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Ian Allen

Just a reminder that it will be an interesting time to view the black and white Bremen map which discriminates those 1% to 9% concentration data shown as sea on the colour map.

Artful Dodger

El niño dice: "Hay una tormenta que se avecina"...

Russell McKane

The Barrow Web image I commented on in the Cyclone Warning post was from August 5th 21:58:40 much angrier than these later images. (I did save a copy- but not sure how to make it available.) If worse is to come coastal erosion will be bad.

Paul Klemencic

Aaron Thibeaux Walker, a man of black/Cherokee descent from Linden, Texas, moved to Los Angeles during the depression, and played the clubs in south central LA. During WWII, his friends worked in the shipyards and aerospace manufacture.
He asked them: "How's it going ?"
They replied: "Not good… But the eagle flies on Friday!' (govt. paychecks)

T-bone said it the best:
They call it stormy Monday, but Tuesday's just as bad.

Charles Longway

Good to know that the rowers are safe! Another team is in the path of this storm. The Shell drill team started started installing anchors last Tuesday "in the Chukchi Sea north of Alaska". As far as I can tell the "Arctic Challenge" is still at is first drill sit ~1000 miles North of Dutch Harbor. The US coast guard delayed the effort a month by insisting that the team be equiped to withstand a 100-year storm.


Too bad they didn't start drilling yet, to be then blown out by this storm. In the ideal case there's a lot of material damage with zero loss of lives.


BTW, I'm writing updates to this blog post, so refresh ze browzer, as the French say.

Charles Longway

Looks like the Aiviq and Fennica have set sail from the Aleutian Islands. the Fennica is an ice breaker, like not needed now. Greenpeace may still be in the Chukchi with the Esperanza

Seke Rob

Precursor: http://i137.photobucket.com/albums/q210/Sekerob/Climate/CT_SIA_Annual_MinimaProj.png

2012 just 140K over the 2009 minimum. Gino Vannelli, Storm at Sunup http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rvGMgJmrfMk ... burning a candle for what's coming

Paul Klemencic

If I recall from the Flash Melt event last year, we lost about 250k overnight in the Chukchi and Beaufort regions. IJIS extent numbers were delayed. The big loss was averaged out considerably in the IJIS data, but showed up in the MASIE data (with quite a bit of confusion).

Today is starting to look like a replay, with one big exception: this isn't going to just be a one day event.

Hmmm… I was going to finish this comment by writing something about when this will end, but then I realized that I don't know when this will end.


I've added update 5 and 6 to the post.

The CT SIC animation leads me again to ask: Will we see large patches of sea ice get detached from the main ice pack?


Maybe we'll see when they post the composite at EC.
Could be as early as tomorrow

I'm working on my "declouding" technique - tomorrows image may require it with that storm and all


Rob, does that mean that the overnight SIA drop was 80-90k? If so, interesting how much less it is than the extent drop.

Or is that the "revised" number?

Enquiring minds want to know...........

Seke Rob

Here's the animated version... fast ment-math required ;>):


From 3.65 to 3.56... -90K.

Paul Klemencic

The MODIS Arctic Mosaic shows some interesting changes. On the pack away from the storm, the Laptev Bite is still opening as floes are pushed away from the CAB pack (look at a closeup of tile r04 c04, with the NP near the bottom left corner).

The massive cloud bank flow over the Chukchi/Beaufort is impressive… lots of moisture being moved into those regions.

Artful Dodger

Hi dabize.

On 08/04/12 (day 217) CT SIA was 3.556 M km^2 for a daily drop of -0.090 M or 90,000 km^2.

Janne Tuukkanen

Charles, Fennica is something called "multipurpose ship" -- it acts as icebreaker on Baltic Sea during winter, but in summer months, it's rented as support vessel mostly for oil companies, is there ice or not in target area (Alaska, Brazil). I think one of these is now in Mediterranean.

This business model was developed some twenty years ago, when the state owned company operating Finnish icebreakers noted that it was a bit counterproductive to sit hugely expensive old fashioned icebreakers in harbor most of the year.

Paul Klemencic

Neven: I think the answer to your question is certainly yes. The rotation of the LP system will push the isolated sections of ice away from the main pack. But much of that ice will melt out this week anyway.

