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So, two things would need to be determined here:

1) Criteria for a storm to be named
2) Set of names for storms

With regards to 1) commenter P-maker had an interesting proposal in the ASI update 5 thread:

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)

With regards to 2) I think Inuit names would probably be best. Does anyone know an Inuit who could help us with that? Maybe I should contact that lady who puts out the SEARCH SIWO reports...


I think duration and core pressure are important determinants in all this (duh). For instance, 3 days of below 990 hPa, of which 1 day below 985 hPa. Maybe more days, or less days, maybe less hPa.

Wind speed will be there when the low hPa is there, so that's redundant, I think. And I don't know about SST difference, if only for the fact that it will be difficult to determine.


The link to Wiki is messed up.

[Fixed now, thanks; N.]

Aaron Lewis

My expectation is that the Arctic will move to a regime of two, large, stable cyclones per year; one in spring, and one in late summer.

I think a naming system based on year and season (or day of the year) would be convenient for historical records. Then somebody reading this history in 20 years does not have to find a separate list of storm names and dates.


I support naming Arctic storms, and the need for criteria. How should the PAC be classified in comparison to the potential coming GAC cyclone? Should the PAC (Persistent Arctic Cyclone) 2013 be named in retrospect?

I think the duration should not be as long, since current meteorological names apply to a storm once it crosses the threshold for that status.

Naming storms for those opposed to climate change gives them long term recognition, thus I am uncomfortable with that approach.

Inuit names or names drawn from Arctic cultures is far more appropriate IMHO since they are the peoples more directly impacted. Not all names for international hurricane/typhoon/cyclone would be recognized by all other cultures either.

See the WMO listings: http://www.wmo.int/pages/prog/www/tcp/Storm-naming.html

I think we have a great opportunity begin naming here and then to work with the WMO, NHC, NSIDC, and Arctic Council, to gain recognition by this naming for the new state of the Arctic.


This is indeed a great idea, but I think it will be hard to reach any conclusion if 20 different commenters post 20 different suggestions that are just being discussed back and forth in various ways on this forum. So what about taking a list of suggested names after some days of discussion, and of course a brief justification for these names, and then simply let the crowds decide through a poll. Not a very scientifically correct way of doing it, but perhaps the best way to reach a conclusion.

Chris Alemany

I would submit that there need not be a difference between Great Arctic Cyclone and Persistent Arctic Cyclone.

The purpose as I see it would be to identify a 'season' for the cyclones based on historic data and I think the melt season, with the acknowledgment that this season is Nader a state of upheaval, and then come up with criteria to declare some a cyclone, either by barometric pressure and organization and position with the Arctic Circle.

Then we simply start naming them in Alphabetical order as they do with Tropical varieties.

I would suggest five lists of names from A-Z perhaps with an indigenous Arctic heritage or based on Arctic places, and with an appended year so we need not worry about debates on 'retiring' names of notable storms since we can propabably all agree that from here on out, they will all be notable.

As the first cyclone of the 'season' year appears to be revving up, I propose a name of:

Kinaktok-2013 (Kinaktok means Sharp)

Chris Alemany

I meant to include a link to a Canadian Inuit dictionary we might be able to use, though I would suggest taking words from all of the indigenous polar peoples.


My vote is for naming them after climate change deniers. I think it would have resonance and vividly highlight how they're consistently dis-proven each time one of these storms melts ice or grinds it away into slurry.

I think setting the bar at 985 mb (minimum max intensity to achieve criteria) and 4 days (min duration) are a good start.

I'd also think that, for now, we should stick with only naming summer storms or those that result in ice loss.

My two cents, anyway.

Linking this article in a blog post, hope to draw more attention to this discussion.


Regardless of what other naming scheme is selected I think at least one of the cyclones should have the name "NEVEN"

Jai Mitchell

I have been looking pretty extensively at the general effects of polar Jetstream intensity decline lately. What I have been finding is that last year a static wave was established that caused a massive heat wave in the U.S. Midwest. It was theoriezed that this oould be caused by obeservations in the declining speed of the jet stream.

This year the Jet stream itself seems to have slowed to a point where it is becoming completely blocked, that cut-off low events are happening 400% more frequently than normal and are existing for far greater duration than normal (>300%).

During some of these blocking patterns, the northern Jetstream appears to split and portions of high altitude moisture and energy are being fed into the polar low, increasing its intensity.

This can be clearly seen here:WX Loop NPole

on July 20 a pair of large blocking low pressure systems in the North Pacific pushed a large bubble of moisture from the Chukotka into the Chukchi Sea where is strengthened the low pressure system there.

It looks like these are going to be more regular events, if whatever is causing this jet stream decline continues to occur. It also looks like these more regular events may have increasingly significant effects on annual melt.

