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Great summary of the last two weeks. The impact of the GAC 2013 (1), will be interesting to follow. (The (1) is my thinking that we will see more than one of these storms this season.)

While it will churn the ice, the impact on melt across the CAB will of real interest to see if it follows 2012 in impact. I think the persistence of the storm will be key to that result.

Jai Mitchell


In the Region 11 Graph you posted here: ftp://sidads.colorado.edu/DATASETS/NOAA/G02186/plots/r11_Central_Arctic_ts.png

it shows significant Center Pack Melt around June 4th through the 16th but then it levels off when the highest melt was happening in the beufort.

what do you attribute the change of center pack melt during this period? was it surface temperatures? cloud cover? sea surface/waves effects? or other???


Compaction, perhaps?

Jim Hunt

Thanks for another comprehensive update Neven.

My own take on the potential "extra-tropical" cyclone can be seen at "A Storm is Brewing in the Arctic"

In brief, several models agree it's going to happen, and two teams containing a total of 6 intrepid Arctic adventurers seem likely to be out there in amongst it!

Conrad Schmidt

What does "century break" mean?


Conrad, a century break is when a daily decrease (for either sea ice area or extent) is over 100 thousand square kilometres.

Here's my first blog post on Century Breaks, back in 2010.


One more thing of note, with the methane releases this spring from the Norwegian, Barents and Kara Seas, we hit a new high of global methane of 1806 ppb at 469 mb on July, 19, 2013, 0-12 hr.

See: http://forum.arctic-sea-ice.net/index.php/topic,12.100.html#lastPost

Also, the Kara Sea has been emitting high levels of CH4 as subsea permafrost thaws. Check that on methanetracker.org imagery from July 17 onwards.


Well it looks like I called it for the north pole web cams. This coming cyclone should finish them.

Jul 13, 2013 - Looking at the drift of the Borneo web cams, it looks like they will go for a swim in the next month, probably early in the next month. Sam.

Looking at the weather forecasts Jim so nicely assembled on his site, it looks like we should see extensive compaction of the ice north of Ellesmere to the west, and clearing forces across the rest of the arctic as the remaining fractured ice is driven outward toward warmer more turbulent waters. The melt from that should be spectacular.

It will likely also confuse many of the indices as the thresholds for ice free get seriously pushed. I am sticking by my prediction of ~2 million average for September with an absolute minimum of ~1 million precisely because of the increasing frequency of arctic cyclones and their impact on the every more horrible arctic ice conditions. But as with so many things, the conditions may not be as severe even as these tools predict. If not, we may yet see a minimum over 3 million sq. km. I seriously doubt that, but we will soon see.

Even with minor wind conditions, the web cams are so close to the ragged edge that even without the storm that it is hard to imagine conditions that will not throw them into the open seas before mid August.



I have been downloading the IARC-JAXA record for a few years, and this year and last year saw double century breaks (>200,000 km^2)with the larger one this year, on 3rd July (208,281 km^2).

However, it is clear that the range of breaks (max size - min size) has been increasing - the variance of daily breaks is now larger, making the daily melt more inconsistent and much less predictable. There are more large daily breaks, but possibly also more small ones (while the trend is to inceasing melt).

Would anyone with a better grasp of ice melt dynamics be able to comment on that?

Kevin O'Neill

toby - the increasing variation is likely a result of the 'looser,' less compact nature of the ice pack. More melt has led to larger marginal ice zone areas - areas with a mix of open water and ice floes. There is great difficulty in tabulating these areas correctly and consistently. Warmer temperatures have also led to an increase in melt ponds - this too causes uncertainty - from the satellite's perspective is the visible water open water or a surface melt pond?



What you are saying is that the increasing variance is an artefact of the data collection because it has become harder to measure the extent of daily breaks due to the altered nature of the melting pack, itself a function of global warming. It is increased variance due to increaesd observational error, and not the variance of the melt itself.

Sounds reasonable to me.


IJIS values have been more variable since the AMSR satellite failed and they started using Windsat data instead. Although the image they produce is now from AMSR-2, I believe they still use Windsat for the numerical data. I don't think Cryosphere Today or NSIDC show increased variability in the last couple of years, so I doubt it has anything to do with the melt.


This animation first considers the 2012 season at weekly intervals from 24 July 13 up to the 16 Sep 12 minimum.

The color scheme is simple because a classification algorithm was applied to Jaxa color microwave, partitioning the Arctic Basin into land mask, open water, or ice.

Next the animation nests the weeks of the 2012 season. This is feasible because on the whole the ice left at week n+1 fits inside the ice left at week n.

Finally, this is shown for yesterday 20 Jul 13 and with the 2012 overlay

 photo overlap1213b_zps6c98d60b.gif


Oops, confusing typo above "...the 2012 season at weekly intervals from 24 July 12 [not 13] up to the 16 Sep 12 minimum.

Steve C

Presuming the cyclone proves to be intense and persistent, might I suggest the name "GPAC-2013"? For "Great+Persistent Arctic Cyclone of 2013," of course.
Further, a nickname of "Cyclone Shelly," in honor of Shell Oil's misadvantures in the arctic, both business and environmental misadventures.

R. Gates

I would vote to see the first Arctic Cyclone that is named to be named Arctic Cyclone Daly, in honor of the true father of all modern climate change "skeptics", John Lawrence Daly:


Now, there is no reason BTW that we here on this blog can't go ahead and name these storms. The Weather Channel started naming winter storms last year, with no special permission granted from the government, so there is nothing that gives them more right to name storms than all of us here at the ASI blog. In fact, given our dedication to the intense study of the subject, I think we've all earned this right.

Arctic Cyclone Daly for the storm forming this week?

