Over at Weather Underground there has been quite a bit of interest in an Arctic Cyclone that might cause a repeat of record low sea ice extent seen in 2012. They say:
As of Tuesday, the deepest cyclone in the Northern Hemisphere wasn’t anywhere near the tropics–it was spinning in the central Arctic Ocean. A surface low located near 83°N, about 500 miles from the North Pole and about 1000 miles north of Barrow, Alaska, deepened to a central pressure of 968 millibars (mb) at 2 am EDT Tuesday morning, August 16. This is on par with the central pressure you might find in a moderately-sized Category 2 hurricane. Such lows are a common feature of Arctic climate, but they rarely gain such intensity in the middle of summer. The only deeper Arctic cyclone on record in August is the Great Arctic Cyclone (GAC) of 2012. According to a 2012 study by Ian Simmonds and Irina Rudeva (University of Melbourne), this low bottomed out at 966 mb on August 6, yielding the lowest pressure analyzed across more than 1600 August cyclones in the Arctic since 1979. The cyclone’s minimum pressure was even lower–963 mb–in the real-time analyses produced by Environment Canada while the storm was raging.
Here are before and after surface analysis plots:
The GAC of 2012 churned across the Arctic for ten days while its central pressure was below 1000 mb. The cyclone had major effects on the distribution of regional ice and appears to have played at least some role in that summer’s record depletion of Arctic sea ice.
They are calling it the The Great Arctic Cyclone of 2016: After Four Years, a Summer Sequel.
At this time, it appears the center of the storm has moved away from the north pole, and the central pressure shows around 990 to 1000mb:
The Nullschool plot:
A number of people who want to see Arctic sea ice disappear (so they can be right about predictions of doom, aka take that deniers!) are hopped up about this storm. That’s typical, but there is a difference between 2012 and 2016, according to these plots of sea ice thickness, the Arctic is in much better shape now that it was then:
What remains to be seen is what effect this particular Arctic cyclone has had. It may not be as significant as what was seen in 2012, due in part to the increase in observed sea ice thickness. Thicker ice is more resilient to atmospheric effects and wave actions. So far, according to NSIDC there hasn’t been a drop in extent close to 2012 values:
That could change though, as NSIDC runs on a 5 day filter. DMI’s extent product shows a reduction a bit greater than NSIDC:
What is for certain is that Arctic Sea ice won’t disappear in 2016, it may not even set a new low record according to NSIDC. It should be noted that storms like this have always been a part of the Arctic, and the storm in 2012 and this one in 2016, aren’t anything but weather events, though I’m sure there are people out there trying to spin it into a climate event while ignoring the oft cited “weather is not climate” maxim.
In the meantime we’ll watch, and report again.