I think then that the value of naming these storms should be determined on their effect as they relate to the ice pack. with latter storms being more severe in nature.

so a stronger storm in May could be considered less impactful than a weaker storm in august.

a drawback to naming these events is that, if it cannot be shown that these events are actually significantly unusual, then they will be asserted as a normal reason for annual sea ice declines by the denialist crowd.

Regardless of what other naming scheme is selected I think at least one of the cyclones should have the name "NEVEN"

Thank you, Sushi. My ego jumps with joy. My name can be used for one those cyclones that fizzle out at the moment supreme. ;-)

Tor Bejnar

First of all, I agree we should consult with Inuit people who may have insight (cultural and experiencial) into this whole process we are proposing. There's nothing like imperialists taking over something of someone else's (in this case, words).

That said, I like the idea of using Arctic people's words, especially words that could possibly relate to storms (like, translated, "sharp"). (I wonder what "neven" means is some Arctic region language!)

I like there being criteria that, once crossed, the storm gets a name. I worry about too many days at a certain pressure because we will have been talking about it for several days already. Better to give a name to a short-lived storm (to be forgotten) than miss the monster that therefore gets a news-media moniker. I imagine a criterion something like: minimum pressure less than 985 hPa with a forecast of lasting 72 hours at 990 hPa or less. (I'm not a meteorologist, so these numbers are just echos in my head.)

I would ask us to trust the likes of Neven or R. Gates to set up (or have an Arctic native person set up for them) an initial list of names. I see no need for A first then B, but am not against it. (I think the West Pacific doesn't name storms in alphabetical order, and draws from multiple languages.) I imagine having a list of 25 or 500 names that slowly gets used over the years. No need to repeat the first storm's name every 5 or 7 (13?) years.

Tor Bejnar

I meant: (I wonder what "neven" means IN some Arctic region language!)

Craig Merry

Format should be

Name-Type-Date of formation recognition.

I don't know if any other official government agencies having a naming system in place (in which case we should use), or if that is being drawn up for recognition for global use. Especially if countries expect to "develop" the arctic as shipping, port or rescue services are needed. I think naming the storms to be more specific than how NHC does TS and hurricanes should be utilized because it needs to be distinctive. Cyclones do occur and they do cause damage.

I do like the idea of using native names who are dependent on a stable arctic- gives a sense of humanity to the sphere of influence.


We should consult with the Inuit people due to the possibility that they may be offended by the idea of having their names attached to storms that affect their lives adversely.

Much as I would like to see storms named after Monckton et al any official naming done by meteorologists would be subject to public pressure if they offend anyone. Such naming would amount to nothing more than a private joke.


I second Villabolo's comment. Nice sentiment but perhaps patronizing to name the storms after someone else's traditions, e.g. Atlanta Braves, Washington Redskins, etc..

Personally I would rather honer the various indigineous people's by saving their climate and ecology. For that reason, I think we only have the right to name the things after the destructors.


....and I think the whole weather pattern should be named after the oil/coal/ industry, with the specific triggers named after the GOP.

R. Gates

Certainly some sensitivity to the feelings of the Inuit people is warranted regarding naming Arctic Cyclones, but it seems that those of us who might be named, or have a friend or family named "Irene", or "Gloria" or "Bob" or "Sandy", etc. would not take it personally to have a storms named after first names in our culture.

But then again, Inuit culture is different, so a general check with someone representing their culture is great-- but just like we see with this general discussion, you could check with 100 Inuits and get 100 different opinions about the naming of Arctic Cyclones. Who's opinion weighs more?

Kevin McKinney

I'd like to 'second' the notions that:

1) naming these storms is a good idea, and that ASI has as much right as anyone to do so;

2) Innuit (and other indigenous Arctic) names would be a great choice; and that

3) objective criteria are absolutely essential. In setting them, I think it would be logical to look at studies like these:


(Serreze, 1995)


(Zhang & Walsh, 2004)

The Zhang & Walsh actually has a "Cyclone Activity Index" which could be used as a criterion for naming. (I have no idea how current the CAI is in real-world usage; if it's been adopted in practice to any great extent then that would be an argument for using it as naming criterion.)

R. Gates

"I meant: (I wonder what "neven" means IN some Arctic region language!)"

Neven: He who sheds light on the ice.

Er, no, darn, that would mean he'd be melting it...

Neven: Bringer of icy understanding...

Er, no, that would mean his brain is locked up...



I do not like the idea of naming a storm after any of the "Deniers". They get far too much attention as it is and it just may inflame them into to more destructive activities.

I have a strong feeling that using Inuit names is the way to go, however, a courtesy call or letter to various tribal councils is recommended.

Therefore, while we are waiting on a response from the Inuits we name the first storm Arctic Cyclone NEVEN. I say this because no one person on this planet has done more to bring the world's attention to the demise of the Arctic Sea Ice than Neven has! He deserves the tribute.

