A ‘heat wave’ and snowfall: Why researchers are puzzled by Antarctica’s recent weather

Posted: March 27, 2022 by oldbrew in alarmism, atmosphere, climate, media, Temperature, weather
Tags: ,

Antarctica


The alarmist Guardian’s ‘climate disaster’ turns out to be ‘climate mitigation’, due to the massive snowfall. A so-called heatwave where temperatures reached a chilly 10 degrees Fahrenheit (-12 Celsius), seems to have fooled a lot of people. The Guardian speculates that ‘climate breakdown could be accelerating’, but seeing what you wanted to see doesn’t always work.
– – –
While researchers say it’s too early to know what role, if any, climate change plays here, the event has their attention because it’s so extreme, says NBC News.

It’s been a strange stretch for the icy desert at the bottom of the world.

In mid-March, temperatures in parts of East Antarctica soared 70 degrees Fahrenheit above average. It was high enough for researchers living there to brave the elements for a bare-chested group photo.

The comparatively balmy temperatures, which reached around 10 degrees Fahrenheit, arrived courtesy of a history-making atmospheric river — a plume of concentrated moisture that flows through the sky.

This one brought an incredible dump of snow in the inner reaches of the ice sheet, something quite rare for the area.

And in what could be a separate development, the Conger Ice Shelf — a hunk of ice similar in area to Los Angeles — collapsed into the sea right around the same time, satellite imaging shows.

Researchers are scrambling to make sense of what has happened. The surprising temperatures and moisture are already changing how they think about weather in Antarctica and raising questions about what impacts the continent could see if such a wild temperature swing had happened in summer — or in a warmer future.

And while researchers say it’s too early to know what role, if any, climate change is playing here, the event has their attention because it’s so extreme.

“It was something we didn’t think was possible in Antarctica, the magnitude of heat, especially in what should be the cold season in Antarctica,” said Jonathan Wille, a postdoctoral researcher at the Université Grenoble Alpes in France, of the heat wave. “We’ve never seen the atmosphere behave like this over Antarctica.”

The heat wave and dramatic inland snowfall highlight the importance of a better understanding of the complicated dynamics of atmospheric rivers — which today bolster the ice sheet but could be cause for concern in the future. Better grasping these patterns could be key to understanding the polar region’s future.

Having snowfall during a heat wave might sound counterintuitive, but this is Antarctica, after all, where inland winter temperatures routinely fall beneath 60 degrees below zero.

The recent atmospheric river event played out over several days. March 17 was the fourth-wettest day since 1980 for the ice sheet, according to modeling and analysis by Xavier Fettweis, a climatology professor at the University of Liège in Belgium.

A day later, temperatures at the Concordia station, a research station nearly 700 miles from the coast, spiked to a high of about 10 degrees Fahrenheit, stunning researchers.

“An extreme event of this magnitude has never been observed at Dome C,” said Peter Neff, a glaciologist, climate scientist and assistant research professor at the University of Minnesota, referring to the Concordia area.

Coastal temperatures rose above freezing levels, and rain pattered the coast. Intense snowfall across the interior of East Antarctica added an estimated 69 gigatons of water mass to the ice sheet, according to modeling by Fettweis. That’s the equivalent of nearly 28 million Olympic-size swimming pools of added water mass that came down in frozen form. That represents more than a third of the yearly ice loss in Antarctica.

“It added much more mass to the ice sheet than it took away,” Wille said. “Events like this, they help mitigate some of the sea level rise caused by climate change” by storing water as polar ice.

Such snowfall offers important protection, too.

Full article here.

Comments
  1. In other words, it’s weather

  2. This is what I tried to explain at the climate conference in London, where I met you and Josh and many others.

    Warm Times are necessary to rebuild the sequestered ice. Ice core records show this but the “consensus climate experts” do not study any kind of internal self correcting internal natural causes of alternating warm and cold periods. And neither do most of the people pushing back on the alarmism, most push back only on the alarmist talking points and do not study other natural forcing, which there is plenty of data for. They do not understand the amazing snowfall in a warmest time, but how do they think snow is created from ocean evaporation without the ocean being warmer?

    Alex Pope

    Virus-free. http://www.avg.com

    On Sun, Mar 27, 2022 at 11:40 AM Tallbloke’s Talkshop wrote:

    > oldbrew posted: ” The alarmist Guardian’s ‘climate disaster’ turns out to > be ‘climate mitigation’, due to the massive snowfall. A so-called heatwave > where temperatures reached a chilly 10 degrees Fahrenheit (-12 Celsius), > seems to have fooled a lot of people. The Guardia” >

  3. oldbrew says:

    Intense snowfall across the interior of East Antarctica added an estimated 69 gigatons of water mass to the ice sheet, according to modeling by Fettweis.

    If this event seems unusual or puzzling to the alleged experts, we can do our own speculating and wonder if this is what a ‘warming’ (less freezing cold) polar climate can bring, as per Alex Pope (comment above).

    From the report:
    The anomaly raises new questions. How these patterns act in the future could have significant consequences for ice shelves and for sea level rise across the globe.

    Indeed.

  4. stpaulchuck says:

    ” according to modeling and analysis ” so more models. Yeah, that’s going to be accurate.

    “Science is the belief in the ignorance of the experts” – Richard Feynman

  5. […] A ‘heat wave’ and snowfall: Why researchers are puzzled by Antarctica’s recent&nbs… […]

  6. Graeme No.3 says:

    So, as I understand them, warming means more snow.

  7. gbaikie says:

    Got so warm, it snowed.

  8. oldbrew says:

    Any number of alarmist stories like this appearing in the media at the moment, but most have missed the essential point — snow gain easily exceeded ice loss.

    Sudden collapse of Antarctic ice shelf could be sign of things to come
    Published 1 day ago

    https://www.livescience.com/antarctica-conger-ice-shelf-collapse

  9. RoswellJohn says:

    While this recent temperature spike was pretty large, the phenomena of snow falling at the advent of warmer (moister) wind from the coast is pretty normal in Antarctica. I wintered over at the Old South Pole Station in the 60s and we had to shovel snow into a melter every week to get 2000 gallons of water. If you were on the team of 7 guys that followed a snow storm you just pushed huge chunks of snow into the melter. We could finish the job in a couple of hours. With 21 guys that meant our team was up every 3 weeks, which turned out to be the frequency of storms from the coast. If you were on the other teams then you didn’t have fresh snow to push into the melter you had hard snow, almost ice, to break up with pickaxes; it took all day to get 2000 gallons of water.

    I would also note that the upward temperature spike returned to normal temperatures for this time of year within a couple of weeks and things are back to normal.

  10. oldbrew says:

    MARCH 28, 2022
    Solar energy explains fast yearly retreat of Antarctica’s sea ice

    “In spite of the puzzling longer-term trends and the large year-to-year variations in Antarctic sea ice, the seasonal cycle is really consistent, always showing this fast retreat relative to slow growth,” said lead author Lettie Roach, who conducted the study as a postdoctoral researcher at the UW and is now research scientist at NASA and Columbia University. “Given how complex our climate system is, I was surprised that the rapid seasonal retreat of Antarctic sea ice could be explained with such a simple mechanism.”
    . . .
    The researchers investigated global climate models and found they reproduced the quicker retreat of Antarctic sea ice. They then built a simple physics-based model to show that the reason is the seasonal pattern of incoming solar radiation.

    https://phys.org/news/2022-03-solar-energy-fast-yearly-retreat.html
    – – –
    Non-existent mystery solved.

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