The Great 2012 Summer Arctic Cyclone Was Unprecedented – Study

It’s known as the Great Arctic Cyclone, and when it roared out of Siberia last August, storm watchers knew it was unusual, because the most powerful of these hurricane-like tend to come in winter, not August, reports Michael Lemonick at Climate Central. This, however, was unprecendented, says a study published in Geophysical Research Letters. Reviewing about 20,000 Arctic storms, study authors concluded that in terms of size, duration and several other “key cyclone properties,” the Great Cyclone was the most extreme summer storm, and the 13th most powerful storm — summer or winter — since modern satellite observations began in 1979. On the flip side, they do argue that the storm contributed significantly to the breakup of the ice, and ultimately, to the record-low minimum extent of sea ice covering the Arctic.  Was climate change more broadly, if not the loss of sea ice in particular, a factor in the storm’s surprising intensity? The evidence for that may be more than circumstantial. Arctic experts say the region has entered a “new normal” in terms of snow and ice cover, and perhaps of weather patterns as well.

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 Great Arctic Cyclone in Summer ‘Unprecedented’: Study

By Michael D. Lemonick

Published: December 27th, 2012


About melharte

Mel (Mary Ellen) Harte is a biologist (PhD) and climate change educator. She co-authored the free online book, COOL THE EARTH, SAVE THE ECONOMY, available at www.CoolTheEarth.US, and writes the CLIMATE CHANGE THIS WEEK column at the HuffingtonPost. Living summers in the alpine Rockies, she is on the frontlines of watching what climate change can do. Her diagnostic digital photographs of wildflowers have appeared in numerous publications.
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