Tor Bejnar

Ask a couple of unrelated elders.

Kevin McKinney

Neven: Great Arctic Communicator--or GAC.


@ R. Gates:

"...that those of us who might be named, or have a friend or family named "Irene", or "Gloria" or "Bob" or "Sandy", etc. would not take it personally to have a storms named after first names in our culture."

Yes, I thought of that but the cultural divide is to large to assume anything. Such naming would be done by a foreign culture with a history of negative interactions. It could very easily give the impression of ridicule

As to who to consult the elders should be the first and they should be consulted as a group.

John Christensen

I am possibly missing something here, but as discussed quite recently (http://neven1.typepad.com/blog/2013/06/on-persistent-cyclones.html) , a study covering a part of the Arctic Ocean found that in the period of 1958-2005, July had the highest frequency of polar lows, with August second and June third.

The same post also had that higher frequency of lows during May, June, and July had some correlation with higher ice extent by the end of the melt season.

Finally, it is argued that the summer polar lows often are caused by the difference in atmospheric heating between the Arctic Ocean and seas compared to surrounding continents. In other words; high ice cover combined with low snow cover is the perfect combination.

While it would be interesting to track development and future of summer polar lows, I do not at this point see how the lows are linked to AGW or what naming them from denialists would mean??

The future Arctic Ocean will have less ice cover, the temperature differential between the Arctic and continents will be reduced, and summer lows could occur less frequently, if the research on this is valid..


I loved the idea of denier names at first glance. Sounded like so much fun. But I am pursuaded in the wisdom of Inuit or Arctic names. I also support discussing it with them as best we can as a sign of respect/honor.

As long as we are naming things, could we name other things besides storms?

Would there be any use to name major dipole weather pattern events?

Would there be any since in naming a high pressure for some reason? Like if a major heat wave settles in the Arctic and sets all kinds of un-heard-of records? (I suspect that someday, one of these masses of warm air that keep coming close to the inner circle of the pole will actually move in and stay. To the point where it would be a regime change / dragon king type event)

My current concern is focused on the jet stream. I fear it may be dieing. Are there any events related to the jet stream that we would want to remember?


I have heard that the Inuit people have many different words for snow.

Perhaps they already have many different names for storms? Different kinds of storms or storms of different seasons?

Perhaps we could use their names, with a year attached if necessary...


Tell you what, I'm asking the Inuit Circumpolar Council what they think of all this.


Awesome Neven! I just logged in to ask you to do that very thing.

Thanks for pinging them at the get go, instead of after the fact.

David Sanger

I'd prefer sticking to scientific discussion and just naming them 2013-1 2013-2 etc.

Kevin McKinney

"Tell you what, I'm asking the Inuit Circumpolar Council what they think of all this."


Kevin O'Neill

Naming isn't necessary - but it's a convenience and it isn't unscientific. Do we discuss Hurricane 18-2012? I don't. Does it bring anything immediately to mind? I doubt it.

Hurricane Sandy, on the other hand, brings plenty of facts and associations immediately to mind. The left turn caused by the Greenland blocking high, the fact landfall was predicted by a global climate model 8 days in advance, the devastation in New Jersey, etc.

I'm all in favor of a naming system. I'll even admit to being petty and juvenile enough to prefer the Watts, Monckton, Soon, Goddard, Imhofe, etc., system proposed - they deserve to as much infamy as we can give them. Science (obviously) can't sway them, ridicule seems the best alternative :)

Espen Olsen

I think the whole idea of naming the Storms / Cyclones etc. is based on pure commercialism, like Mothers Day, Valentine's Day with too many other examples, so after thinking about it for a day, I think it is nonsense.


It would be simple just to assign them letters. The letters would stand out more than numbers. Example 2013-A etc.

R. Gates

Some additional thoughts on Arctic Cyclone names versus just numbers:

If names are good enough for Hurricanes and Winter Storms, why should the Arctic be treated as a "second class citizen" and just get numbers for storms? Names will bring greater recognition and awareness of the Arctic and the changes going on there. Think about this-- prior to our naming of the "Great Artic Cyclone of 2012", the general public rarely thought about Arctic storms, and that one simple naming made it to many other web sites and even into actual professional research papers. Names are powerful things, things people can identify with. People associate with names far better than numbers.

My two-cents worth...

R. Gates

Love the idea of asking the opinion of the Inuit Circumpolar Council's opinion, and futhermore, should they agree in principal, I would suggest that we actually ask them to pick the first list of 50 names, so that we, on this site, give credit and show solidarity with the ICC. Note this resolution the the ICC passed, might be of some interest, though not directly related to our discussion at hand:


Kevin McKinney

"..though not directly related to our discussion at hand..."

