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John Christensen

Yes, agree, we are almost left to just observe, and eventually once the melting season is over, we will be able to evaluate what happened, and what will have been the consequences..


I'm pretty curious about these polar cyclones. It somehow feels like the poles should be a natural location to expect cyclone-like weather patterns. It just seems strange that this is still a relatively new development in the arctic.


Apparently, polar cyclones are not new. The novelty is how thin most of the ice is, which amplifies the destructive effects of storm winds, overcoming the ice-preserving effects of snowfall and cold temperatures. Or so they say. The question for this season is whether the water got warm enough to finish the work, or not... right?

Joshua McCurry

Looking at the GFS/Euro, seems like the positive dipole lasts for about 5-6 days before our cyclone is swept back towards the CAA. My guess is that if we don't see big losses by then 2013's chances of overtaking 2007/2011 are practically over

Paul Klemencic

This is an interesting storm, much different than last year's GAC 2012, but in some regards, similar. The pressure is 976 versus last year's low pressure around 965, but... there is a HP of 1028 not far away over the Beaufort. From what the meteorologists say, this pressure difference should drive some very severe winds. This storm is much tighter, with the wind fields not extending as far as last year's storm which essentially covered the entire width of the Arctic Basin from the New Siberian islands to the Canadian Arctic Archipelago. Last year's storm pulled in significant air masses from both Siberia and Canada.

The timing is only a few days later than last year, and the storm formed in the vicinity of the New Siberian islands. (BTW - there was a large storm around August 9th in 2007 that formed and was centered in about the same location. There were two large storms in 2007, with the first hitting around the third week of June and centered in the Beaufort.)

This storm also is forecast to migrate to the sweet spot, centered along the 180 longitude, with the wind field extending to the NP, just as the GAC 2012 did. And the storm is forecast to be fairly intense until Saturday, for about five days of heavy storm, similar to the six days or so the GAC 2012 pounded the Arctic.

Right now the center of this storm is right over the E. Siberian fractured ice pack, and this ice pack is surely being decimated, with some severe overturning of the surface seawater layers. We should see a loss of at least 100k SIE in this region (perhaps including some loss in the nearby Chukchi and Laptev regions) within 48 hours, and I expect the storm will reduce SIE by about 300k in these regions by Saturday. The Beaufort will also likely lose 100k-200k this week. Even with spreading and ice divergence around the NP, as the storm moves that direction, the seven days starting today, should see a total SIE decline of about 600k-700k sq km (short of the million sq km SIE decline caused by GAC 2012).

Storms earlier in the insolation top melt season cause divergence, but also reduce heat absorption, and reduce surface melt. Storms in August hit the weakened pack, overturn water, and draw huge amounts of thermal energy in the form of water vapor from lower latitudes into the Arctic. That's why this storm will do much more damage than the earlier storms this year.

This is my opinion, after watching and examining the storm events since 2010, and reviewing the storm/ice pack history in 2007. I covered some of this in comments on this blog in August 2011 and August 2012.

Paul Klemencic

Actually these severe storms in the Arctic Basin are new. The one paper that says otherwise, used such a low threshold for defining a cyclone, that almost all significant LP cells where caught in the statistical analysis. According to that paper there are two "cyclones" every summer day in the Arctic. Essentially, what the paper showed, was that the Arctic Basin historically sees a lot of LP systems... no big surprise that!

Other researchers looked at severe storms, and the data there shows that most severe Arctic cyclones hit in the winter, and at the edges of the ice pack in the Greenland Sea and the Bering Sea. Severe cyclones over the summer ice pack are rare. There was one before 2007, two in 2007, apparently one in 2008, one in August 2011, and the GAC 2012, before this year's three severe cyclones over the pack (so far). GAC 2012 was the 13th strongest storm in the polar latitudes, and none of the stronger storms hit in the summer.

The persistence of these cyclones over the ice pack is also new... There could be a lot of reasons why the meteorology seems to be changing to cause these events (warmer continents, jet stream changes, ice/sea/atmosphere heat transfer changes, overturning sea layers under the storm, etc.. What we don't know, speaks volumes... and shouts warnings.


It it my imagination or does this visible satellite picture show Mjølnir in the clouds?


If this storm acts like the Hammer of Thor on the ice, we will all be buzzing in a few days.


L. Hamilton

No doubt mentioned elsewhere, webcam 1 has tipped over.

Gerhard Trausner


If you look at the drift preview, is
that a very strong storm.

Paul Klemencic

Over on the forum I posted some images taken in August 2007 showing a similar storm in almost the same location as this year's storm.

Paul Klemencic

Gerhard: This year, I haven't been able to match the drift forecast (or hindcast for that matter) at that site with actual weather events. It does show dramatically increasing drift as the storm weakens... go figure!



MODIS Terra, day 219, 3:46UTC shows near hurricane force under 700 hPa, and well above hurricane force at higher levels.

Artful Dodger

Hi Neven,

One other chart might be significant for this cyclone: the 300 mb Jet Stream GFS Analysis for 12Z 7 Aug 2013.

