional phase change in Arctic sea ice.  It got worse, obviously, but it already wasn't pretty.

Any guesses?  Attached anomalies sourced from:

http://www.esrl.noaa.gov/psd/data/histdata/
http://cci-reanalyzer.org/
« Last Edit: November 27, 2016, 10:28:56 PM by Okono »
Everyone is their own worst critic, but autists are our only critics.

FishOutofWater

  • Grease ice
  • Posts: 745
    • View Profile
  • Liked: 280
  • Likes Given: 109
Re: The Blob Vs. The Nega-Blob
« Reply #1 on: November 27, 2016, 10:16:14 PM »
Generally. La Niña causes the PDO to go negative while it lasts. El Niño forces a positive PDO. The equatorial Pacific was moving towards La Niña but it still has a positive PDO which is a pretty good sign the PDO has shifted since 2012. The blob may have been a precursor to El Niño caused by Rossby waves. The blob is dead thanks to the strong cold storms that have repeatedly pushed across the N Pacific.

Okono

  • New ice
  • Posts: 66
  • Ignorance ↔ bliss ∧ you're ¬ happy ∴
    • View Profile
    • Introspecting Me
  • Liked: 0
  • Likes Given: 139
Re: The Blob Vs. The Nega-Blob
« Reply #2 on: November 27, 2016, 11:15:16 PM »
Generally. La Niña causes the PDO to go negative while it lasts. El Niño forces a positive PDO.

I think this is the right relationship between these variables, but it seems like there are more in the system.  According to NOAA, the Nega-Blob emerged before there was any coherent ENSO signal.

"With the MEI dropping deeper into the negative range, there are an unusual number of key anomalies in the MEI component fields that exceed or equal one standard deviation, or one sigma (compare to loadings figure), flagging both El Niño and (mostly) La Niña."

http://www.esrl.noaa.gov/psd/enso/mei/

"What changed?" is the question on my mind.

If only second- or third- or fourth-order effects are pronounced enough for us to observe as phenomena such as ENSO or the Blob, we might not even be looking at the right thing.  That would make more sense to me than all these posited direct relationships between patterns that hold roughly at best.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pacific_decadal_oscillation

I could imagine more of an alignment with sea ice extent, but I need to do some homework before I suggest anything.

The blob is dead thanks to the strong cold storms that have repeatedly pushed across the N Pacific.

I don't think I follow.  Why would we think this is the only factor, or that the causality flows in this direction?  I believe the opposite was argued for the Blob, where the ridge was disrupting the flow of storms, rather than a cessation of storms causing the ridge.
Everyone is their own worst critic, but autists are our only critics.

bbr2314

  • Nilas ice
  • Posts: 1736
    • View Profile
  • Liked: 154
  • Likes Given: 44
Re: The Blob Vs. The Nega-Blob
« Reply #3 on: November 27, 2016, 11:44:44 PM »
The area of -anomalies across the NPAC is clearly and plainly a response to the fall's record-setting Siberian snowcover extent #s, as snows fell far and wide across areas well S of normal.

That is plainly visible in the charts posted ^ as the cause for the blob of "negative" anomalies in the ocean where winds are off the lands mentioned ^. The effect has been a significant cooling across most of the NPAC while remaining relative warmth remains significant outside of this tongue of cold SSTAs derived from the cold over Asia.

Okono

  • New ice
  • Posts: 66
  • Ignorance ↔ bliss ∧ you're ¬ happy ∴
    • View Profile
    • Introspecting Me
  • Liked: 0
  • Likes Given: 139
Re: The Blob Vs. The Nega-Blob
« Reply #4 on: November 27, 2016, 11:49:24 PM »
The other obvious thing I failed to mention:

ENSO is not new, and this is at most a very modest La Niña.  As of November, "Overall, the ocean and atmosphere system reflected weak La Niña conditions."

http://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/products/analysis_monitoring/enso_advisory/ensodisc.shtml

The Blob was there long before last year's El Niño, and we've had very strong El Niño's without blobs.  The same is true for our present Nega-Blob and weak La Niña.

The phase change of the Blob appears to have happened very quickly...

Nov. 24, 2016 OSPO:
http://www.ospo.noaa.gov/data/sst/anomaly/2016/anomnight.11.24.2016.gif

Aug. 22, 2016 OSPO:
http://www.ospo.noaa.gov/data/sst/anomaly/2016/anomnight.8.22.2016.gif

The area of -anomalies across the NPAC is clearly and plainly a response to the fall's record-setting Siberian snowcover extent #s, as snows fell far and wide across areas well S of normal.

... but it seems to have happened this spring, as well, and perhaps more intensely.