Oh, I think it speaks rather directly to the ICC's stance on the power of names!

Give yourself some credit for a very apropos link, R!


I favor the idea of naming storms. It simplifies discussion.

I too think one should be named Neven - ideally, the first named storm. I favor denier names until there are too few left. After that, assuming buy-in from the Inuit, using simple Inuit names sounds good. A denier might be concerned about having a storm named after him/her. It would also bring additional publicity to the unfolding disaster. For example, imagine the headline: Cyclone Limbaugh Rages On.

As far as the criteria, the simpler the better. My meteorological knowledge is too limited to suggest anything, despite all I have learned from visiting this site.

Speaking of my limited meteorological knowledge, what are the likely long term climatic consequences of an ice free Arctic? Clearly it will be much warmer at the pole in the summer. After many hours of summer sun in an ice free arctic, could the ocean surface eventually warm so much that the arctic basin is warmer than the surrounding arctic land? If so, what type of weather system would be expected to emerge? Any ideas?

Upon further reflection, I realize the topic of post arctic sea ice weather and climate might already be a topic of discussion in the forums. If so, any direction would be appreciated.


Personally I think they should be names by month and year - depending on the month the effect around the arctic will change considerably.



"...what are the likely long term climatic consequences of an ice free Arctic?"

Warmer ocean -> more evaporation -> more intense storms/flooding -> crop damage.

Hans Gunnstaddar

I think the idea of asking the Inuit people first R. Gates is a great idea because they may be offended due to the arctic melt, climate change, being a cause and effect result of inventions by western man, such as the internal combustion engine and burning coal/NG for electricity, etc.

Attach an Inuit name to a cyclone and suddenly it starts to sound like they are taking possession of it, when in fact that's probably the last thing they want to do.

I suggest instead of naming each and every storm by a different name, have name's for different levels of intensity and use industrial magnates and corporations that found ways to burn fossil fuels, like 'Rockefeller' with standard oil. "Oh, that cyclone was in the highest range for a storm in the Arctic. That was a Rockefeller!" In this manner those most responsible for the CO2 emissions get their names attached to cyclone intensity. Or, "That's a huge one, an Exxon!"

Save the famous deniers for categories of methane bombs that will invariably go off in the future. "That was a huge release! That may have gotten into the top category, an Inhofe!"


Let me try ?

Breach Alley
Courtus Ilotus
Dingdong Pole
God Art
Hard Land
In Hope

Can you find out who's hiding there ?

Your turn !


Then there's Joe Bastardi whose real name doesn't need much imagination to spoof. Marc Morano only needs one letter in his name switched. ;)

r w Langford

Naming giant cyclones sounds like a great idea if there are enough of them. So far we have only had one though so what if there aren't any more or if they occur once in five years? There might be a bit of egg on the face of ASI blog.

Tom Zupancic

My opinion on the criteria for a named storm is that it should be based on basic physical parameters that define 'what is a storm'. Duration should not be relevant.

Previous criteria are:

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)

Thus, from this list I agree that 2, 3, and 4 are useful. Duration is not a factor in naming other weather phenomena, and would not appear to be relevant here. A storm forms and then more weather happens.

Also, about namin,g Neven wrote earlier, "Tell you what, I'm asking the Inuit Circumpolar Council what they think of all this." Neven, I agree. Let us know what they have to say.


There's something straightforward about naming them after American gas stations.

Arctic Cyclone Amoco
Arctic Cyclone BP
Arctic Cyclone Chevron
Arctic Cyclone (Dutch) Shell
Arctic Cyclone Exxon


Charles Longway

Arctic Cyclone Neven is my vote so more people can find the blog and then the truth. It is the high ground, and needed now. The next one this year can also come from the blog to avoid offending someone outside.
Can we borrow from tropical nomenclature - Arctic depression and storm? Wind speed is used for these definitions – a good metric for damage. Arctic wind speeds will be a bit slower. In this way we will have Cyclones up to category 5. People can tie into this kind of name in a moment. I am not sure how Arctic anti-depression will go over, but an Anti-Cyclone of category 5 will be well understood.
My vote is for Inuit names. I would like Inuit selection, but validation from others that the names are easy to say and rich in meaning. I hate those Icelandic Volcano names.


I can't decide which one I like more...

Arctic Cyclone Spencer, Arctic Cyclone BP, or Arctic Cyclone Koch Brothers.


It's a bit difficult for me to think these events by human names. Naming them by f.e. former environmental disasters/extinctions/pollutants would be more appropriate for me (Cyclone Aral, Bhopal, Chixulub, DDT, Enron, Fukushima, Great Auk, Harrisburg, I..) . But this might indeed be a regime change and there might be only 1 or two of them per year. Not totally opposing the idea though.