Recall that one of the significant factors converging to create GAC2012 was an assist to rotation at the mid level.

Since this third storm will likely determine the final SIE, I hereby christen it GASP2013 :^)

r w Langford

Polar Bears and Cyclones, not a pretty picture. Mostly I can distance myself from what is happening but sometimes not so much.

Eli Rabett

Anyone remember the coasts of Greenland being so ice free?

Pete Williamson

This paper might answer some of your cyclone frequency needs, unfortunately it only goes to 2002. Greedy old me wants an update to more recent years.

here's the paper

It uses "cyclone activity index" CAI ("integrates information on cyclone intensity, frequency, and duration into a comprehensive index of cyclone activity")rather than just counting individual storms.

Fig 5 shows an increasing trend in CAI but also a large amount of inter-annual variability. So arctic storms are getting more common and/or longer and/or more intense but this trend is accompanied by a lot of year-to-year noise.

My own slightly more simplistic view was going to suggest that if storms are caused by specific features (largescale atmospheric patterns, patterns of open water/ice coverage, snow cover etc.) then if these feature persist through a season then it would seem likely that years that breed many storms might be a possibility. Tropical cyclone seem to follow this sort of pattern of inter-annual variability.

John Christensen

Have a look at the DMI 80N temperatures here:


As you compare 2012 with 2013, you see the difference between the years with the 80N average temp right now about freezing point. No matter what this cyclone does, it seems realistic that the 80N average temp has peaked and that within a week it will pass the freezing point mark and stay below for the remainder of this season due to the more extensive ice cover and diminished surface water heating this year.


An exceedingly unimaginative storm naming convention would call this one AC2012-C.



Very imaginative and confusing as it is 2013 :)

Pete Williamson

Eli Rabett
"Anyone remember the coasts of Greenland being so ice free?"

It's possible the person who drew this DMI ice chart for August 1936 might remember. If he's still alive!


From this archive


Artful Dodger

Since the storms are all running together, may as well mix metaphors, too :^)
"I'll huff and I'll puff, and I'll blow your bear house down!"
-- Last GASP2013

Gerhard Trausner

And what name we give to the storm that has destroyed our duck? The little duck was
long time swum peacefully on the north coast de Elizabeth Islands.

Fairfax Climate Watch

It looks like there are 2 other potent storms brewing, one pushing up towards the Arctic on the other side of the Bering Strait, and the second at the Southern end of Greenland. 3 storms at once near or in the Arctic... kind of reminds me of Poseidon.


What happens to the ice when the smoke from all the fires in Russia gets added to the mix?

EOSDIS Worldview is showing a strong feeder band from Russia and it will get sucked into the storm, over very thin ice.


This cyclone developed with such speed that it may qualify as a bomb cyclone, thus becoming the ABC-2013 :)

Actually I think we got time for one more 980 pHa cyclone in the central basin this year. ECMWF keeps spawning powerfull cyclones in its long term forecasts (we have got another one today). Of course, those forecasts are just mere speculations, but as new storms keep popping up in their long term prognosis, the likelihood of one actually comming through becomes quite significant.

Joe Wentrup

John, I'm still expecting a late but extended melting season. As days go by, I might be proven wrong. But I suppose one of the biggest impacts from that storm will be the stirring of deeper and therefore warmer and saltier water which will cause additional melting even if temperatures stay below average.


Is this a big storm? Can you confirm measured wind speeds? It looks a storm in a glass of water to me...


On this map we can see wind force. press the cursor to see tomorrow.



If you look in the upper right of this page you will see the "Arctic Sea Ice Graphs" link. There is a link to NOAA satellite wind data there.


METOP/AHVR for 8 Aug 2013 2:59 GMT shows a good slice across the western Arctic, with wind in the 400-700hPa band well above hurricane force. This implies gale force or better at the surface.



Thanks, yes it implies gales at the surface. But for how long...I suppose it was there for a short moment exactly in the centre. I don't see it back on any coastal station. And tomorrow? filling up already?

Robert S

Take a look at http://weather.gc.ca/city/pages/nt-16_metric_e.html to see the impacts of the warm air being sucked up into the CAA by the storm(s). Forecast highs nearing 30 in Paulatuk, and lows in the mid teens.

Crozet Dutchie

Of topic but a sign of the times: http://www.dailykos.com/story/2013/08/08/1229728/-The-photo-the-Koch-brothers-really-don-t-want-you-to-see

Crozet Dutchie

I meant "Off topic"....

Pete Williamson

Question. What are the temperatures like while these storms are turning?

Crozet Dutchie

Nuin Zeeland provided a link to a Dutch weather site showing arctic weather but, boy oh boy what a terrible job they do with drawing in the Ls and Hs: wrong in all the charts! Wonder if anyone there notices.

Kevin McKinney

"What are the temperatures like while these storms are turning?"

Well, as John C (I think) noted, DMI north of 80 is showing a sharp downtick, to below freezing. Robert S's comment, on the other hand, says that the lower Arctic feels a different influence--or maybe the other face of the same influence.