Mar. 24, 2016 OSPO:
http://www.ospo.noaa.gov/data/sst/anomaly/2016/anomnight.3.24.2016.gif

I don't see any obvious alignment here.  I see a new, very large oscillator that I want to correlate with similarly phased oscillators.
Everyone is their own worst critic, but autists are our only critics.

jdallen

  • Young ice
  • Posts: 3009
    • View Profile
  • Liked: 181
  • Likes Given: 169
Re: The Blob Vs. The Nega-Blob
« Reply #5 on: November 27, 2016, 11:56:53 PM »
The area of -anomalies across the NPAC is clearly and plainly a response to the fall's record-setting Siberian snowcover extent #s, as snows fell far and wide across areas well S of normal.

That is plainly visible in the charts posted ^ as the cause for the blob of "negative" anomalies in the ocean where winds are off the lands mentioned ^. The effect has been a significant cooling across most of the NPAC while remaining relative warmth remains significant outside of this tongue of cold SSTAs derived from the cold over Asia.
Which by extension implies to me the heat which should have been coming out of the Arctic Ocean is instead being supplied by the North Pacific - which is both a more massive reservoir and seasonally quicker to recover that heat.

Ugh.
This space for Rent.

bbr2314

  • Nilas ice
  • Posts: 1736
    • View Profile
  • Liked: 154
  • Likes Given: 44
Re: The Blob Vs. The Nega-Blob
« Reply #6 on: November 28, 2016, 12:00:16 AM »
The area of -anomalies across the NPAC is clearly and plainly a response to the fall's record-setting Siberian snowcover extent #s, as snows fell far and wide across areas well S of normal.

That is plainly visible in the charts posted ^ as the cause for the blob of "negative" anomalies in the ocean where winds are off the lands mentioned ^. The effect has been a significant cooling across most of the NPAC while remaining relative warmth remains significant outside of this tongue of cold SSTAs derived from the cold over Asia.
Which by extension implies to me the heat which should have been coming out of the Arctic Ocean is instead being supplied by the North Pacific - which is both a more massive reservoir and seasonally quicker to recover that heat.

Ugh.
Quite possibly.

Re: Okono's last point -- this spring we had a substantial +++ice anomaly in Sea of Okhotsk. I think that is also important (as is snowcover in Eurasia). If spring Eurasian snowcover persists in southern regions more than normal that prevails in ++sea ice in Okhotsk and --SSTA across the NPAC (like this yr).

Okono

  • New ice
  • Posts: 66
  • Ignorance ↔ bliss ∧ you're ¬ happy ∴
    • View Profile
    • Introspecting Me
  • Liked: 0
  • Likes Given: 139
Re: The Blob Vs. The Nega-Blob
« Reply #7 on: November 28, 2016, 12:13:29 AM »
Re: Okono's last point -- this spring we had a substantial +++ice anomaly in Sea of Okhotsk. I think that is also important (as is snowcover in Eurasia). If spring Eurasian snowcover persists in southern regions more than normal that prevails in ++sea ice in Okhotsk and --SSTA across the NPAC (like this yr).

I share your hunch: I feel like the cryosphere is very likely to be involved here.  That's not only for the plausible mechanisms, but also because it's novel.  If this were a persistent, normal feature, we would have noticed it before 2014.  It's huge.

To me, the cryosphere is the "working memory" for climate change.  There are many other energy reservoirs and sinks, but ice is the most visible buffer for change on the timescale we're effecting.

I don't know how far deranged the Siberian winters we have seen are relative to historic variability.  Since we've seen this persist for years, I want something that isn't just seasonal, and I want something truly extreme.

If this turns out to be a legit oscillator -- and I think it's far too early to know -- I want something variable, too.  Doesn't need to be the same forcing(on/off switch, temperature dial).

Some candidates I want to look at are things that have changed markedly in recent years:

1)  Sea ice extent, probably lagged
2)  Actual SST's, not just anomalies
3)  The disturbed North Atlantic Drift & thermohaline circulation

Other obvious candidates, but I don't know them to have changed markedly:

4)  Any major and persistent surface current anomalies
5)  Thermal depth profiles
6)  Upwelling indices
7)  Siberian snow extent, probably lagged
« Last Edit: November 28, 2016, 01:06:42 AM by Okono »
Everyone is their own worst critic, but autists are our only critics.

Shared Humanity

  • Young ice
  • Posts: 3906
    • View Profile
  • Liked: 389
  • Likes Given: 45
Re: The Blob Vs. The Nega-Blob
« Reply #8 on: November 28, 2016, 01:34:41 AM »
Might want to take a look at what is going on in the southern ocean around Antarctica.

