Anomalous Cold Persists On The Antarctic Plateau
Antarctica has been holding very cold in recent years, and the onset of spring 2023 is proving no different.
Stations such as Vostok and the South Pole, as well as Conordia and Dome Fuji have ALL been posted anomalously low readings during the first 10-days of October, temperatures that are rivaling record monthly lows.
Vostok reached -74.9C (-102.8F) on Oct 7, according to the official data (shown below). This is now the seasonal monthly minimum in Antarctica, besting Vostok’s Oct 3 low of -73.8C (-100.8F), but, although exceptionally cold for the time of year, it is still a ways off the station’s lowest ever October temperature: the -79.4C (-110.9F) set two years ago, on Oct 1, 2021.
The cold is persisting ACROSS the Antarctic Plateau, not just Vostok.
On the same day, the low at Dome Fuji came in at -72C (-97.6F) — incredibly late in the season for such cold.
Temperatures in Northern and Central Japan has crashed this week.
Fall has arrived in dramatic fashion following a period of anomalous warmth.
It has to be cold somewhere given that the global temperature is only 0.08C (0.15F) above what we consider to be the norm (as per the latest weather station data):
Japan has endured brutal winters of late, and early atmospheric indications point to the 2023-24 season being another:
All-time record-breaking cold benchmarks were slain across large areas of Japan last winter, far more than I recount here.
To name just a handful:
On Jan 30, six Hokkaido stations dropped below -30C (-22F), with a record -32.6C (-26.7F) posted at Shumarinai, and a historic -29.6C (-21.3F) logged at Bibai, Sorachi Subprefecture — a new all-time record low for the location in books dating back to 1977.
Record snow also pounded large swathes of the country.
February 2023, for example, saw extremely rare flurries settle at Omaezaki, on Japan’s Pacific coast. Only in 1966 and 1996 had the city previously received snow (solar minimums of cycles 19 and 22, respectively), and never more than 3cm (1.18 inches).
As I reported on Jan 26 this year: “People are continuing to die in Japan as Asia’s unprecedented Arctic blast persists.”
It’s Water Vapor, Stupid
The Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha-apai explosion of Jan 15, 2022 was the highest volcanic eruption in recorded history, reaching the mesosphere. More than that though, the eruption ejected an unprecedented volume of water into the atmosphere.
The massive amount of water vapor ejected is roughly 10% of the normal amount found in the stratosphere.
“We’ve never seen anything like it,” said atmospheric scientist Luis Millán, who works at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.
Given the extraordinary amount of water involved, Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha’apai “may be the first volcanic eruption observed to impact climate not through surface cooling caused by volcanic sulfate aerosols, but rather through surface warming,” concludes a recent research paper co-authored by Millán.
Standard volcanic eruptions send light-scattering aerosols into the stratosphere, which prevent sunlight reaching the surface. However, since water vapor traps heat, the Tongan eruption is raising temperatures.
It usually takes 2 to 3 years for sulfate aerosols from volcanoes to fall out of the stratosphere. But the water from the Jan 15 eruption could take 5 years to fully dissipate, perhaps even as long as a decade.
Crucial to note: Earth was cooling before the impacts of the Hunga-Tonga eruption.
The UAH satellite data for January 2023 –so just a few months ago– was reading below the multidecadal baseline.
According to the 15x NASA/NOAA AMSU satellites that measure every square inch of the lower troposphere (where life resides), the temperature fell from +0.32C in October 2022, to +0.17C in November, to +0.05C above in December, to -0.04C below baseline in January 2023:
Water vapor is by far the most potent ‘greenhouse gas’.
This is a fact the warmists well-know but don’t much like discussing.
A growing number of scientists consider Hunga’s unprecedented injection of water vapor to be the key atmospheric component taking tropospheric temperatures from below baseline at the start of the year to some 0.90C above as of September:
Water vapor absorbs (and then re-radiates) far more wavelengths than CO2 — or any other GHG for that matter:
And atmospheric levels of water vapor ripped higher following the eruption.
Note (in the below graph) the gradual spreading of the anomaly from the equator to the poles:
Also note that this graph shows the distribution of water vapor in the middle-upper stratosphere, and that these stratospheric concentrations –the highest ever observed– took time to penetrate the tropopause and enter the troposphere (likely via a poorly understood downwards circulation exchange), contributing to the the lag-time between eruption and temperature spike.
The Earthly impact of the Hunga-Tonga eruption makes perfect sense from a scientific stand point: increases in water vapor in the upper troposphere (and indeed lower stratosphere) lead to radiative cooling at these levels but warming at the surface — but that isn’t to say it hasn’t come as a surprise. For me personally, witnessing the awesome power of nature in live action reaffirmed a few things.
This effect, however, will prove temporary, and any warming we get (given the concerning solar forecast) should be welcomed.
And although it may be frustrating to watch the alarmists blindly pounce on this recent spike, and use it to advance their suicidal decolonization mission, we realists should rest in the knowledge that the laws of physics will ultimately prevail.
It is NOT atmospheric carbon dioxide levels that have spiked, these have maintained their suspiciously-neat linear trend upwards; rather, it is the primary greenhouse gas that has torn higher, and in truly unprecedented fashion, too.
You combine this natural forcing with those of a strengthening El Niño and Solar Cycle 25, and you get a perfect storm.
But as I wrote soon after the Ha-apai eruption:
“A continuation of Earth’s cooling trend is probable over the coming months, with the odd bump along the way: climate is cyclic, after all — as low solar activity, La Nina, and the aftereffects of Hunga-Tonga’s record-setting mesospheric eruption continue to have an infinitely-larger influence over our climate than a natural byproduct of human existence.”