Kevin McKinney

...And after a quick gander at WeatherCanada, courtesy Robert's link, I'd just add that the three stations on Ellesmere Island--the 3 most northerly stations in Canada--are all just a couple of degrees above freezing. Kugluktuq was the warmest I saw in the eastern Canadian Arctic, with roughly 27 C showing. (And it's the westernmost station in Nunavut, so maybe it's feeling the same influences as Paulatuk to its west.)

John Christensen

Yes, a couple of easy sites to use:


Left image is current weather with LP and HP, right image is current temperature.


This is great to use in comparing temperature anomalies between years. NOTE: It only covers 80N, which is a limited area, and the model also overestimates the influence of temperature close to the Pole. But it still shows you how summers differ, and you see e.g. the Arctic cold snap this winter.

Account Deleted

L. Hamilton
"webcam 1 has tipped over."

Or was it pushed?

John Christensen


That's the human factor I guess.. ;-)


As the dmi arctic weather link shows, these cyclones are helped along by a large (20º+) temperature difference between the pole and surrounding area.
The geo-potential height shows a pool of upper cold air hanging over the arctic (and virtually nowhere else).
What I'm wondering is how this situation has been maintained all summer, and why doesn't it break down?

One factor would appear to be the clouds are keeping things cooler, thus maintaining the temperature imbalance and promoting more cyclones which bring yet more clouds.

It would also appear that the jet stream is acting to 'cut-off' the upper atmosphere over the high arctic from the rest of the NH.
(Could the Stratospheric warming earlier this season have impacted this pattern?)

But that still leaves the question - what is happening to all the warm air-masses flowing into the arctic (for example the warm front above), where is that heat going?

Kevin McKinney

John C--yes, I've been noting all summer how cool the values on DMI 80 have been. (I usually access the graph via Neven's Graphs page.)


Looks like the storm is expected to hover around the pole for the next 4 days.

Hopefully this is the end of the melt season above 80N, and the ice stays in good shape to build over the winter. (Fingers crossed)

Unfortunately, it looks like the Canadian archipelago will have a hot weekend and might melt out.


The ice drift maps that HYCOM shows don't make sense to me (confessed ignorant). It currently predicts that the strongest effect of the passing storm is not happening now, but in the future! In two or three days. Is the ice/ocean response so slow or is just an error in the dates displayed?

Paul Klemencic

I've noticed the same thing with HYCOM over the last several weeks. I don't understand the mis-match either.

Crozet Dutchie

Sweaty situation for you, Neven? Seems to be time to escape to the highlands...

Magische 40-gradengrens gepasseerd in Oostenrijk 08-08-2013

Voor het eerst in de weerkundige meethistorie van Oostenrijk is er een maximumtemperatuur van 40 graden of meer gemeten, drie stations registreerden deze extreme temperatuurwaarde. 
In Neusiedl/See (Burgerland) werd 40,6° C gemeten, in Bad Deutsch-Altenburg (Beneden-Oostenrijk) 40,5° C en in Güssing (Burgerland) kwam het tot 40,0° C.
Omdat de temperatuur in Neusiedl/See een zeer ongewoon verloop had, met een vroege en heel korte temperatuurpiek, moet deze data nog gevalideerd worden. De definitieve waarde kan vrijdagmiddag verwacht worden. Het "oude" record was nog maar 5 dagen geleden tot stand gekomen op 3 augustus 2013, met 39,9° C in Dellach/Drautal, Kärnten (Karinthië).



@NLPatents - unfortunately, slightly cooler temps won't save the ice from warmer sea water churned up by the storm. I suspect the heat "disappearing" there, which is coming from the south is getting picked up by seawater. Until the storm dies down, or we get to the equinox, I think it unlikely we will see temps drop more than a degree or so below zero... Or about the current sea surface temperature.

I doubtful we are in "record" territory for extent and area this year, but the storm is worse, not better for the ice.

On thing I find quite striking and alarming, as regards the quality of the ice, is how rapidly reported concentration changes over literally a million KM2 of the arctic on a *daily* basis ( wander back through Bremen images over the last few days). The pack is utterly shattered. I'm doubtful this is positive for either the short or long term. The longer the storm continues to grind it up, the worse things will get.

Ian Allen

Seattlerocks; the effect of a storm on the sea is more about the persistence of a broad flow than a swirl, maximal wave action happens when fetch, duration and pressure gradient line up. The cinematic "Perfect Storm" off the USA was a wimp compared to normal NW Europe winter storms. The Bering sea (Deadliest Catch) only ever sees ripples compared to what the UK, Ireland, Iceland, Norway, Britany, NW Spain see every winter. Hills of water form and dissipate within seconds, giving an immunity to sea ice regardless of almost total lack of insolation. When the arctic becomes a lobe of the atlantic the freshwater will cease to cause a surface layer and that will likely be the end of winter ice.


Seattlerocks, its: momentum, a very big physical directional vector, is of the big 4, along with wind, current and tide all play a huge role in the very shape of the ice pack.

Temperature is big as well, but I read here erroneously that just below freezing air suffices. Not so, it takes air in the neighborhood of -11 C for ice sea ice to form.