Then there's the issue of size, as in http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/IOTD/view.php?id=81692 . There might be some Polar lows (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polar_low) that last for long enough.

Timothy Chase

Erimaassa wrote, "It's a bit difficult for me to think these events by human names."

I personally find Robert's suggestion of naming a low pressure system after the Koch brothers somewhat appealing.


I personally find Robert's suggestion of naming a low pressure system after the Koch brothers somewhat appealing.


I am likely wrong but my sense of it is that the Great Cyclonic Koch of 2013 may attract the wrong sort of attention.

Timothy Chase

Sushi, you are probably right. Naming something the "Great Cyclonic [insert name of skeptic here]" is probably a poor idea, especially if the storm suddenly peters out. Wrong effect indeed!



Well, this is fun.


I think Inuit names is a very poor idea.

While honoring the Inuit people and Inuit heritage with names is great, protecting the Arctic is a better way of honoring them. I see naming the cyclones after the Inuit as a way to create the popular perception that Arctic cyclones are natural (as in white culture all things native = natural). Naming results of damage from a foreign culture after the Inuit, even the day to day names, is a bit like raping someone and then naming the abortion and infertility after them to 'honor' them.


At the very least, the names should be Inuit terms for damage, devil, destruction, etc. That at least bridges the gap between popular imagination and destruction. I can see TV weathermen telling that story for fun if nothing else and leaving the impression in local people's minds that Arctic cyclones are bad and destroy things.

John Christensen

So if PAC-2013 had been named "Big Evil Cyclone 2013" or "Cyclone Chevron 2013" and it turned out to be one of the most significant Arctic ice-preserving events of recent years, what exactly have you accomplished? What is your message??


@JC: Same thing: global warming caused by using oil and coal as fuels destroys the environment.


But whatever, I said my piece, I bow out.


Folks, don't get too uptight. We're just talking things through a bit, in anticipation. Even if this coming storm fizzles out, it never hurts to think about it a bit in advance. Nobody necessarily needs to do anything.

If the Inuit naming thing doesn't work out, I suggest we take the first names of fake skeptics, like Fred, Steven, Jo and Tony. Of course, we do not refer to those fake skeptics themselves! We wouldn't dare, those poor, poor persecuted victims!

Remind me to destroy all these comments as soon as we decide to take that route, and let's hope no one has made screen shots. I'll tell TypePad to tighten up security. Lew, Cook, Piltmann and Fat Al agree it's a good idea.




I disagree. Duration is important, as it is, when you discuss droughts and extreme rainfall events at lower latitudes.

If tropical cyclones only lasted a day or two, there would be no need for a name.

The suggested 5 day minimum duration is exactly to get rid of the weather noise. The duration of these new bastards in the Arctic is a key parameter in my view, which somehow also reflect the underlying physics (accumulated heat in snow-free NH during summer, ice-free, warm and open marginal seas, and loads of warm ocean water under the halocline in the Arctic Ocean).

Concerning the naming issue, I have tried to follow the “brain storm” in various threads. I have come to the conclusion, that neither Inuit nor oil company names serve us well. Let’s wait for the ICC to come back with a suggestion, but in the mean time, I think we should not open a “brand battle” with the multi-national oil and gas companies. Their marketing budgets could be used for something better than beating the ASI Blog.

Instead, I was sitting in the train this morning and had my own little brain storm. I think we need to use our sense of humor and try to come up with a set of short, descriptive and unique names, which somehow conveys the message we have: The impact on the ice.

Here are some suggestions:

A) Avatar (GAC-2012)
B) Blenda (PAC-2013)
C) Crushya (the one coming up)
D) Demo-Lis
E) Ex-Trudy
F) Flakie
G) Grindie
H) Hamma
I) Icen-Hoover
J) …

Please feel free to correct spelling mistakes, add new ideas and hit the final nails for the coffin spot on.

John Christensen

It's temperature difference between the ice and the surrounding lands that causes the cyclone.

The ice-free open warm marginal seas have nothing to do with it.

John Smith

Using Inuit names shows great sensitivity to their feelings. But is it a little too politically correct?

It sends out the wrong message, one that the deniers are pushing for all they're worth - that Arctic melting is important to those who live there, but isn't for the rest of us. Except that we now have new sea routes and can drill for oil there.

Whereas a press release about, say, "Hurricane Monckton" could have a footnote about why it's been named after him, and all the lies he's told (the undisputable, provable and on-record ones, that is - we need to keep the high ground). That footnote would get repeated over and over, much to the discomfort of the Noble Lord.

Peter Ellis

... and when it turns out to be one of those weather systems that has little or no effect on the melt, or even apparently increases extent, it's the most spectacular own goal in the history of ever. Not to mention the fact that there are only half a dozen or so idiots worth mentioning, so the list runs out in a couple of years and you have to start reusing names.