R. Gates

BTW, there are numerous side benefits to naming these storms after the cream of the crop in the denial-sphere. Besides giving us all a bit of an inside joke (dark humor for sure), it may draw attention to what's happening in the Arctic from others, as even some skeptics, who may be be interested to see what all the fuss is about in the Arctic with Arctic Cyclone Watts or Arctic Cyclone Monckton or Arctic Cyclone Soon tearing up things. They might actually pay attention and stop drinking from the denier's cool-aid vat.


"the increasing variation is likely a result of the 'looser,' less compact nature of the ice pack."

Was going to write that Kevin

But lets look at melting proper, when it takes roughly 6.5 months for first year ice to reach its peak thickness gradually, it would theoretically take 6.5 months for the reverse process, a slow but gradual melt accelerating as the ice gets thinner. Was it not for the fact that Earth years don't have 13 months, the great melts need open water to occur, so it would take 5.5 months or less to create a thaw 1st year balance. We are at about 3.5 months with 2 to go. The melt accelerates as the first months of freezing do. The balance of the past (before 1998) favoured freezing, accretion, the math and physics forbade a positive over all melt. The difference of today is the open water, now everywhere , even near the Pole. Open water trumps the 6.5 months necessary total melts, to lesser months. What we learn now a days, is that if the winds scatter the ice over open water, instead of compacting ice away from coastal shores, the open water factor gets cancelled.
Remains to be seen whether the open sea mixed with scattered ice have same effect as from open water near shores. But the cyclone to come will seriously compact ice in one area and scatter it in another, again the Arctic Ocean Gyre is stalled. The forecasts project coastal highs for Beaufort / North Alaska coast. Lets see who's prediction will prevail, watch how close the NP will be shaved by open water. The dynamics of loose ice are such that one side of the Pole will get seriously open, always thinking that great melts require the same geography or morphology pattern is a mistake, we must consider prevailing winds teaming with other vectors to realize that ice goes wherever it is pushed.

Susan Anderson

Thank you everyone for some terrific work. Jim Hunt, one of your commenters over there suggests that this upcoming cyclone will result in more ice and some solidification.

Does anything else think this is likely, and if so, why?

I readily admit I know very little about it, but it seems the general assumption is that this will result in more ice breakup rather than accumulation.


Here is a large melt pond coming to encircle NPEO2013 webcam2 on the 16th day of the animation, 21 Jul 13.

Serious melt in the last few days -- and note the small waves in the final image.

Some of the pictures are quite beautiful; in others, the lens is covered with raindropes. It takes a quick batch of several images at 6 hour intervals, not sure what the reasoning is with that.

full width is 603 pixels:
 photo npeo_cam2_zps34ba9a21.gif

Kevin O'Neill

wayne - Remains to be seen whether the open sea mixed with scattered ice have same effect as from open water near shores.

Exactly. Is this new melt pattern more conducive to melt - or less? That is the question. August/Sept. will bring us answers.


@ R. Gates

Done. For my next blog on the subject, I'll be naming it Arctic Cyclone Daly.

Fantastic idea, btw. Will credit you for the excellent brainstorm.


You guys notice the latest ECMWF model run shows Arctic Cyclone Daly as a 975 mb storm directly over the Beaufort? Should it emerge and do significant damage to sea ice, one has to wonder if Arctic weather conditions are becoming more favorable for such events in late July or early August?

One thing to consider is the record heat that has built up in a ring around the Arctic from about 80 degrees north to just south of the Arctic Circle. Tracking for this summer has shown a consistent set of heatwaves emerging in this zone with temperatures regularly hitting the 80s and even 90s in some cases. The extra heat has got to be amping up the hydrological cycle in these regions, injecting extra moisture into the Arctic environment. As the heat and moisture build throughout summer, it creates a high degree of instability vs the colder, drier ice pack.

Tellingly, with Arctic Cyclone Daly, we see a long tongue of warm air riding into the Beaufort just one day before he kicks into high gear.

The Beaufort may be the ideal location for these storms to form as it is geographically off-set from the pole and, more importantly, from the cold zone that is Greenland. With hot continents surrounding it and nothing but sea ice and a fresh water layer to insulate it, the late summer Beaufort is little more than a tongue of meteorological instability.

That's the thesis at least.

As for those North Pole cams... #2 is swimming in a giant melt pond now and it looks like the brine channels near #1 are just now starting to trigger. Do these things float? Or do they just fall through when the ice melts out?

Charles Longway

I very much value Jim as a commenter - one who has earned trust and respect.
I lived in Florida for a few years and know from personal experience the fickle nature of cyclones. This cyclone should be something between a no-show weak graze to the Western side to the end of the Arctic as we have known it. Cyclones nearly always take an unexpected path with unexpected power. The cyclone will spread the ice where ever it goes, increasing area but with thinner ice. Jim may be right that area and extent may increase for a day or two. With strong ice in the past, the wave action was dampened. In today’s weak ice, wave action will bring up heat and salt from lower layers of water and will likely wash off ice and snow accumulation from the storm. The center this year is very weak. If this cyclone gets close to the center with power, I would expect a flash melt from the inside out, with a compaction wave moving outward destroying and compressing as it goes. The ice, pushed to the outside of the arctic, would have extra days to bask in the more Southern sun. I do hope Jim is right, and that this storm is not the return of the dragon king, GAC-2012.

Jai Mitchell

If these storms receive names they should be taken from the local native mythologies taken from the Inuit,Aleut, Yupik, Alutiiq, Sami, Dolgan, Nganasan, Nenets, Saami, Khanty, Chukchi, Evenk, Even, Enets, Eskimo (or Yupik), and Yukagirthe peoples oral histories.