But the other geophysics big 8 : Greenhouse gases, sun elevation, albedo; air, sea water and sea ice temperatures; sea ice thickness and salinity of surface water. Not to forget ridging, the coefficient of friction of the ice with respect to winds, air quality and soot deposits, boundary layers, adiabatic ascension or descending air, partial pressure of water vapor, precipitable water in the lower atmosphere, sea ice lattice structure, brine and salt content in sea ice. And I am forgetting a few..

Its complicated, so any simple melt statement for any season, "because its ......(from one thing) " , is bogus! Except if you reason long term, hmm, what has changed in the last 100 years on planet earth? Then there is a compelling driving force behind all this extra sea water appearing before us all.

All this physics means you need a model to understand what will happen. I say any mind , such as like construction man Neven, becomes a model when studying hard. Here on this site, there are many minds, all from different disciplines, all becoming pretty good at understanding something so complex.

Allen W. McDonnell

One of the things people seem to be forgetting is a storm like this pretty much does away with the surface fresh water layer. The storm stirs things up pretty thoroughly mixing the fresh layer into the lower layers and all but eliminate the fresh on the surface. Two side effects, the saltier water is a little warmer so it transfers heat to the shattered ice, and depending on how well mixed it ends up without a fresh water skim on the surface freeze up is much slower to start and extend because it takes several degrees colder temperatures to freeze over.


The ice is behaving like mushed up flotsam! A think the ice will continue to melt past the normal time we think and these storms will just keep cropping up.

Pete Williamson

Sorry if anybody has already made this point. Most seem to have focused on the potential thinness of the ice to allow the storm to churn up the ice, but there is also a flip side. Given that much of the ice is FYI and flat it might actually be that these storms are affecting the present day ice less than it might have affected ice from decades past when more ridged MYI was around and acting as a nice sail for the winds to press against.

Allen W. McDonnell

Pete think of it this way, any fresh water ice floating in sea water is 7/8ths submerged. Therefore your 10 meter high sail is attached to a 70 meter deep hull and isn't going to do much too it. By the same token your 2 meter thick first year sea ice has 25 cm sticking up above the water line, which is low enough that wind blown spray off the surface of the ocean gets splattered all over it. The thin ice gets the double whammy, not only are shallow waters melting it from below, spray from the storms encourages melt from above as well. Once the thin layer of melt fresh water is thoroughly mixed in the water spray is also salty, though the latent heat it carries is the biggest effect.


Reply to Posted by: Ian Allen | August 09, 2013 at 21:03.
Not to disparage North Sea storms at all, and I could not seem to google the right terms to get any good data on it, but the Grand Banks does have significant storms. The "Perfect Storm" was not one of the worst in 100 yrs in that area with 12m waves and 86(around there) knot winds. The oil rig Ocean Ranger was sunk in a storm with 100 knot wind and 20 m waves. Ocean wave height (which meteorologists use as the best criteria for ocean storm severity) routinely get above the 10m height in the Grand Banks. I am not a meteorologist by any stretch of the imagination, but I would not call those storms wimpy.


BTW: Grand Banks has another favourite of theirs which the North Sea does not have much of and that is ice build up which has been know to sink many a ship.


Sweaty situation for you, Neven? Seems to be time to escape to the highlands...

This was very, very heavy. We started building our house on the day the thermometer went over the all-time record for Austria, which had been broken last week. From 39.7° C in July 1983, to 39.9° C last week, to 40.6° C the day before yesterday.

It was good to be away from the computer for two days, but it takes me a while to catch up. I'll publish a new blog post tonight or tomorrow.

Gerhard Trausner


Where are you building your house?
I suppose in the Salzkammergut.
'm From near Gmunden. (Scharnstein)
Maybe I can help you something. Have 15 years working in the prefabricated building construction.


I'm in Oststeiermark, Gerhard. I presented our building plans on the forum (should update it some time).


BFTV just wrote on the forum that MASIE for yesterday is down a record 194.7k. Are we about to see the flash melting some of us have been anticipating through much of the season?

Jenny E. Ross

Hello everyone,

Apologies if this isn't the right thread for this question. If all ice on the Uni Bremen SSMIS concentration map that is not the darkest purple were to melt out by mid-September, what would the approximate extent and area numbers be? Would we set new records or not?


Doug Lofland

+40° C is really bad, sorry to hear. But as improbable as that must seem, you should also consider adding a "Santa Clause Chute" which is a Colorado term for a chimney with a ladder so that if you awaken with 6 meters of snow, you can get out. We live in a world where what is not supposed to happen, does now happen.

Further off topic, it looks like the Northwest Passage could open any day now, thanks to the latest cyclone.


A strict meteorological definition of a terrestrial storm is a wind measuring 10 or higher on the Beaufort scale, meaning a wind speed of 24.5 m/s (89 km/h, 55 mph) I think it is a little bit silly to call every Low a storm. Let's say its windy....

Would we set new records or not? is Jenny's question. It's still speculation, but i don't think so. Melt will continue for a while but my guess is it will come close to 2009 or 2010. Another question is or it really matters or it will be close to 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010 ,2011 or 2012 minimum....