John Smith

"... and when it turns out to be one of those weather systems that has little or no effect on the melt, or even apparently increases extent, it's the most spectacular own goal in the history of ever."

Not really. Tropical storms are often named and then fizzle out. And only a half dozen idiots? I wish!

Chris Alemany

One of the great things about this blog is that there is so little energy put into complaining or kvetching about the denial-sphere.

I'd personally hate to see what could be the most public manifestation of this blog be diminished by what would amount to name calling 'the other side'.

Typhoons and Cyclones in the Indian Ocean and West Pacific have person names appropriate to Asia, Hurricanes in the East Pacific have names appropriate to Central America. North Atlantic Hurricanes have names appropriate to North America and the Carribean.

Thus I do not think there is anything 'politically correct' about giving Arctic Cyclones names from the languages of Arctic people's, in fact it would fall very much in line the convention and thus, I believe, give the practice added credibility.

I will be surprised if the ICC get back to you with a definitive answer Neven, I suspect they will say something like 'Sure, we really don't have a say in it'.

I would humbly suggest that a small group of folks here put together some lists of names to use and then submit those to the ICC as well just to see if they have any objections. I really doubt they will, but the gesture will no doubt be appreciated and it will help if someone comes along and tries to use the names against us.

R. Gates

Regardless of the reaction of the ICC to the naming if Arctic Cyclones using Inuit names, we've already actually started naming these storms-- GAC-2012 was the first, it just was not necessarily a name that was as "personal" as first names. So really, the horse is already out of the barn in terms of naming Arctic Cyclones-- we just are looking for a more formalized approach such as they use in the naming of low latitude cyclones.

Because the next storm may be right around the corner, and we might wait for some time for the ICC to get back to us, I would suggest we choose a another non-Inuit name now. I am also no longer in favor of bring any attention to deniers or oil companies-- as fun as it might be to name something destructive after them. To that end, I would suggest we stay to the higher road, and name the next storm after the first recognized western explorer of the Arctic- or at least one of the first, the Greek Pytheas.


This would be, after all our first intentionally named Arctic Cyclone, and so it would be fitting, since we are (most of us) from the Western tradition, to bring a sense of tradition and history with this first intentionally named storm. After that, if the ICC would like to endorse this concept and get on board, we can move over to using a suggested list of names from them, or take some other route.

Anyway, just another thought...


The names of deniers should NOT be used.
Let them generate their own publicity.

Phonetic Alphabet Yearly with month - year sequence appended.

Language "meanings - interpretations" could be great fodder for late night comedians.

Susan Anderson

I love the Inuit idea and agree about the classic name just suggested as well; don't thing snark or sarcasm will wear well over time: cutesy and likely to have unintended negative consequences. Though it's fun to discuss and if the point of cause and effect went through, like Koch, Exxon, Shell et al.

Kulluk? BPExplosion? Exxon Valdez? Wrecks ...

oh dear, now the words are taking off on their own - perhaps Horatio might be able to riff songs for them.

Opening criteria cited by Neven from R. Gates sound right.


How about a combination of the three?

We could name some after the deniers of fossil fuel industry or related, some after mythological monsters (Grendel etc), and some after names from the Inuit, Inupiat and other cultures from the Arctic Circle?

I've heard that there are literally hundreds of Inuit and Inupiat words describing various states of sea ice. Perhaps we could tap that vocabulary to implicitly describe what it is that we are losing?


@ John

I'd think the warm seas do contribute -- the open water unlocks another moisture store on which the storms can feed. In addition, warm, moist air packs a lot more potential energy than drier continental air.

@ All

Seeing how R. Gates and Neven are both mostly opposed to naming storms after deniers, I'll withdraw my support of that particular convention. Others have made very lucid points that it would drag this blog into a controversy that it has managed to stay above (mostly) since its inception. And, perhaps, it does do more good in simply examining the science, which is threat enough to climate change deniers.

That said, I don't think it's entirely inappropriate to name the things we may loose as part of this convention. Which is why I'll continue with my suggestion for names that describe ice states as part of the convention (Inuit, Inupiat or otherwise).

John Christensen

The warm open seas bordering the Arctic mostly have SST below 4 degrees C, unless you count some of the small bay areas of the Barents Sea that get into the ten's.

As you know the evaporation rate at that temperature is quite insignificant and cannot contribute to any storm system.


My twopenneth worth?

I think it's high time we had naming of storms. It highlights to the changing nature of scientific and community focus to the issues of the Arctic.

Naming them after deniers? Not, in general, I think, a good idea. Too much opportunity to spin the result.

Inuit is topical and local and, if they want it, could be good profile for their issues with the changing climate.

What I would prefer is not to name storms after deniers but to class storms after deniers.