The key weak point to the CAB pack was the Laptev Bite, and that continues to open. But a second weak point seems to be forming at 180E and 80N. Given the tight rotation being formed by this low, ice blocks and floes from CAB pack will be fractured off and pushed toward the E. Siberian sea at the 180 longitude edge of the CAB pack. By the end of the week, we could see open seas with less than 15% ice extending north of 80N at this point.

Getting rid of the weaker ice pack at the lower latitudes was a snap, even for the emerging low. But now the fully developed storm should really eat into the CAB pack. What a week this should be!


Thanks Dodger - thats what I meant by 80-90k.
That extent number now becomes the question.

Is it a ridiculously high preliminary number due to be revised downward 200k or so?

Or does it mean that a large amount of the really thin, fragmented ice (i.e. that registers on SIE but not SIA) has finally bit the dust, thanks to this storm?

Guess we'll see soon enough.


The end game is near. The action seems to be concentrated near the anomalous low. At the same time the Atlantic side is showing the pattern I supposed at the end of last winter. The 700K sector above Frantsa Yosefa is falling apart into floes. And, as I think Paul wrote this morning, it is possible to circumnavigate the islands. Compared to MDIS same day last year: then the mesh pattern of leads and more or less intact large floes was still there, close up to the islands.
The actual ice boundary is now pushed back to where the high concentration ice was at minimum last year(r03c03).
The Laptev Bite is growing fast…

On the Greenland front… Hamilton is right. Glacier 79 is shedding numerous flakes on it’s calving front. Though Hamilton may have intended the large, disengaging parts of the fast ice. Waiting is now for the Zachariae to wake up.


Ze French say Merci et bravo - now we're going to see if and how this ice can resist a storm.

I've been watching the Arctic See Ice since 2005, and since 2007 there's been no extraordinary event - even if we all know and see that the area and extent do decrease, and we think that the volume also decreases (although we cannot watch it directly until Cryosat data arrive - I always try to remember that PIOMAS is a model).

So far, 2012 didn't seem to be on the way to create such a shock as 2006-2007 did - now it may. Just wait and see...


Added update 7...

r w Langford

In the mid seventies I did lake surveys on the Mackenzie Delta for Esso for their gas drilling program. (All wells have been capped and locked in for over thirty years) Some lakes were deep with huge trout, some shallow with no fish and everything in between. All of the lakes were fresh water. One lake stood out though. It was within a few miles of the coast and had been inundated with salt water at some time in the past as it had salt water at the bottom and fresh water on the top. The unique part was a full set of freshwater fish and invertebrates in the upper thirty feet of water and a complete set of salt water fish in the lower salt water layer. It had been in this stable condition for many years. Not anymore I would wager. Reminds me of the term "Shock and Awe"

Lisa G

I think that this bad boy should have a name; we're on G, and a male name. In comparison, Hurricane Chris had sustained winds of 75 mph (120 km/h) (1-min), and a low pressure of 987 mbar (hPa).

I suggest Gaagii (pronounced GAHgee). It is Navajo for "Raven". Raven is a Trickster God; the Yupik have a legend that Raven created the world.

Saghani is a Yupik word for Raven; the Athabascan word is Yixgitsiy (literally, "everyone's Grandfather.)

Another suggestion is the Athabascan word for Eat -- Guhonh (guh HONE.) That would also be appropriate for this storm, hm?

Artful Dodger

437 AM AKDT MON AUG 6 2012


SFC... (Ed. Note: "Surface")



I like it! More suggestions

For the traditionallty minded: Loki (after the Norse god)

For the manga-raised folks who will actually have to deal with this mess, how about Haruhi?


I thought about giving the storm the name of some fake skeptic, like Fred, Craig or Pat, but then thought better of it. :-B

Thanks, Lodger. Update 8.


Or an alphanumeric code....

How about 4004BC?

Lisa G

Re: naming the storm -- I thought of Loki but got caught up in the whole must-start-with-a-G thing. I really like Loki, though.

Jim Williams

How about Neven's Low?

(Geeze, and I even logged in for that!)

Paul Klemencic

Okay, I am going to use Lisa G's suggestion, and call this storm Gaagii. Currently, the LP center of Gaagii is located at 170W and 80N. The ice pack around this location is likely getting ripped apart, particularly between the 170W and 165E longitudes.

The Bremen map tonight, should show a big hole of lower concentration ice opening up at this location (if the sensors can see the ice).


How about Neven's Low?