I would suggest this one be named by a Chukchi derived name since it is starting out in the Chukchi Sea, probably Re´kkeñ since it is such a badass.

R. Gates


I really do like the idea of naming them from local native mythologies, as it just seems to give them some proper respect. But see my response to Robert and the logic of why the names these potentially destructive storms might want to be given to give a different kind of recognition. Whatever we decide, I think definitely SOME naming convention should begin, and we're as good a group as any to do it.


We must give credit to Neven for a big part of this idea. I thought of naming the storms after great Arctic explorers-- but he made the excellent observation that these storms do a lot of damage to the Arctic ice, and so it's far more fitting to name them after those who have done do much to deny the effects of humans on the climate.

And so the officially (and fittingly by the Arctic Sea Ice blog) first named Arctic Cyclone shall be Arctic Cyclone Daly, if it fully forms as predicted this week. Just to remind those coming to the party late, we are now naming Arctic Cyclones in honor of those "skeptics" who have done to much to deny the existence of Anthropogenic climate change for so long.


Now, as to practical concerns regarding the critera in naming of these storms, we ought to take a clue from both the naming of tropical cyclones and winter storms. It would seem that storms much reach some size, intensity, central core pressure, longevity, etc. As pointed out by P-maker on another post, there are different kinds of Arctic Cyclones, and this might enter into the criteria somehow.

We also should put out an official list (probably good for a number of years) of what the sequence of storm names shall be. These can be living or deceased "climate skeptics", who have furthered the cause of "bringing doubt" about the reality of anthropogenic climate change.


Oh, I am ever happy to spread the word about Neven's fantastic blog. When crediting those who post here, I usually link The Arctic Ice Blog as well and had planned to. So, I'll credit you for the suggestion and Neven for the original thought.

It's a brilliant way to turn the tables on the deniers, though. So we should definitely do all we can to turn it into a meme.

As for picking criteria, I'd suggest we stick with storms most likely to impact the ice. So summer storms for now? But conditions will probably change over time, where spring and fall storms may end up having melt impact.

Peak intensity and duration would probably be the two most easy to apply measures. And we should probably also name only the strongest storms, perhaps 980 mb or lower at peak?

Hmm. Might want to start a forum topic...


Let us leave self indulgent tit-for-tat denigration of deniers for the forums, shall we? Here, let us focus on the science, rather than politics? ;)

To which point - someone was suggesting the cyclone could generate snow (possible) and re-freeze. Considering the water temperatures, the insolation, the input of heat from the margins and the churning caused by possible 100KPH winds, how is that possible? Area might increase, but I only see that happening as a result of ice breaking up.


It's a brilliant way to turn the tables on the deniers, though. So we should definitely do all we can to turn it into a meme.

When I first thought about this (last year when GAC-2012 struck), the idea came from the gut, because I want the world to remember who has lied and is lying to them.

But when I think about it with my brain, I don't know if it's the smartest thing to do. The deniers and their persecution syndrome will turn it into a big victim show. They feed on this kind of stuff. They use the polarization and controversy to delay meaningful action. So, in the ends you play into their hands by naming Arctic cyclones after them.

It's the usual dilemma between choosing the high ground (and going for Jai Mitchell's excellent suggestion) or step down and go all confrontational. Maybe do both?

But either way, naming the storms could be a very good idea, and it'd be cool if our community starts with it. I'll bring it up in a blog post if this storm develops further (checking the ECMWF forecast in a minute).


Leaving the naming discussion until after we have seen a consolidated list of names, I will have a go at defining the bastards.

Agree that only Arctic summer cyclones should be named at this stage. Polar Lows do not last long enough to require separate names and stationary autumn cyclones may preferably get their names from the marginal seas, where they tend to form later in the season.

Browsing through last year’s Great Arctic Cyclone (GAC-12) threads, I would like to suggest a few simple criteria to start with:

1) Duration: > 5 days
2) Core pressure: > 5 isobars (i.e. > 25 hPa lower than core pressure of the nearest high)
3) Wind speed: > 5 Bf (i.e. > 11 m/s or 40 km/h)
4) SST difference: > 5 degrees C (i.e. core SSTs > 5 degrees colder than any Arctic Basin SST anomaly)

Hope this will help.

Cheers P

Jim Hunt

Susan and Charles - Thanks for your kind words. Those comments on my blog about "more ice" were not my own.

My own experience looking at tropical cyclones leads to me to agree with Charles. They are very fickle things, and until proven otherwise I assume the same applies to the "extra tropical" variety too.

I shall continue to watch, and hopefully learn, and I'm not going to put any money on any particular outcome from this particular cyclone just yet!


That warmth around Novaya Zemlya will not help the already retreating glaciers there. Chernysheva and Taisija have both retreated from pinning point islands in the last decade.

R. Gates


Great start for the criteria!

As far as names go, I am in agreement with Neven, and would suggest using Jai's idea, or perhaps just Inuit first names, alternating male and female. Their culture is one of the first to feel the effects of climate change, and naming Arctic cyclones from the Inuit would bring some awareness of the changes they are seeing.

This definitely continues us down the path of taking the higher road.


Comparing 'forecasts' (for tracks/intensity) of tropical cyclones to extra-tropical ones is like comparing day to night. Non-tropical cyclones are VERY well forecast by the numerical models - they form/intensify via totally different thermodynamic energy transfer mechanisms. Admittedly, forecasts for cyclones that form within the high arctic can have larger errors than most mid-latitude storms - but comparing 'accuracy rates' to those of tropical ones is a major mistake.