Like "That was a Monckton class storm, it came in, messed everything up and went away leaving a mess in it's wake which is going to damage the environment even more".

That, I think, is harder to spin.


Water temps at 4 C contribute far more moisture and heat energy than ice temps at -2 C or lower.

Further, I'm looking at large regions of the Barents Sea that are 12-15 C, the Kara Sea which is almost entirely 8 C+ now, A large heat pulse through the Chukchi which is 6-9 C, a section of the Laptev which is also 4-8 C, Baffin Bay which is 6-9 C, Hudson Bay which is 6-10 C. Temperatures in these regions in these ranges are certainly enough to produce added heat/moisture content for storm fuel. The hot continents add their own kick, but don't count the warming Arctic Ocean out.

In any case, an open ocean evaporates more than an ice sheet any day of the week and broader stretches of open water at 0-15 C give you much more atmospheric moisture burden than just the hot continents alone.

@ NeilT

Ah, the glee returns ;)


Observing our low starting to bomb a bit. 995 mb pressure as of noon EST. Winds in the 20-30 mph range over East Siberian, Chukchi and Beaufort Seas. Interesting few days ahead.


Haven't heard from the ICC yet. I'll let you know as soon as I do.

I would humbly suggest that a small group of folks here put together some lists of names to use and then submit those to the ICC as well just to see if they have any objections. I really doubt they will, but the gesture will no doubt be appreciated and it will help if someone comes along and tries to use the names against us.

That's a good idea. I don't know the slightest thing about Inuit names, but will have a look later tonight.


Just pulling a few interesting ones that caught my eye:

  • Agloolik (M / F) - A spirit that lives under the ice and gives aid to fishermen and hunters.
  • Aipaloovik (M) - An evil sea god associated with death and destruction
  • Aippaq (M / F) - "Companion"
  • Akycha (M) - Solar deity
  • Alignak (M) - Lunar deity and god of weather, water, tides, eclipses and earthquakes.
  • Amaqjuaq (M / F) - "Strong one"
  • Asuilaak (M / F) - "That which is expected has arrived"
  • Atanarjuat (M / F) - "The fast runner"
  • Atshen (M / F) - Cannabalistic spirit
  • Aujaq (M / F) - "Summer"
  • Patuktuq (M / F) "ice crystals"
  • Torngasoak (M) - Very powerful sky god; one of the most important deities


(And, no, don't ask me how to pronounce some of them...)


Hmmm, maybe we need a poll on the ASIF for this...

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


Okay, so let's do the alphabetical thing. Anyone else has interesting Inuit names starting with A? Go forth and scan baby name websites! ;-)

I will then open a poll on the ASIF.

And then we'll do B. And we should be set for the rest of the melting season.

Philip Cohen

As long as Eskimo words for snow have been brought up, I think it's on-topic to point tohttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eskimo_words_for_snow (not so much about the actual words as about the myth that they have skillions).


It might help some people to join the dots if we name the storms after people (or even families) who have died in some recent, record breaking climate related event. Someone whose sad story was told in the local MSM coverage of the event. Someone with a name and a face and a story.
Each successive year could focus on a single aspect like fire disasters or floods or black lung disease or gas bottle explosions. Unless we all stop burning fossil fuels the list of categories will almost certainly be long enough to outlive the Arctic icecap's remaining years, at which point there would no longer be a need to help people join the dots.

Craig Merry

Neven, might as well start something until a more robust system is in place.

I'm sure someone can come up with a systematic way to create a knowledge base for "named" storms in the arctic (Wikipedia?) and somehow enables people to compare statistical and other contextual information.

Chuck Yokota

I think that we need a system that lets us use a name while the storm is going on. It is at that time that people most want to talk about it, and when a name would become established. A name given after the fact would not be connected to the references and discussion during the event, and so would not be a useful search term. Thus duration is not a useful naming requirement, because much of the storm would be over before the name would be given. Similarly, names of deniers would not be useful because a search on the name would find too many references irrelevant to the storm.


Suggest for the time being that we attach the name “Bush” to the current Arctic Cyclone, which will honor the efforts of at last two American presidents and a great songwriter, who came up with these lyrics to describe the current situation:

”I was born in a cloud...
Now I am falling.
I want you to catch me.
Look up and you'll see me.
You know you can hear me.
The world is so loud. Keep falling. I'll find you. ”



PS Chuck, I have previously suggested to apply the name once 3 out of 4 models agree on a forecast, which look like the storm will last for more than 5 days.


am I the only one suspecting that the use of Inuit names, like Aipaloovik and Amaqjuag, will never catch on with a wider audience?

R. Gates


You're right. See the end of my post above.