Windy, my ass. ;-)

Sorry, that's a joke I've been wanting to make for a long time.

By the way, who is calling every low a storm? I'm not calling anything if it doesn't go below 980 hPa.

Jenny E. Ross

In many ways, NuinZeeland, no it doesn't really matter whether there will be a new record this year or not. Sadly, anyone who follows the condition of the ice knows we are going to lose it eventually, at least in the summer. But I'm in the middle of writing a short magazine article about the ice at the moment (by the way, it will be followed by a much longer article later), and unfortunately my deadline is before the minimum will be reached but the article will be published after the minimum is reached. Puts me in a bit of a bind trying to figure out what to say. I've been following this blog since the outset (lurking and sucking it all up like a sponge), and have gotten an invaluable education, but I still can't do the calculations that many of you seem to be able to do blind-folded with your hands tied behind your backs! Hence, my question.


What is above your story Neven? Third storm. Do you have facts? Do you have windspeed measurements or wave heights in the area?

Allen W. McDonnell

Jenny, best advise update the numbers in the story right before you submit it for publication with a projection of what could happen by the end of the season. Make sure you are broad enough in your prediction that people can't point and laugh so that next year they might ask you back for a new article. Something like it could end up as high as X or as low as Y where both are possible numbers. So long as the actual result Z falls between you look wise and cautious, if Z if above X or below Y you don't look nearly as good.


Again, where do I call every low a storm? I've seen hundreds of lows in the past four melting seasons. Did I call all of them storms?

The fact is that the pressure dropped to below 980 hPa. This doesn't happen a lot in the Arctic. There were a lot of isobars tightly grouped together on the different weather maps, with adjacent highs in the 1020-1030 hPa range. My experience tells me that this is pretty hefty, also corroborated by French adventurers on the ground/ice/water:

7 août 2013

Ce matin, le vent a tourné au sud avec l'arrivée de la tempête qui est censée balayer l'arctique aujourd'hui. Nous avons commencé par faire du sud pour contourner une plaque qui nous bloquait et avons pu reprendre notre route vers le nord, nord-ouest à grande vitesse (plus de 10 noeuds dans les rafales). Notre progression était bonne mais vers 15 heure, le vent a encore forci (35 noeuds), trop pour naviguer dans la glace, nous décidons alors de nous arrêter pour laisser passer le plus fort du vent.

I haven't had, don't have and won't have the time to ascertain where they where exactly during the storm, and whether wind speeds surpassed 35 knots. I also haven't kept an eye on buoys. I don't even know what the exact definition of 'storm' is, whether for instance the definition applies to the Arctic Ocean as well as to the equator or the Gulf of Mexico. Wikipedia has this:

A strict meteorological definition of a terrestrial storm is a wind measuring 10 or higher on the Beaufort scale, meaning a wind speed of 24.5 m/s (89 km/h, 55 mph) or more; however, popular usage is not so restrictive.

All I know, is that lows that go below 980 hPa don't occur every year in the Arctic during the melting season, let alone twice in one year, following a persistent cyclone lasting 5 weeks and also dipping low at its peak.

And these things have an effect on the ice pack, though it's difficult to say what exactly that effect is. Our French eye witnesses had this today:

9 août 2013

Nous avons pu repartir après avoir laisser passer les dernières rafales de vent. La dépression a laissé un paysage sinistré, plaques fracturées et débris de glace errants vivant là leurs dernières heures. Les plus grosses plaques ont résisté mais se sont bien faites grignoter aussi.


Les effets de la dépression sur la banquise sont flagrants, nous avons hâte de voir si elle a eu le même impact plus au nord.

So, I don't know, I call this a storm, and I don't feel much for a 'ocean acidification'-style nitpicking semantic discussion. So unless you can come up with better definitions for <980 hPa lows ('windy' doesn't cut it), NuinZeeland, I suggest you leave the strawmen where they belong.

There are still 4-6 weeks left for the effects of this year's storms to make themselves known. What I can see through the clouds looks unique, and unique usually doesn't bode well in the Arctic. But we'll see.


Thanks Neven. FYI http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beaufort_scale if you want to know the different between breeze/gale/or storm. I don't bother at all i you mix up these terms. That's why i ask for windspeed reports for conformation. I don't have them, thats why i ask. What i have seen till know is wind force up to windforce 6, small 7 at times. That's why i ask : Does anyone have seen more actual data in the area?

Jenny E. Ross

Thanks for your thoughts, Allen. I'm actually starting to think that overall it might be best if I don't offer any sort of a prediction right now for this year's minimum at all -- and instead just stick with a discussion of overall ice-loss significance, and leave out specific numbers except for 2012. That will be fine, unless we do end up setting a new record in 2013 (at which point it will seem weird to readers that I'm discussing 2012 instead of 2013, sigh...) All that being said, if anyone does have an idea regarding what the extent and/or area number(s) would end up being if one counts only the Uni-Bremen darkest purple on the latest SSMIS concentration map, I'd love to know. Looks like it's at least possible that's where we'll end up eventually this year.