As well, comparing the 'forecast' for another great 'arctic cyclone' similar to last year's storm fails to take into account where the storm formation is, exactly how deep the storm gets, what the pressure gradient and pressure pattern orientation was last year compared to this year - and its longevity. There are major differences.

R. Gates

In doing a bit of research, this might be a good first named Arctic Cyclone, taking the higher road, giving recognition to the Inuit:


Gender: Masculine
Usage: Native American
In Inuit mythology, Aipaloovik is an evil sea god associated with death and destruction.

Allen W. McDonnell

[quote]Agree that only Arctic summer cyclones should be named at this stage. Polar Lows do not last long enough to require separate names and stationary autumn cyclones may preferably get their names from the marginal seas, where they tend to form later in the season.

Browsing through last year’s Great Arctic Cyclone (GAC-12) threads, I would like to suggest a few simple criteria to start with:

1) Duration: > 5 days
2) Core pressure: > 5 isobars (i.e. > 25 hPa lower than core pressure of the nearest high)
3) Wind speed: > 5 Bf (i.e. > 11 m/s or 40 km/h)
4) SST difference: > 5 degrees C (i.e. core SSTs > 5 degrees colder than any Arctic Basin SST anomaly)

Hope this will help.[/quote]

I agree with definitions 2,3 and 4, however #1 is too extreme for me. A Tropical depression gets named when it passes the threshold for 2, 3 or 4 and keeps that name when it becomes a hurricane if it gets stronger. Arctic cyclones should be treated the same way, once they hit the threshold definition that are an official named storm, even if they fall apart six hours later. I think six hours would be a reasonable age limit, it is long enough to confirm the storm has reached the threshold, which is all you really need for a named storm system. Some will be short lived or have very low impact, others will persist and have huge impacts. Also there should be start and end dates for Arctic Cyclone Season, Tropical Storm season is June 1-November 30 and Winter Storm season went from November 1, 2012 to April 30, 2013. If you want to be taken even a little bit seriously with something like this you need solid definitions and time frames. Otherwise you are just making things up as the mood moves you.

As for the naming, let us dispose of political correctness for the moment and go with the practical. In theory it sounds great and fair to use arctic peoples names, but in reality most of us can't properly pronounce them. In my personal life when people mispronounce my name I am mildly insulted, I see no reason to inflict insults on people who are already suffering from climate change effects.

By a similar token naming storms for deniers gives them a further publicity platform for spouting their pseudo-science, hardly the effect desired.

I recommend a neutral name list of storms, something the local weather man might be able to say clearly and concisely that doesn't have any special political impetus behind it. Personally I think Latin numerals would work (Primus, Secundus, Tertius, Quartus) but YMMV. It could alternatively be alphabetical like the named Tropical Depressions and Winter Storms discussed above, except Arctic Cyclones are rare enough you could use a 26 letter list for probably a decade before you get to Zelda or Zack or Zeb or whomever gets the Z letter named after them :D What were the stats on the spring storm that did so much stirring a couple months ago?

Allen W.


Names & Natives...

If ya'll really want to respect native cultures, the thing to do is to invite their participation at the START of this conversation, instead of inviting their input after you've generated a lot of momentum for a particular result.

That said the romanticist in me loves the idea of native names, but the practical realist in me thinks that the vast majority of the audience will find the unfamiliar pronunciation to be an obstacle, rendering native names less useful.


We could give the storms the first name of fake skeptics, and when they go nuts, we ask them why they would be so megalomaniac to think that those storms are named after them.

In fact I'm going to leave this comment stand another 10 minutes and then delete it, just enough time for one of the retired hoi polloi to make a screenshot and send it to Anthony Watts, so he can go all paranoid and conspirational ideation.

Maybe involve Cook and Lewandowsky in all this?



Are you removing posts? wouldn't a thunk it.


Seems like the naming will go too slowly relative to the dozen or so of a hurrican season. We could be ten years out before ever getting to the first J. So it will need the year attached too.

And perhaps steer clear of the notion that the guns, germs and missionaries of colonial conquistadores implied divine religious backing and that losers lost because their religions were false (mere mythologies or campfire stories).

Meanwhile, Navy Hycom is showing only one big day producing pronounced thinning in the Chuckchi, no Fram export, little effect in the Svalbard/Severnaya Zemlya region.


Allen W

Point taken. Would it be helpful, if we changed to "Forecast duration: > 5 days", since observations will be sparse in the Arctic in the foreseeable future. The name should be applied, when 3 out of 4 models shows a cyclone exceeding the 5 day duration period (and the other criteria as well).

Concerning the naming convention, I could suggest reversing the alphabetical order, so we don't mix up the names with those of tropical cyclones. Immediately, a list such is this springs to my mind:


Which could - by the way - be interpreted in various ways...

R. Gates

Certianly if there are any Inuit who read this blog their input is most welcome regarding the naming of Arctic Cyclones, or if anyone knows any Inuit, an open invitation for feeback would be great.

We have a lot of opinions about what these storms should be named, but some general consensus that we should begin to name them (based on some specific criteria). The naming of the storms will only help to raise awareness of the big changes going on in the Arctic (climate and to the Arctic peoples)-- that should be the ultimate goal, IMO.

There could be a compromise of sorts, where we name them using Inuit names (both male and female and unisex), but try to keep the names short and simple Inuit first names, rather than long and complex (i.e. Akna versus Akkilokipok) so that the chance of them being repeated and repeated CORRECTLY in the English and non-Inuit world is greater.

All just my thoughts at this point...


Sounds like an awful lot of politics going on WRT naming storms up there to create awareness. This blog would be better off sticking to the science of it. Just my .02.

Of course, if the goal of this blog is to be more of an activist site, then its probably a good idea. I think it would hurt the credibility of the site from a scientific standpoint though.

