Two days have passed since the previous update, and in those two days the storm re-intensified, bottomed out at 971 hPa (slightly higher than the first lowest central pressure of 968 hPa), as can be seen on the image on the left, provided by Environment Canada. It quickly weakened after that, but lo and behold, the image on the right shows it has re-intensified again and is currently at 971 hPa as well!
Just like that, as if it's nothing. Which brings us to the first of three questions (there were two in the previous updates, but now there's a third one at the end of this blog post):
1. Is this a Great Arctic Cyclone?
I'm still not entirely sure how this storm will rank, compared to previous storms. Remember the quote from Simmonds and Rudeva paper I mentioned in update 1:
The plot shows that AS12 was at the tail of the distribution and, at 966.38 hPa, was the lowest in our record, beating the previous deepest (966.94 hPa) (for a storm at 06UTC 7 August 1995) by 0.56 hPa. The next lowest central pressure, 969.23 hPa, was associated with a cyclone at 06UTC 22 August 1991, followed by the fourth lowest storm central pressure in the earlier part of that month 00UTC 7 August 1991 (970.47 hPa).
But it's definitely a very powerful storm, and even if it doesn't boast the lowest central pressure, all these re-intensifications will probably have it score high in other requirements for GAC nomenclature. And that reminds me of something I wrote back in 2012, following a quote that is highly relevant today:
“This past week’s storm was exceptional, and the occurrence of Arctic storms of extreme intensity is a topic deserving closer investigation,” noted Walsh. “With reduced ice cover and warmer sea surfaces, the occurrence of more intense storms is certainly a plausible scenario. The limitation at present is the small sample size of exceptional events, but that may change in the future.”
That last bit is the reason I'm hesitant calling this the Great Arctic Cyclone of 2012, or Arcticane, or some such. What if we see a similar cyclone in 2013 or 2014? We'll run out of names.
Mind you, I don't want to downplay the importance and magnitude of this storm, it's by far the biggest thing I have seen in the Arctic since I started the blog, but to me this whole event isn't about the storm itself, but about a possible new regime - a new aspect of the new abnormal - with big summer storms in the middle of the Arctic.
I called it the new abnormal at the time, but if this becomes 'normal' (compare coverage of this storm to 2012, for instance), then what cachet does the name 'Great Arctic Cyclone' still have?