I definitely do not want to be associated with a monster like this! :-P

Find me some polar bear cub I can adopt, 'kay?

Chris Reynolds

From the main post -
"Will we see large patches of sea ice get detached from the main ice pack?"

This is one of the most exciting prospects, a large detachment of ice off Siberia seperated from the main pack would be an unusual event indeed.

To the best of my knowledge such a large breakaway hasn't happened before.

Seke Rob

Waiting on IJIS/JAXA [who had a century the day before], MASIE managed to get a number out:

2012217 6498851,02
2012218 6471961,20

like 27K down!


The Environment Canada site may have the closest thing we can get to real time images.

The animation linked above by Neven is low resolution, but moving to satellite, HRPT visible, large brings up the latest image in high resolution.



Jim Williams

Don't want to be associated with the end of the Polar Ice Cap?

(Although I'd say the capping part ended in 2007. Since then the ice hasn't been able to deform using it's own weight to fill the gaps.)

Peter Ellis

Hmm, not really taken with the naming thing - tropical cyclones and polar lows aren't the same thing!

However, if you want a G name, the most appropriate has to be (Polar) Hurricane Greed. It's eating up the ice cap, and it's a symptom of our own overconsumption of fossil fuels.

Artful Dodger

Arctic Depression "Gee" it is then... Peter has named this baby :^)

R. Gates

Given how much mixing, melting, moving, and general disruption of the Arctic sea ice is occurring and going to occur until Friday at least, it seems likely that all extent and area numbers are going to be very suspect until at least the weekend. The data is going to be as jumbled as the ice pack itself and subject to dramatic and unreliable spikes up and down. But by Sunday at the latest we should know what destruction the Great Arctic Cyclone of 2012 has brought in terms of sea ice and coastal erosion.

Steve Bloom

IIRC other types of storms do get official(?) names sometimes, Peter, although not the ones in this region. I'm thinking of some of the big European winter storms.

While we're on the topic, I faintly recall reading that storms of this sort are damped by the ice cap. Does anyone know if there's any science projecting greater frequency/intensity as the cap goes?


Steve Bloom:

James Hansen argues that the temperature gradient between low and middle/high latitudes will increase as global warming continues.

This dosn't address yout question directly, but according to Hansen these type of events might become more frequent in the comming years.

YouTube (J Hansen): The Runaway Greenhouse effect

Artful Dodger

Arctic Depression "Gee" was over 1,000 miles (1,600 km) in diameter as per DMI Arctic weather "Mean Sea Level Pressure" chart, 2012-08-06 12:00 Z (about 8 hours ago as I write this):


Central pressure looks to be below 960 mb with the storm centered at approx. W170 N78.

Paul Klemencic

The storm center has moved closer to the NP than previously, and much closer than forecasts. This places probably 40% of the remaining highest concentration CAB ice pack within the strongest wind fields of the storm.

So will the ice pack hold up, or begin to shatter?
Once the pack begins to form cracks, the edges provide resistance to the wind and help separate the blocks and floes. There is a very good chance, that a lot of polynyas are being opened within the wind field, i.e. between 120E to 90W, between 88N and down to 80N to 82N.

This will crack open a lot of the remaining continuous ice left in the Central Arctic Basin region. Couple this with the damage already done in the vicinity of the Laptev Bite, and a new possibility arises: Even though its unlikely to get to full open water, there exists a reasonable possibility that the ice at the NP could deteriorate into the 60-80% concentration range before the melt season ends.

Artful Dodger

437 AM AKDT MON AUG 6 2012

.DISCUSSION... (continued)



50 Shades of "Gee"...

Janne Tuukkanen

In tropical areas we have huge amounts of latent heat, which is released when the air rises and condensates. But in the arctic (not antarctic, the landmass writes the rules there) we could have plenty of warmish water surrounded by cold areas covered by ice. Maybe there could be a process comparable to tropical cyclones, which could emerge from extreme high temperature and moisture gradients on upper latitudes?


A few weeks ago, as I was watching the dramatic events unfolding across Greenland, I said to myself that July 2012 would go down in annals of climatological history as a very significant month. Then this monstrous storm appears in August in an attempt to make July look like just the opening act in a very tragic drama.

I'm finding that every time I decide to log-on again, I need to bring a few beers, a bag of chips and a score sheet. And here I thought that Climate Change occurred at a glacially slow pace!