FishOutofWater

  • Grease ice
  • Posts: 745
    • View Profile
  • Liked: 280
  • Likes Given: 109
Re: The Blob Vs. The Nega-Blob
« Reply #9 on: November 28, 2016, 02:09:34 AM »
Okono, as I discussed in my recent post the warm dome of air over the Barents & Kara seas that are so much warmer than normal has created an atmospheric wave pattern that makes Siberia cold and snowy. That cold air enhances the thermal gradient enhancing the thermal wind - making the jet stream intense on the boundary between the Siberian air and the warm subtropical Asian air.

That strong jet stream pushes out over the W. Pac bringing intense storms which well up the W Pac water over the storm track. Cold Siberian air has also broken out over the northern W Pac, causing the cold pool. A couple of years ago there was an intense cold pool south of Greenland when storms were very intense and the jet stream was stronger than normal across the N Atlantic.

There's still a lot of excess heat in the atmosphere that's affecting both poles. See this attachment.

Okono

  • New ice
  • Posts: 66
  • Ignorance ↔ bliss ∧ you're ¬ happy ∴
    • View Profile
    • Introspecting Me
  • Liked: 0
  • Likes Given: 139
Re: The Blob Vs. The Nega-Blob
« Reply #10 on: November 28, 2016, 04:59:00 AM »
That strong jet stream pushes out over the W. Pac bringing intense storms which well up the W Pac water over the storm track. Cold Siberian air has also broken out over the northern W Pac, causing the cold pool.

I'm sorry, I really just don't follow.  If I look at a longer time span:

https://iridl.ldeo.columbia.edu/maproom/Global/Atm_Circulation/Std_Height_Anom_Loop_250hPa.html

these anomalies first pop out south of the Aleutians and then more forcefully at the same latitude in Okhotsk and the North Atlantic.  Those could be totally disconnected; they could be connected.

Why are you confident that warm air above the ocean north of Russia is ultimately responsible for anomalies that appear sooner, stronger, and more persistently elsewhere?  Why is this a direct, linear, simple causal relationship that is so obvious to you?

Nobody is disputing the prevalent flow.  That's what the means are, after all.

What changed seriously before 2014, remained unhinged into 2016, and could lean the other way?

Sea ice obviously had a rough 2012, but we had the Blob and the Ridge until just now.  Why would that be, and why would we get the Nega-Blob and the Trough now?

I think there's much more to the story...
« Last Edit: November 28, 2016, 05:12:18 AM by Okono »
Everyone is their own worst critic, but autists are our only critics.

FishOutofWater

  • Grease ice
  • Posts: 745
    • View Profile
  • Liked: 280
  • Likes Given: 109
Re: The Blob Vs. The Nega-Blob
« Reply #11 on: November 28, 2016, 04:23:35 PM »
The PDO shift has affected the teleconnections from the Arctic. If you had been looking at 500 mb NH maps over the past 10 years you will see domes of high heights associated  with warm water in the Barents in the fall months, but those heat domes vary somewhat in their locations because of changes in the atmospheric circulation from year to year.

The warm Arctic, cold continents pattern has been discussed in a number of journal articles. This fall the warm Arctic and Siberian cold has been especially intense. The downstream effects of this warm Arctic, weak polar vortex and cold continents pattern is different in the Pacific this fall because ocean heat that was piled up east of the Philippines has now been redistributed in response to El Niño and the shift in the PDO.

Gray-Wolf

  • Grease ice
  • Posts: 795
    • View Profile
  • Liked: 49
  • Likes Given: 151
Re: The Blob Vs. The Nega-Blob
« Reply #12 on: November 28, 2016, 05:01:20 PM »
I don't think we can neglect to mention China ( Asia?) and the impacts of their particulate pollution ( and associated 'dimming' ) downwind of them?

If we have been seeing China's coal use begin to plateau , or fall?, whilst they continue to roll out 'clean air technologies' then might we expect to have just witnessed a 'peak' in impacts of that dimming followed by a rapid fall back in that peak both as peak emmisions reduce and sulphates from earlier peak emissions wash out of the atmosphere?

To me the IPO/PDO flip in 2014 has all the hallmarks of such an event? IPO positive is the retention of the heat on the surface of the ocean and so impacts on the atmosphere above whereas the negative sign buries that heat so as to take it away from the atmosphere and instead present the air above with cooler , overturned waters.

Now if max dimmed period was the late noughties the Ocean surface was not able to have its full imput of solar due to the dimming and so augmented its impacts. Now when it flipped positive the veil of 'dimming' had begun to diminish so putting a bigger slice of solar in an ocean that then warmed the air column above.