R. Gates


Agreed that we possibly should have kept our discussions on the names a bit more private, but actual scientists choose names for Hurricanes (and now winter storms) all the time. Our focus should be on the Arctic and the science behind the changes going on there, and deciding to name Arctic cyclones (based on strict criteria) is not an unscientific thing, though we certainly strayed a bit into politics in talking about how to choose names.

It will be useful in the future to discuss storms by name, and proof of that is already seen in how we all talk about GAC-2012 and know exactly what we are referring to. Thus, in the future, suppose we have large separate cyclones in June, July, August, and September of some given year, then it will be useful to refer to them by name Arctic Cyclone Akna-2015, or Arctic Cyclone Chena-2015, etc.

I do like the idea of attaching the year to the name by the way...


ECMWF has the cyclone lasting 2-3 days now. If the forecast doesn't change too much, I will probably post about it tomorrow.

Tom Zupancic

I personally agree with the idea of giving the Arctic Cyclones names that are significant to the people of the Arctic. As a rare poster (albeit, an avid follower of this forum), I did not want to presume to speak for the group, but perhaps someone here could directly contact some people on the North Slope of Alaska and ask them what they think. Here is one link I found http://www.inupiatgov.com/ "Inupiat Community of the Arctic Slope "


R. Gates has just written a guest post to discuss criteria for and naming of Arctic summer storms: The Naming of Arctic Cyclones.

Please, continue the discussion over there. Discuss the storm itself, its impacts (specifically on the ice in the Beaufort) and related stuff here. I will probably have a separate post on the storm tomorrow.


The OSU Polar Weather model has the SLP drop to 979 mb on 250713 and the storm persisting as a 981 mb low at 260713 0000 UTC in the northern Beaufort/CAB.

The impact of this storm will be interesting to observe, I think it will fracture the remaining MYI ice in the Beaufort/CAB and accelerate late season melt.

michael sweet

It seems to me that it has been much cloudier this year than the last few years. Has anyone seen a post quantitating the amount of clouds this year compared to previous years?


Another facinating detail that is worth to notice in A-team's animation is how the black and white pole in the foreground slowly reappears from the snow it was almost covered by. I am realy suprised by how fast the snow melts.

Kevin McKinney

wayne, your "when it takes roughly 6.5 months for first year ice to reach its peak thickness gradually, it would theoretically take 6.5 months for the reverse process..." made me wonder why one would assume symmetry for these processes? FWIW, I wouldn't have.

Lord Soth

Michael Sweet: There is a strong correlation between cloud cover and the Arctic Oscillation (AO) which can be found under the Arctic Sea Ice Graph section.

General when the AO is positive, the Arctic is under low pressure, and when the AO is negative, high pressure and clear skies prevail.

For 2013, the AO has been mostly positive since early April, with plenty of cloudy cool weather.

Of Interest, the AO finally broke -1 yesterday, which is in divergence to the great arctic cyclone of 2013.

So either the AO will quickly head positive, or the Great Arctic Cyclone of 2013 will be a bust.

Chris Reynolds

Are we really going to see flash melting though?

Bremen 24/7/12 (first AMSR-2 image)
Bremen 21/7/12 (most recent).

What the Aug 2012 storm hit was already in a terrible state. This storm isn't going to hit ice in the state it was in 2012.

My bet; this storm will come and go with negligible impact.


The upcoming cyclone is going to do its thing starting tomorrow. The AO ensemble forecast has the index going up. You can see it shaping up very nicely on the DMI SLP map.


My bet; this storm will come and go with negligible impact.

The effect definitely won't be as big as last year. You're right that the ice looks to be in better shape (less patchy) when the cyclone hit last year or in late August 2011.

But just like with PAC-2013, we might be seeing the effect a couple of weeks later.


Kevin, if you look at excellent but flawed (temperature correction wise) mass buoys, the process would be close to reversed from the freezing point. With ice in a tight pack or frozen in one piece, the process should be symmetrical, with open water not so. Because water retains a whole lot more solar radiation.

The coming cyclone will compress a great deal of ice in one sector and scatter it in the other. Lets wait and see what will happen. Time will make the ice melt almost completely until refreeze starts, its appearance already fools some in thinking there is no or very little melting, if hampered by clouds the refreeze will be slow onto itself.

John Christensen

The effect of PAC-2013 that was observed a couple of weeks later: It delayed the drop in SIA, and average thickness (PIOMAS) became higher than in 2012 even with larger area.. right?


I was thinking more along the lines of the hole near the North Pole, John.

John Christensen

End-June comparisons of 2012 and 2013 clearly shows the poor condition of the ice in the Western Arctic in 2012, and that PAC-2013 did spread, but not melt the ice:


The stakes seem higher this year though, as more ice can be found at lower latitudes in the western parts and so will either prevent SST from going up - or will melt away.

A late July cyclone could possibly be neutral, as it will keep temps down at the price of further spreading the ice. Will be very interesting to follow.

John Christensen

Yes, agree. And also agree that while we have seen the positive consequences of PAC-2013, we may not yet have fully realized the negative impact - the dispersion of part of the central pack.


ECMWF has backed off ever so slightly, forecasting a peak of 985 hPa (I believe it has been 980 hPa up till now). That makes me hesitate to put up a separate blog post for this thing.

BTW, checking out LANCE-MODIS and comparing the Beaufort Zone (r05c02)to last year, I would say the ice looks at least as bad as last year, except that there's more of it and it's more compact, therefore less patchy than last year. I would even venture to say that there's less individual floes that can be made out in the grey desert, but that's subjective.