Philippe Terrier

Relevant publications

Polar lows as arctic hurricanes

À hurricane-like polar low fuelled by latent heat flux


As far as naming, I like R. Gates' description, "the Great Arctic Cyclone of 2012." GAC-2012 is a good name.

I'm wondering if this might be a feature of the "new normal" for the arctic.

Looking at the weather map from wetterzentrale.de, I'm struck by the sudden organization of weather systems. A few days ago, we had a patchwork of high and low pressure systems. Now it's all self-organized into a central cyclone surrounded by high pressure systems, presumably feeding warm/moist air into the central cyclone.

I wonder if we could be witnessing a new kind of stable cyclone (as the Red Spot of Jupiter is a stable cyclone). Until colder temps around the N. hemisphere develop to shut off the heat engine, that is....

Paul Klemencic

On the WUWT Arctic Ice News (really? Real news?)

After over 240 comments, just a while ago, the WUWT ice experts finally found out there was a storm in the Arctic.

Steve Mosher let the cat out of the bag.

Janne Tuukkanen

Maybe we are rushing a bit here. But due all logics arctic could be moving towards a new phase, where vast ice cover no longer could stabilize the region.

Espen Olsen

Just arrived back from Berlin, what a wonderful city!


Yes it is like watching and studying "An action film" in Super Slow Motion but in a Silent Movie Speed!

Naming Deep Lows in the Arctic Sea, can never be Hurricanes (Atlantic) or Cyclones (Pacific), why not just Namsens?


Luckily, ECMWF has toned down its forecast for the next 3-4 days. Tomorrow still looks to be pretty intense, but the storm will start to dissipate Wednesday and Thursday.

Steve Bloom

Thanks so much for the pointer, Philippe!

They are such geniuses over there, aren't they, Paul? John Galts, every one...

The new issue of the New Yorker magazine has a topical cover, although it does seem like the weather conditions ought to be reversed.


John Galt, now there's a good name for this storm. ;-)

NSIDC has a new monthly summary out.

Chris Biscan


I would throw out anything the models have past 36-48 hours right now until we see a new pattern emerge they will be having mass run to run issues with this kind of event to forecast, especially considering this cyclone is over a very data sparse region for the models not like the United States where copious amounts of real time data goes into the models. Helping model initializations in those regions of the world. Unfortunately this beast is in no mans land North. Antarctica would be even worse.

So we are really blind right now into what is next after day 2-3.

Even those days I bet are off, but I bet days 4-7 right now are very bad.


Definitely, Chris. I'm taking this one day at a time.

I just added a last update to the post, number 9, with a weather map from Environment Canada showing 962 mb today in the centre of the storm.

That was the last update for today. I'm doing another post tomorrow. Off to bed now. Cheerio.

Chris Biscan

Paul, the folks on WUWT take those ARC graphs serious. Like literal. They haven't read or they completely ignore the literature on it. Which shows the ice is upwards of 1.17M to thick on those graphs. yeah that is quite a bit off.

Even now the ARC volume would be far to high, it has way to much thicker ice. the 1M ice might not be off by much but there is not that much 1.5-5M ice. Not a chance there is 2M ice in the central arctic by the pole that spread out.

It's really sad to see so many folks led such a stray. If I was running a blog I would have a list of factual things like ARC thickness graphs are off by 1M or whatever the exact number is so folks know the truth. Of Course pending the blog or forum the truth needs to change to fit ideology and politics. Some blogs and forums are loaded with science junkies looking to expand there intellectual horizons and other are filled with ideologists and a few science based ideologists together for a completely different reason.

At this point, AmericanWx & this blog have extensive climate change exchanges based solely in science. In the Sea Ice discussion realm. WUWT has completely dropped out, besides the most Barron run of the mill mentions to keep on the appearance of being a legit source for Science. It's an ugly selfish game, but it's nice watching it fall apart.


From the Canadian Ice service are the charts for the Alaskan Coast/Beaufort and Chukchi Seas.



Everything in yellow and green will be especially susceptible to destruction from high seas and the arrows showing the movement and speed of the ice indicate that the ice that does survive will be packed up along the Canadian archipelago or pushed into Mclure Straight. Rarely have I seen double digits for NM movement of the ice on these charts and I don't recall ever seeing 15 NM.


