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Wet & Potentially Stormy Wed... Arctic Ice Reaches Its Annual Minimum

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Updated: 9/25/2013 7:57 am

One more day -- Wed. -- of significant rain & storms. Tue.'s heavy rain helped push the effective front south to near I-4 Tue. night. This front & its location Wed. will be critical to how much rain falls & whether or not there are strong to even severe storms.

* It appears the front to the south will slowly edge northward as a warm front but probably staying south of I-10

* a cool front will approach from the west

* a strong upper level disturbance will move into the Tennessee Valley

* a weak surface low will move along the front & deepen once in the W. Atlantic Wed. night-Thu.

So here's what to expect:

-- there will be 2 main areas of rain & storms early in the morning:

(1) from the Eastern Gulf across Central Fl. (warm front)

(2) The Panhandle, SW Ga., & NW Fl. (cool front & upper disturbance)

There is some question as to whether or not the atmosphere will be unstable enough to support strong storms + how much strong convection over Cental/S. Fl. could interfere with our local moisture & -- most importantly -- instability (cloud cover). The timing of the rain & storms looks to be between 11am & 3pm or so. Such timing could limit instability thereby limiting storm intensity.

Taking all this into consideration, I expect to see widespread rain & storms from midday into the afternoon with at least heavy rain & possibly strong & gusty winds. Once the main area of rain/storms exits to the east, scattered showers/isolated storms will linger behind into Wed. evening.

The Western Atlantic low will then strengthen off the U.S. east coast & might even try to take on subtropical characteristics for a time. Drier, cooler air will funnel southward on the backside of the low by late Thu. & especially Fri. through the weekend. Breezy onshore northeast winds will still help generate some coastal showers at times, but will break the recent pattern of widespread, heavy rain. This pattern will also result in rough seas & surf & an enhanced rip current risk at our beaches.  Overnight lows from Fri. morning through weekend into early next week dip well down into the 60s inland -- nice!

The National Snow and Ice Data Center reports that the Arctic Sea ice has reached its minimum this year.

The amount of ice left is only ~ 2 million square miles (1.9 million square miles), which is 20% below the 30 year long term average.

For comparison the 48 adjoing-US states = 3.1 million square miles.

The Arctic Ocean is roughly 5.4 million square miles, so approximately 3.5 million square miles of ocean was open water and therefore able to absorb summer solar energy.  

(Last year's record low was 1.3 Million square miles. Summer temperates were not as warm this year as last summer so the ice melt was less.)

Click ** here ** for images & video.

NASA  VISUALIZATION: 2013 Daily Arctic Sea Ice from AMSR2: May - September 2013

The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) provides many water-related products derived from data acquired by the Advanced Microwave Scanning Radiometer 2 (AMSR2) instrument aboard the Global Change Observation Mission 1st-Water "SHIZUKU" (GCOM-W1) satellite. Two JAXA datasets used in this animation are the 10-km daily sea ice concentration and the 10 km daily 89 GHz Brightness Temperature.

In this animation, the daily Arctic sea ice and seasonal land cover change progress through time, from May 16, 2013 through September 12, 2013, when the sea ice reached its minimum area of coverage for 2013. Over the water, Arctic sea ice changes from day to day showing a running 3-day minimum sea ice concentration in the region where the concentration is greater than 15%. The blueish white colour of the sea ice is derived from a 3-day running minimum of the AMSR2 89 GHz brightness temperature. Over the land, monthly data from the seasonal Blue Marble Next Generation fades slowly from month to month.

Click ** here ** for more.

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