Even if 2013 manages to come close to 2012, the overall damage will be smaller, I think, due to all the delay. But that's subjective too. :-)

John Christensen

On the DMI forecast site (one of my favorites with my low-tech skills) they show rotation at least through 7/27 with quite some compaction of Beaufort towards CAA. They also forecast a spread of sub-zero temps in Western Arctic:

John Christensen

Check DMI forecast too:

They forecast good rotation (surface current) with compaction of Beaufort as well as spread of sub-zero temps (surface temperature) for the next five days.

Kevin O'Neill

As we contemplate the possible effects of the predicted cyclone, we have this from Matthew Asplin (PhD Graduand). He has published with Dr. Dave Barber and submitted Cyclone Forcing of the Ocean-Sea Ice-Atmosphere Interface as his PhD thesis.

I think there is enough open water, and enough fracturing in the sea ice surface, as well as weakening (preconditioning), that mechanical forcing from this storm's winds, storm surge, waves, and possible local upwelling and mixing of the near-surface ocean layer could drive a rapid reduction in extent, as we saw last year. Cloud cover from this storm will temper the solar insolation. Given that this is occuring in late July, we still have all of August, and half of September for further solar-driven melting, or storm-forcing.

This is definitely an event to watch, and definitely the "Year of the Arctic Cyclone" when it comes to predicting the Arctic sea ice minimum extent.

(And thanks to Matthew for allowing me to add his comments to our discussion.)


I took some screen shots as the storm was developing - will add more later. I don't think its falling apart just yet, I think it has a day or so of spin left at least.



And this site ( link below ) predicts the spinning at the pole to continue for some days yet.



And looking at the jet stream again, I'd say this storm will get a HUGE kick in about 12 hours time. A swoop of that will go right along the coast of Canada and into what is left of MYI, pushing it in the direction of the Fram.

Crozet Dutchie

tropical tidbits is done by a young guy who lives in Alaska of all places (Levi Cowan), I enjoy his youtube analyses almost as much as Neven's blogposts! He started to do this a few years ago and also posted comments on Jeff Masters' Wunderblog. He has gotten pretty good! http://www.youtube.com/channel/UCrFIk7g_riIm2G2Vi90pxDA


@ Neven

You're probably right to take the high ground and not go for direct confrontation, though it cuts against the grain for me.

Perhaps we could go with the names of animals on the endangered species list, or the names of nations and communities that will surely flood as sea levels rise, or the names of previous mass extinction events.

My bent has been to try to call out cause and effect and to name blame where blame is due. I don't think avoiding confrontation has done us a shred of good and where we've made gains, we've done so by direct action. So, though I respect the cerebral route, I'm more of the mind that these bullies aren't going for a fight, they're just trying to cow people into submission. By acting directly against them we both take responsibility and demand accountability. And that, my friend, in my view, is how to deal with this pack of professional bullies, agitators, witch hunters, and science manglers.

In essence, take them down before they have a chance to become more horrible than they already are.

I may be wrong, but it seems to me that we don't have much time left to bring about a systems change. So we need to get these fools out of the way as fast as possible.


@ Neven

Predicted intensity has backed off a bit to 985 in the most recent model runs. So this storm could well still fade a bit. The influx, though, still makes it look as if a significant system is brewing. Will see come morning tomorrow.

Jim Hunt

Neven and Robert,

It's morning (in the UK at least) and GFS is currently still holding out for 980 over a 24 hour period. Nowhere else seems to agree with them though.


ECMWF also has it back to 980 hPa for tomorrow's forecast. I'll open a separate blog post this evening.

ECMWF also has it back to 980 hPa for tomorrow's forecast.

Make that day after tomorrow (no pun intended).


Here is a hypothetical melt scenario for August. It consists of nothing more sophisticated than peeling off the peripheral colors one layer at a time off Navy Hycom starting from 30 Jul 13.

The residual ice (which would be thinner than depicted and likely shape-shifted) amounts to 18% of the total Arctic Basin or -- if that is taken as 7.1m km2, 1.3m km2 left. Just saying.

 photo meltScenario_zps17c002cf.gif


Looks like a pretty big loss on IJIS but CT area is running slow again back up to 670k higher than last year.

John Christensen

Thanks for sharing A-Team!

And sorry, since this question must have been asked and answered elsewhere already: Regarding Hycom data for the 30-day gif versions of thickness or concentration: Is this all model data? If so, do you know how well thickness corresponds with PIOMAS?

Chris Reynolds

John Christensen,

PIOMAS thickness data is monthly average, which makes comparison with the daily HYCOM data tricky. But HYCOM is available here:

And my rendering of PIOMAS is available here:
IIRC I've only done post 2000 there, I'm going to re do the code and colour scale when I get the chance and do the whole lot again from 1978 onwards.

John Christensen

Thanks Chris, will check it out!

DMI forecast is showing surface currents to pick up in earnest especially in Beaufort tomorrow, but also across Chukchi and ESS, and then to slow down again by 7/25, so does not yet seem to be extensive in duration:

From this forecast there should be some compaction towards eastern side of Beaufort, but it does not seem like the cyclone will rip the MYI too much apart on the other side close to the pole. Maybe the forecast tool is struggling to show surface current action due to the ice, or that the breaking up of the ice is substantial, but will not show significantly in this model?

Jai Mitchell

Beaufort Buoy movie shows the beginning of cyclone moving sea ice and increased breakup. fun to watch but real melt/breakup at the last 1/4 of the movie.