Anyone want to venture any guesses as to how much this storm will decrease the albedo across the arctic?
My thoughts are these:
1. To begin with there will be less ice period, due to what will have been melted.
2. The winds and rain will wipe off any remnants of snow from the ice pack.
3. If the storm broke up enough of the ice into smaller pieces, there are likely to be more rugged surfaces and jagged edges which will be less reflective than flat smooth surfaces. (That's if my knowledge of reflection, deflection and absorption in the radar bands applies to these wavelengths)

Account Deleted


I would get in quick with that polar bear cub adoption, as this year isn't going to be good for them there bears.

Paul Klemencic

OldLeatherneck: The top melt season is mostly finished. The surrounding seas at lower latitudes can still pick up a significant amount of solar energy, but in or near the CAB isn't going to get a lot (this is where the important melt action occurs). We are in the bottom melt season, and the movement of ice over water, or water breaking over ice, is the most important heat source. The movement of the ice, particularly with storms and high wind patterns is key.

Here is a site for a movie of the 2007 melt season. It takes a while to download, but pause it and let it download the file.

When you run the movie, watch the ice movement. In January, watch the Bering sea ice, to get an idea of how mobile the ice is when it isn't buttressed or supported in place thoroughly.

Then in April/early May watch the Beaufort begin breaking up similar to this year, but stop the movie at June 9th. On that date a significant storm hit the Beaufort and melted the eye out significantly, eliminating a lot of Beaufort ice extent. And you can easily see the Beaufort gyre.

During June and July you can see smaller storms and wind eat ice away. Stop the movie again on August 3 when a new storm forms near the New Siberian Islands, and then stop again on August 9th when the storm peaks. You can see the damage to the pack. In 2007, the LP systems were on the Siberian side in August and September, pushing ice toward the Fram. You can see the prevailing wind pushing ice out and compacting the pack to the minimum.

You can learn more about the ice pack melt watching this movie, than most of our calculations and lectures. Please note that although the pack is collecting heat and weakening, in general it takes ice movement over water (exposed to additional reservoirs of heat), and wind driven ice spread/compaction (similar to breathing) to really collapse the pack. At this time of the year, its 99% about storms and ice pack shifting.

George Phillies

Mentioning the Point Barrow web cam and the people quite close to the shore in this significant storm, it appears to be that on the upper left of the view, between the road and the water, there appears to be a substantial earth berm that yesterday appeared to have a gap and today had the gap filled, and that on a 2009 shot that I can no longer locate did not appear to have the berm. However, this may be tricks of the light.

Timothy Chase

Old Leatherneck wrote, "A few weeks ago, as I was watching the dramatic events unfolding across Greenland, I said to myself that July 2012 would go down in annals of climatological history as a very significant month."

You might want to check out Meltfactor:

early-August 2012 Greenland ice reflectivity dips again below 2 standard deviations, August 6th, 2012

Reflectivity is dropping again. I wouldn't expect it to get back down to where it was before, given the lateness of the season, but I wouldn't entirely rule it out, either.

William Hughes-Games

So what happens when enough of the Arctic ocean is open water and becomes a giant solar collector such that it becomes an area of rising air instead of falling air. Presumably the Polar Hadley cell reverses and joins with the Ferrel cell (polar cell and polar jet stream disappears). The next jet stream down moves to about 45degrees North and takes up the job of pushing weather patterns around the globe. Heat is pulled by the northern most of the now two cell system toward the Arctic, melting what is left of the permafrost etc etc. A warm foehn wind blows over Greenland.

Seke Rob

Thx for that William Hughes-Games, a great expansion which the near complete layman can comprehend. Will duly deposit in some "Aint True" threads by folk more susceptible to Panem et Circenses (the old Roman "give the people bread and games" [literally circuses... well you know how a roman circus worked]. 4 Years old, and N/W Europe is starting to experience Jetstream shifting and more :(

Chris Biscan


Big Changes again


This could easily go below CT 3M by the end of the week, and we're already almost half a mil down from the previous ice totals for this date.

I think the ice is about to be rocked like a proverbial hurricane.


If there is a lot of wave action should we not be a little careful with the ice extent\ concentration totals for a few days as some of the freeboard of the ice may be getting overwhelmed by waves?

Chris Biscan




Dorlomin, I answer your question in Arctic storm part 2. The changes in DMI SIE are also in there.

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