I found records of two buoys.
With windforce 4 to 5 Bft at the moment. It might help to get a better idea of the strength of the 'storm'


Given that the 2 buoys listed are about 1200 miles from the center of the storm (no quotations), and the pressure gradient from the 1028 mb high just north of Alaska to the center of the low at 976 mb, there are probably some pretty ferocious winds in a roughly circular area about 300-500 miles across.

Can't tell for sure without being there, and my experience is with tropical storms, but the physics should be similar.

Even more interesting from the buoy site you listed, it is possible to calculate the ice drift speed, since the buoys are not moored. My google earth lists lat/lon in degrees minutes and seconds, and I'm too lazy to figure out the conversion to decimal place, which is given on Washington's website, but I came up with a drift speed of about 1.5 mph. as a result of an average wind speed of about 15 mph. I'll leave it to your imagination what triple or quadruple that will do to the ice pack.


This years melt is fascinating, there is very loose pack ice from the North Pacific to the North Atlantic over a huge area near the Pole in particular on the Russian side:


There is likely a vast amount of open water not highlighted by statistics.

I dont believe neither Extent nor Area calculations are capturing the magnitude of the size of open water because they use a minimum 15% threshold. If there is more tan 15% of ice anywhere within a set gridded area, extent and area will consider as full ice coverage.


Zooming on the link above and you will see that there is a whole lot of open water. If all this ice is compressed into a tight pack, the area and extent should shrink dramatically without an extras days melt. So for a given swat (650 km2) of say 20% open water (many have more than 50%), the water surface is neglected.
Given a huge area of many swats greater than 20% open water (till 84%), ultimately means that 2013 melt is undervalued between 30% to 60% , something A-team magic could calculate with a greater deal of precision.

I conclude that comparing todays area between 2013 and other recent more compacted ice years requires finer tuning, I would suggest total extent not using 15% threshold, may be 1%??. Comparing 2013 with other recent years may eventually be more compatible if compaction continues though.


I agree with NuinZeeland.

My rough estimation is that the buoys have just missed any of the significant wind action in their location.

I used the navy wind map animation:

...and compared it with an Arctic map:


Colors breakdown (10.08.2013) excluding latitude/longitude lines (6,25grid) :
Deep purple (43068px) = 1582734,375
+purple (21522px) (840703,125) = 2423437,5
+light purple (23173px) (905195,3125) = 3328632,8125

+red (11821px) (461757,8125) = 3790390,625
+orange (8448px) (330000) = 4120390,625
+ yellow (12349) (482382,8125) = 4602773,4375

only did this time consuming picture analysis for it was intersting for me too, do not expect regular service.


oh, ssmis map it was, numbers on my last note are from the latest amsr2 map on graph page.


The 2m surface temperature will very rarely be more than around 2C when there is still a reasonable fraction of ice for ~200k in any direction, and rarely less than around -3C when there is still a reasonable amount of open water or melt ponds or partially melted snow in the same area. The 2 meter temperature changes very little all summer, so long as the measurement is taken in the middle of half-melted ice and not near land, fully melted open ocean, or fully frozen ocean. Perhaps a good analogy would be dropping ice into hot tea and then measuring the temperature immediately next to the ice. The temperature there will be very close to freezing, and not indicative of the total heat content, the heat content of the tea, the average temperature of the tea, or the heat flux into the ice.

Advected heat flux near the surface will be near zero, again with the same caveats. In most of the rest of the world the fixed surface temperature would fix the atmospheric temperature up to the top of the convection, but the more normal state of the Arctic Ocean in summer is temperature inversion. Heat can't be convected down to the surface until the wind shear is strong enough to induce instability. This air column is more stable the warmer the medium-troposphere-level air is. I wonder if that's mostly what's going on this year. Maybe the record hot mid-level air has made the normal temperature inversion stable enough that it can convect much deeper than normal into the Arctic Ocean, where it's mostly convecting up in warm-core storms rather than down.

The upper air is warmer over ice than over ocean of the same temperature, too. Not only is it constant 24-hour sun, it's under 24-hour sun twice, once with the sunlight going down and once with it reflecting back up into space. This causes cyclones to preferentially occur over areas relatively high ice coverage.

With the Arctic Ocean actually gaining ice mass this year, there's no obvious local Arctic energy balance reason why this year's pattern can't continue indefinitely as a strong negative feedback for Arctic warming acceleration. But what about the rest of the globe? We all know about the Russian heat wave. Bob Tisale, off all people in the world, is all over the new significantly higher record for the extratropical North Pacific SST.

My first thought was that since low pressure in the Arctic is practically the definition of AO+, the AO index ought to be shooting through the roof, but it's been just slightly high this summer. The reason is that the convection is too localized, and the downwelling high pressures are also in the AO+ negative loading area and mostly canceling it out.

My next thought was, what about the other empirical orthogonal functions of Northern Hemisphere surface pressure variability?. The EOF3 of that paper jumps out as exactly the weather pattern we've been in all summer, likely boosted to new record levels, breaking what was likely the previous record in summer 2010. It would be helpful if he didn't end his data with March 2010.