I've just published a post to discuss the technical side of this storm and its effects on the ice: Second storm

Tor Bejnar

I really like your melting-the-edges animation. A week or so ago, I cut out (yes, with scissors) a 2012 HYCOM minimum printout and placed it over the one-year-ago HYCOM and traced the minimum onto the mid-July graphic to get an idea on what ice thickness melted out between mid-July and mid-September. From this exercise, my final 2013 graphic would keep the last few levels of thickness that were removed on your animation. (Some "1.25 meter thick" [if I remember what I did] ice melts and some doesn't, however, so I didn't find my exercise particularly instructive. [The stated ice thickness is in quotes to acknowledge HYCOM's somewhat discredited thickness accuracy.])


I do not want to be seen as speaking for the Arctic native peoples, because the increase in frequency and power of these cyclones is a result of nothing they have done, so it seems to me that if Inuit names are used, they should have representative meanings that should be chosen by the peoples of the Arctic, not by us. Hurricane names sure do not have any meanings of significance to us, but are easy to remember.

I'd personally love to pin denier names on significant Arctic cyclones. Names like Inhofe, Michaels, Singer, Morano, etc.

And I do not think this is taking a low road. Deniers who have done the most to prevent doing anything to stop carbon emissions should be known and shamed.

michael sweet

The Nares ice arch collapsed today. It is clearly visible on AtcticIo from the sea ice graphs page (day 7-23).

Ned Ward

An update from my previous post, with projected Sept. mean extent if the rest of this year were to follow the same rate of decline from various previous years.

(For example, the first line of the table says that if you started with today's SIE and had it decline at the same rate that 2012's SIE declined, you would end the 2013 season with a Sept. mean of 3.9 million km2).




Most recent five years are highlighted in bold.

Pete Williamson

So I think it's worth just stepping out of the arctic for a second, this is going to be grossly general. The engine for ice melt is avection (??) of heat into the arctic from NH mid-latitude. The following is HADCRUT4 NH (40N-75N) but pretty much any slice of the sub-polar NH looks similar.


So it looks like the engine has stalled, the polynomial may be meaningless, but for now the warming that occurred up to the mid 2000's has stopped.

Now there are internal processes in the arctic that may or may not have come to equilibrium and there are many interesting weather phenomenon and so on that Neven continues to educate us about. But there is an argument that all other things being equal there's reason to think that Arctic ice isn't going to change much until the engine get's going again. Maybe it's time to stop being surprised when the Beaufort Sea doesn't crash.


Pete, in principle you're right, but a much more important component of the engine is ocean heat flux.

Chris Reynolds


Regards your '??', it's advection.

This is also shown in Arctic temperature.
GISS from 64degN to pole, NCEP from 65 degN to pole.

But a large part of the warming is due to loss of sea ice.
Note that in summer the temperature increase is negligible because that energy goes into melting ice, not warming. The greatest warming is in autumn when heat gained during the summer is vented, and over winter/spring, when thinner ice may be a factor. This doesn't mean that wider warming and influx of warmer air due to the Arctic Dipole aren't causing increased ice loss. Hopefully this year should help to sort out the relative importance of ice state and atmospheric forcing.

Because most of the warming is a result of ice loss, I don't think it's correct to look for warming as a cause of the melt. Or for a re-start of warming to lead to melt starting.

This year has been exceptional in the context of 2007 to 2012. The main reason Beaufort hasn't gone like last year is that May and June temperatures have been cool compared to 2012.

The difference between June 2007 to 2012 and 2013 shows that the cooling of this year extends up into the mid troposphere.

Which suggests that a lack of atmospheric influx is a key factor.

I agree with Neven that ocean heat flux is important for the long term picture of ice decline. But as far as I'm aware there is no evidence that it is the cause of this year's failed crash*. I still think that with a typical atmosphere for 2007 to 2012 we'd have seen a crash this year.

*What I mean be a crash is my previous prediction of 1.75M to 2M km^2 CT Area.


Pete Williamson,

The focus of this blog site is not the state of climate change/global warming in general. There are more specific fora to discuss that, like Tamino’s blog, Real Climate or Skeptical Science.

Since you related your suggestion to a specific Arctic Region like the Beaufort Sea, I feel obliged to put a dime in the basket, as a follow up on Neven’s and Chris’ reactions.

In 2012 The Beaufort showed exceptional and early melt. This year, the process over there follows a plot more in line with the climo since 2000. Yes, partly due to anomalous cold over parts of the Arctic Ocean margins late February-March.

The larger impact came from strong import of MYI out of the CAB. The rotation all January/first part of February underlined the mobility of the whole pack.
I tend to see the more normal temps through April-June as a consequence of
A) Atmospheric cell reconfiguration (more specific the strong SSW’s FI)
B) higher cloud-moisture content
C) spread and splintering contributing to stronger ocean-lower tropospheric interaction holding 2m temps lower than the climo.
I hope I fitted this compact reasoning well enough to present this as an interactive process.

As the 2007-2012 pattern failed to dominate and the June-cliff was mild (most MYI outside the “mesh-pack” is gone and some fringe regions were “better frozen”), it is clear why the melt pattern follows a different path this year.

If, in line with my original prediction, the minimum SIE is around 4Mkm2, then the process is right on track.
When a dipole summer should occur, I foresaw 3.28 Mkm2, not lower because I am convinced by fellow bloggers there is a tail of some years.

However, I still consider that the rest of this strange season could surprise us with a new minimum record, against all odds.

To get there, watch the stubborn Kara Sea and Laptev-ESAS “fast ice”. With that surviving into mid August, a new record is doubtful. If it does go first week of August, the other contribution has to be the Chukchi-region loosing 1Mkm2. Then, if not having another GAC, the Laptev-Frantsa Yosefa splinter zone should go.
I think about 100K MYI in the Beaufort will survive.
Together, ’13 could be on par with ’12 by 10 August.

It would be the largest 17 day drop in recent Arctic history...