Kevin McKinney

Researching Inuit names--and I really like the idea of using them--I find a couple of issues:

1) Strict alphabetic naming is problematic with Inuit names because there are strong preferences for phonemes, which don't map terribly well onto European-derived norms. More specifically, there's a ton of "A"s, but hardly any "B"s, and so on. Several letters were completely unrepresented in the lists I looked at.

2) Anthropologically, it may be more of a can of worms than we--most of us--thought. I came across a very interesting paper by Dr. Mark Nuttall, who holds an endowed chair in Anthropology at the University of Alberta, and who worked on AR4, interestingly enough.


Mark Nuttall (1992): The Name Never Dies: Greenland Inuit Ideas of the Person

From the abstract:

Upon death a person’s name, or name soul (ateq) leaves the body and remains ‘homeless’ until it is called back to reside in the body of a newborn child, who becomes known as an atsiaq (pl. atsiat). As identity is closely associated with the name, identities continue in this way. The acquisition of a dead person’s name embellishes or even creates a living person’s genealogical and social identity. As an image and memory of deceased persons, names are reference points in a complex network of interpersonal relationships.

One can imagine that becoming atsiaq to a destructive force connected to world change, and at the whim of a bunch of outsiders--qalunaat--at that, might be a tad problematic. Plus, Dr. Nuttall's observations apply strictly to one area of Greenland. Since relevant norms may differ across the Arctic, it may be difficult for a pan-Arctic body such as the ICC to speak definitively on the matter. One could imagine a long conversation ensuing--productive, perhaps; valuable, perhaps; but not helpful to ASIB in the sense that we are anxious to start naming storms now!

BTW, I note that Dr. Nuttall is co-editor of an anthology entitled "Anthropology and Climate Change," hefty excerpts of which are available in PDF:


I've added that to my reading list...


Oh come on, what's the big deal? It's just first names. Are all the Irenes and Katrinas and Sandies in the world feeling bad because their first name was used for a storm?

I know that the Inuit have been and still are treated like scheisse, but all that tiptoeing around them as if they're some kind of sulking little girls in wheelchairs with a temper...

The ICC still hasn't answered. But I'm not in a hurry.

John Christensen

And let's not forget it was the inuits who wiped out the eskimos in western Greenland five hundred years ago.. ;-)

A long as a certain first name for boys starting with A of Germanic origin does not get added to the list, I am all for a list of normal names..

R. Gates

In doing a bit more research, we might be a bit narrow in our bid to only think of the Inuit in our naming convention if indeed that is the way we'd like to go. There are many other indiginous groups surrounding the Arctic in addition to the Inuit. See page 12 of this report:


Also, I think we would be wise to think about really actually adding a bit more scale and descriptive context to our naming convention, and we may want to consult someone who is an expert in the matter. Some examples would include:

1) Differentiating the type of storm by season as they can have different dynamics. Maybe use something like Arctic Cyclone Akna - 2013S that occurred in the summer or melt season April-September and 2013w that occurred in the winter or ice growth season - October to March. I don't know enough about these storms to know if this would be useful so an expert would be helpful.
2) Differentiating by intensity of central pressure and wind field size (i.e. Arctic Storm Akna - 2013S versus Arctic Cyclone Akna - 2013s. This kind of classification would allow us to catch the smaller storms, that still may be important for example if we get a series of them in a row. Some storms may be short lived but still interesting or some may go on to become full-fledged cyclones and last a week or more.

So to summarize:

1) Include more idigenous groups names in addition to the Inuit, or perhaps take a different route entirely if that seems too complicated.
2) Differentiate between seasons the storm is generated (summer vs winter) if that seems useful in capturing some dynamic. Consult an expert for this?
3) Differentiate between "storm" and "cyclone" based on core pressure and wind field size. Again, some expert advice would be good here.


I'm asking around a bit, R. Gates. Might have some useful criteria in a day or two.

Kevin McKinney

"Oh come on, what's the big deal? It's just first names."

Well, if you read the paper, no, it's not 'just' names in that culture--'atsiaq' (which I inadequately think of as "namesake") is an important relationship. Or was, in a particular region of Greenland, at least. Traditionally, a portion of identity is wrapped up in that name.

Besides, if we go alphabetic we're gonna need more than a couple of "B"s! (And F's and G's...)



thanks for all the great work you do here :)

please don't use the names of people who have died in environmental disasters. while most families will be honored, the few that are not will be VERY offended.

my first instinct was to use greek letters followed by the year, but if you want something a little more regional, you can use norse runes. you wouldn't need to make a new list every year, and i highly doubt their use would be considered offensive.

Crozet Dutchie

We could name the storm after Alaskan villages set to disappear soon: KIvalina?


Article from BBC about disappearing Alaskan village. Note the quote:

"The US government imposed this Western lifestyle on us, gave us their burdens and now they expect us to pick everything up smallpox after an Indian.


SHould say "From the article...."

Michael Fliss


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