The new Pacific temperature record was boosted somewhat by our moderate AO+, but looks to be mainly a result of result of an extreme negative EOF2 (North Pacific Oscillation) leading to high pressure there. I don't see any obvious reason why this should be due to Arctic convection, since it isn't part of the EOF mode, unlike for modes 1 and 3. Who really knows, yet, though? Correlation isn't always causality and only have a few years of climate data on our new low-Arctic-ice-summer world.


The question is what is driving these storms as they do seem to be a new feature. The energy of a storm comes from the temp and pressure differential across the storm and this could presage a change. Based on temp this year it looks like the Arctic might be moving back to historic norms of multiyear ice after the low of 2007. This change back to the old ways could be the change. The more things change the more they stay the same. Betting the historic average over a new normal is generally the safe bet.

Gerhard Trausner


You will never be able to accurately compare a storm with a previous storm. There are many components that you need to calculate a storm in order to determine the effect can. From sailing ago I know that it is the way of the wind, which
effect on the driving characteristics of the boat.
A fall wind, such as "Bora", or the "Meltemi", hit the water in a very different way. It is not always the wind speed, which forms the waves, but also the previously gone swell.
The ice is suffering from this storm. It is August. In August is the time of basal melt. The ice cream is warm. It provides less resistance. June and July have been gnawing on ice.
But the August eats it.


@Gerhard "In August is the time of basal melt"

Is that trend due to SST?



Betting the historic average over a new normal is generally the safe bet.

What odds are you offering?

In this context what do you mean be the "new normal" and the "historic average"?

Storm size/frequency, sea ice extent, sea ice area, wild fire activity, people drowned in floods?


thanks @Blaine, that make sense

@Gerhard, i didn't know ice is able to suffer. We are able to compare storms. Sure we can, if we measure windspeed, duration, and direction and if we make record of it, you can compare. The effect of a storm depends on more parameters.


Look at the facts, this is a science board. Also, see why I make the prediction at the end of the post:

1) people drowned in floods? Storm size frequency in in US. Historic low hurricane activity: http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-bJhUmJyxrQs/ULy7NL1QbAI/AAAAAAAACQw/RlSJLqrsz5Y/s1600/hurrdrou0613.jpg

Historic low tornado activity: http://wattsupwiththat.files.wordpress.com/2013/08/torngraph-big1.png

Lower than average severe weather: http://www.spc.ncep.noaa.gov/climo/online/monthly/newm.html

2) Sea ice extent/Temp above 80N.

Temp above freezing above 80N at historic low (great compilation 1958-2013): http://wattsupwiththat.files.wordpress.com/2013/08/dmi_80ntemp_animation_1961-2013.gif

Sea ice extent might be returning to normal: http://ocean.dmi.dk/arctic/icecover.uk.php (multiyear sea ice is a game changer for increasing extent and area)

3) Wildfire activity very average, highest years for wildfire number were all in the 1980's: http://wildland-fires.findthedata.org/

4) Antarctic sea ice extent above normal and at or near historic high: http://nsidc.org/data/seaice_index/images/daily_images/S_stddev_timeseries.png

Why do I think things are returning to normal? I believe the sun is the major climate driver, particularly in the Arctic, and we are moving to a more normal quieter sun (coming off the "modern maxima" for sun activity). Very interesting that the sun folks (Michael Mann himself was once a huge supporter of sun/climate driver) predicted that the low solar cycle would start a change in global temp, and why wouldnt that start in the Arctic if solar driven?




Oh, and further global average temps are dropping and have been since 2002, and have not risen since mid-90's. I am not commenting on global warming here, just saying that we are returning to historic norms based on the real data: http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/hadobs/hadcrut4/data/current/web_figures/hadcrut4_annual_global.png

Kevin McKinney

So, Henry is trolling with shopworn cherry-picks... reminder to self: DNFTT.



Get over it, these are not cherry picks. Look at the real data. Climate4you.com and woodfortrees.com has good compilations as does solen.info on the solar data.

Show real data and quit trolling. This is a science board.


And last post to Kevin -

How can this be trolling when I showed the prior poster the actual government data to answer his questions?

Joe Wentrup

The storm is now moving the ice in a circular pattern around the pole. The effect is that it seems to push ice to the southern borders of the ice shield where it will melt faster - though I suspect much of that movement in fact being ice melt because the center is thinning very fast.

A secondary effect is that a lot of old ice is being pushed into the Atlantic between Greenland and Spitzbergen in a much faster way than normal, a movement, that goes all along the northern coasts of the canadian arctic islands and Greenland. This might result in an opening of the M'Clure Strait of the North West Passage within a couple of weeks.

But the most impressive effect of the storm for me is, as I first mentioned, the fast and circular movement of a big area of the arctic ice cover.

I carefully guess we are now at the beginning of a bigger flash melt from Franz Josef Land up to the siberian See that might - or not might - include some ice area close to the north pole.

My prediction is, though this season won't see any new record lows, that it will be between the lowest 4 (2007, 08, 10, 11) that have all been close calls regarding the Sea Ice Area. So, not really a recovery...