If it pans out, through the rest of the season after 10 August weather will decide.


Another big drop on CT Area. Its getting close to years like 2007 and 2011.

Quick question though: Looking at CT area maps, am I the only one that is noticing how much lower the concentration appears versus the SSMI/S Bremen maps? CT uses SSMI too, correct?



Comparing those two, it shows huge areas of near 60% on CT while Bremen shows very little outside the edge near the Beaufort.

What gives?


a large chunk of the NW passage is now on the move towards Greenland


Steve Bloom

You can check, Henry, but the main answer may be that they use different percentage cut-offs, plus of course the algorithms are bound to give somewhat variable results.

Ned Ward

Over in the crowd-sourced predictions thread[*], Paul Klemencic explains why he thinks this year won't be like 2012 (a good explanation, IMHO) and ends with this offhand comment:

We get a one year reprieve in bad news.

That's exactly right. The problem is that certain people (*cough* WUWT *cough*) will treat any uptick as ICE IS RECOVERED THEREZ NOTHING TO WORRY ABOUT YOU DUMB CAGW ALARMISTS.

I was in grad school and actually taking courses in climate science during 1998, and like everyone else I thought the 1998 El Nino would be a clarion wake-up call on the issue of climate change. And at first it was! But after a few years of temperatures being below that absurdly high outlier, the perception changed and 1998 became something that fake-skeptics pointed to when they wanted to show that the world "isn't warming anymore".

Likewise, the 2007 sea ice shocker initially acted as a wake-up call but then was beginning to promote a certain complacency as the denizens of WUWT spent much of 2008-2011 claiming that the ice was "recovering".

It was only 2012 that put an abrupt end to that nonsense. But of course if this year's ice comes in above 2012, as seems increasingly likely, we'll hear the same thing all over again, and next year too perhaps.

I'd prefer to not be losing the summer sea ice at all. But if we have to lose it, I'd much rather lose it in a boring, gradual, consistent decline than in a whipsawing series of crazy drops like 2007/2012 followed by upswings. The noise and uncertainty makes ice-watching more interesting, of course, but it also creates opportunities for the unscrupulous to work their mischief.

[*] I was going to reply in that thread, but I think Neven wants to leave that one for just predictions, and keep the commentary elsewhere.


Finally a clear view of the Northwest Passage and it's simply amazing. Just like last year, the melting is happening in situ. Unlike in the past, the NWP doesn't clear through cracking from the edges inwards. It just cracks everywhere.


Do you think the Northern Route is going to be open this year. There is a big chunk of ice near Severnaya Zemlya that doesn't look it is going to disappear anytime soon.
Likewise on the other side of the Arctic, West of Banks Island, the ice pack appears rock solid. If the NW passage opens, it will be the Southern Route ; the Northern Route is likely to be blocked off at its western end.


Phil, it's the NWP I'm not certain about because of the MYI pushed against McClure Strait, but this has happened before in previous years, and the NWP almost always opened up (except for 2008, I believe).

I'm pretty certain the NSR will open up. In Vilkitsky Strait all of the fast ice has cracked. I'd be highly surprised if the ice west of Severnaya Zemlya last for another two weeks.

I wonder when area and extent is going to drop again. As expected there has been a slowdown/uptick, but there's a lot of really weak ice out there just waiting to flash out of existence.

Crozet Dutchie

Headline for ASI 2013 - update 6 is perhaps: melting has come to a halt? The CT SIA numbers have been flat for the last 7 days around 4.85..... Or are we in for another little "pop" of flash melt in August?

Chris Biscan

I think we still drop over 2 million in extent. Maybe up to 2.5 mil. I have been holding on to 4.4 mil jaxa min and 2.9 mil CT min. I am feel comfortable holding there.

There is a lot of thin ice to go. Lot's of whispy ice still being counted over the pacific side.

The Beaufort/CAA is about to be torched big time. But a lot of cold air is forecasted to be over the central basin into the ESS.

While it's in bad shape. It may not all melt out.

At this point to reach the blogs consensus we need a miracle.


SIE under 7 million on 31/7 according to JAXA... just!
SIE is now almost level with 2009 and a little over 2008.
SIA seems to be stuck on 4.85 and is now slightly above both 2008 and 2009 (4.94)
Big question is: from now on will 2013 trend 2009 or 2008? In 2009, the melt went very slowly in August with SIE finishing at 5.2 million and SIA at 3.4. 2008 behaved quite differently with big melts around 15-18 August finishing with an SIE of 4.7 and SIA just above 3 million.

So, what is the weather looking like for the next fortnight?


I have been watching the Cryosphere Today comparison between 2007 and 2013, and what's been striking throughout this melting season is that the resolution seems to be higher this year.

Throughout this season there has been a lot more green and red than in 2007, and there has been a lot more marbeling of light purple vs. dark purple, compared to 2007

But still 2007 has receded a lot faster, even in areas where 2013 has been green and 2007 has been red/purple, signifying thicker ice.

I am confused by this phenomenon, and have come to the conclusion that either:

a) There was a greater tendency in 2007 for ice to go from relatively thick to nothing overnight. Which I can see no physical reason for.

b) There has been a change in calibration/resolution, showing more colour in 2013 compared to previous years.

Any ideas?


Weather conditions differ quite a bit between 2007 and 2013, I'd say. I don't know if ice properties can cause such a difference.


The weather has been different, but it still seems peculiar that 2013 has had a much wider green fringe compared to 2007, and a lot more red and marbeling, but still has melted slower.

Ice that is just about to melt has been red in 2007, but green in 2013, and it still melted faster in 2007.

And this has been the case since the end of May.

The only explanation I can come up with is a change in calibration/resolution.

Not a change on the ground.

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