Nasa told us , mid noughties, that up to 50% of potential warming was being lost to particulate pollution and sulphates associated with fossil fuel burning. If China are rapidly reducing their particulate/sulphate pollution, so as to clean up the atmosphere over their major cities, then we should all be open to 'new' warming even when naturals appear to be against seeing such?

EDIT: paper on dimming;

http://www.nature.com/nclimate/journal/v6/n10/full/nclimate3058.html
« Last Edit: November 28, 2016, 05:08:45 PM by Gray-Wolf »
KOYAANISQATSI

ko.yaa.nis.katsi (from the Hopi language), n. 1. crazy life. 2. life in turmoil. 3. life disintegrating. 4. life out of balance. 5. a state of life that calls for another way of living.
 
VIRESCIT VULNERE VIRTUS

Csnavywx

  • Grease ice
  • Posts: 520
    • View Profile
  • Liked: 29
  • Likes Given: 0
Re: The Blob Vs. The Nega-Blob
« Reply #13 on: November 28, 2016, 06:16:12 PM »
That strong jet stream pushes out over the W. Pac bringing intense storms which well up the W Pac water over the storm track. Cold Siberian air has also broken out over the northern W Pac, causing the cold pool.

I'm sorry, I really just don't follow.  If I look at a longer time span:

https://iridl.ldeo.columbia.edu/maproom/Global/Atm_Circulation/Std_Height_Anom_Loop_250hPa.html

these anomalies first pop out south of the Aleutians and then more forcefully at the same latitude in Okhotsk and the North Atlantic.  Those could be totally disconnected; they could be connected.

Why are you confident that warm air above the ocean north of Russia is ultimately responsible for anomalies that appear sooner, stronger, and more persistently elsewhere?  Why is this a direct, linear, simple causal relationship that is so obvious to you?

Nobody is disputing the prevalent flow.  That's what the means are, after all.

What changed seriously before 2014, remained unhinged into 2016, and could lean the other way?

Sea ice obviously had a rough 2012, but we had the Blob and the Ridge until just now.  Why would that be, and why would we get the Nega-Blob and the Trough now?

I think there's much more to the story...
There are a few extra things going on, but mostly that NPAC pattern is due to the upstream Siberian pattern. There's some influence from the MJO and a weak Walker cell (despite the ongoing Nina), but:

The relationship of early/fast snow cover advance on the strength of the Siberian high in autumn and early winter is pretty well established. Cohen et al. goes in depth, but the prevailing theory is low sea ice in general (of which the Kara/Barents area is a part) causes anomalous heat and moisture (theta-e) air to be transported over the adjacent Asian continent in the fall, causing early snowcover advance. This strengthens the Siberian high, which disrupts both the tropospheric and stratospheric circulation pattern, causing the PV to form or split preferentially towards Siberia. The resultant displaced cold dome increases both eddy kinetic energy and thermal wind to the south (as a result of increased baroclinic energy), resulting in a strengthened jet and increased net energy for storm formation downstream of the anomaly, which is over the NPAC.

Watch your loop again and look near the Okhotsk Sea at the beginning of October. You'll see a standing wave develop there and then expand and retrograde slightly as the rest of Siberia is filled in with deep early snowcover. There's a weak ridge initially downstream of that standing wave (a response to persistent WAA to the south of the storm track and a weak Walker cell) and a trough in the Gulf of Alaska that develops on the divergent area of the extended and strengthening Pac jet (again a direct response to the strengthening upstream gradient).

FishOutofWater

  • Grease ice
  • Posts: 745
    • View Profile
  • Liked: 280
  • Likes Given: 109
Re: The Blob Vs. The Nega-Blob
« Reply #14 on: November 28, 2016, 10:45:16 PM »
Exactly Csnavywx. You clearly have professional WX experience. Perhaps he should try reading some of the less technical articles about "warm arctic cold continents" if he can't follow your explanation.

Tom_Mazanec

  • Nilas ice
  • Posts: 1204
    • View Profile
    • Planet Mazanec
  • Liked: 238
  • Likes Given: 35
Re: The Blob Vs. The Nega-Blob
« Reply #15 on: September 09, 2019, 05:35:01 PM »
We've got a new Blob!
Marine heatwave hits Pacific, raising fears of a new hot 'blob'
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/sep/08/pacific-ocean-marine-heatwave-blog
Quote
If the abnormal patch does not dissipate soon, it could become as destructive as the so-called “blob” of warm water in the same area that, in 2014-2016, created toxic algae blooms, killed sea lions and endangered whales by forcing them to forage closer to shore.
SHARKS (CROSSED OUT) MONGEESE (SIC) WITH FRICKIN LASER BEAMS ATTACHED TO THEIR HEADS