Absolutely right if the ice moves in that way. I have followed the ice near the pole has had several close calls to becoming open water all summer that would really lower extent. That said, before the storm hit that ice was increasing in thickness and might not be as available to wind driven movement as it would normally be this time of year because of the cool weather above 80N.

Time will tell.


Kevin, Henry doesn't want to understand basic physics of ice scattered as opposed to compacted, given so, its all recovery for him. Only if the ice compacts will Henry's theory disappear like an ice cube in hot water. Without deeper analysis the stats really look good for recovery, so I let the amateurs wander in the world of appearances while we study.

Kevin O'Neill

Henry - anyone that tries to read scientific papers and understand the science within would *never* link to WUWT except as a link on how to misuse or misrepresent data. Dozens, hundreds of examples reside within that fantasy kingdom.

Tamino has torn many of the WUWT quoted papers and analysis apart. His most recent post -
A Möurnful Application of Care and Skill
- is another in a long line of posts showing how WUWT supports shoddy science.

Even if you have a valid point regarding arctic weather or sea ice very few here are going to bother listening to it if you're linking to WUWT. It simply isn't a trustworthy place for good science.

I have no desire to argue about it here. I'm just letting you know that most of us here have grown past the stage where we even bother trying to post comments at WUWT to disabuse the faithful. And we have no interest in bringing their nonsense here.

Kevin O'Neill

Henry - "That said, before the storm hit that ice was increasing in thickness and might not be as available to wind driven movement as it would normally be this time of year because of the cool weather above 80N."

I'm not sure where your data is from that says the ice was growing in thickness. I've only been tracking IMB 2012J, but it's one of the buoys closest to the north pole and it has not shown any increase in thickness.

You can download the csv file and look at the individual thermistor temperatures to determine ice thickness and see whether there is any top or bottom melt/growth.



Michael Mann himself was once a huge supporter of sun/climate driver.

Michael Mann changed his mind, so how can his former opinion be evidence for your current one? If Mann is your authority, then you must be wrong.

Oh, never mind, I won't be feeding this troll either.

Charles Craver

LOL. "This is a science board, so let me quote Anthony Watts..."

That's the best joke I've heard all day.


I didn't cite Anthony Watts, I used a very useful tool he happened to create. I disagree with him on just about everything, that said, his science pages are very good compilations.

Michael Mann did not change his mind, at least in anything I read. I read his paper of a year or so ago and he talks specifically about the solar forcing and climate. (1998 paper: http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v392/n6678/abs/392779a0.html ; 2011 review http://journals.ametsoc.org/doi/pdf/10.1175/BAMS-D-10-05003.1 )

Kevin - I did mis-speak, I was looking at the NRL HYCOM data and felt the concentration was increasing prior to the storm (see the 30 day animation: http://www7320.nrlssc.navy.mil/hycomARC/navo/arcticice_nowcast_anim30d.gif). That section of lower concentration ice near the pole has certainly spread but it looks like it may stay contained by older ice and actually might add to extent at least for the 15% models. I also note that most of the ice near the edges in that animation seems pretty solid (80%+ extent) thus ice movement might not be that high from this storm. Time will tell.

Finally, I will note that each of my posts has cited to peer reviewed data and actual gov data and no one that has called me a troll has questioned any of it.

Thanks. Trying to hang in there. As a PhD I know that science can be brutal for those outside, even to the smallest extent, the direct lockstep mainstream.

You might want to buy this Mann article as well. The PDO and NAO may be switching to cooling phases, which could be interesting for our climate models in the Northern Hemisphere: http://www.sciencemag.org/content/326/5957/1256.short

k eotw

"Antarctic sea ice extent above normal and at or near historic high"

"Why do I think things are returning to normal?"

Uhh if Antarctic sea ice extent is above normal, then why are you citing it as evidence that things are returning to normal?

"actual government data"

Oh I think I see now.

k eotw

"Oh, and further global average temps are dropping and have been since 2002, and have not risen since mid-90's."

needless to say your own link to HadCRUT4 refutes that. It shows temperatures now about 0.2C warmer than in the mid 90s.


Thanks K eotw.

Antarctic sea ice extents are well above normal, but they variance around the mean is also less, so not as abnormal down there as the low extents in the Arctic. Further, there is a strange ice phenomena that one pole seems to gain ice while another loses as there is a statistically valid argument that the global sea ice numbers varies less than the numbers for each pole. Weird right? There are models for it, but I am a bit sick of being attacked so I will hope you can learn to find peer reviewed articles and actually read them.

Hmmmm, global sea ice right about average today:


Charles Craver

the PDO may be switching to a cooling phase?

Jenny E. Ross

Thank you Erimaassa! Very interesting. Cheers! Jenny

Andy Lee Robinson

"Hmmmm, global sea ice right about average today"

Just like saying your body temperature is average, while your head's on fire and your feet are frostbitten.

Above-normal Antarctic sea ice is a *consequence* of warming, as the warmer oceans at depth eat the ice sheets which then accelerate into the sea and freshen the surface of the ocean increasing its freezing point.

Citing anything from Watts' moshpit of gnosticide with a straight face only elicits derision.

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