The Great Arctic Cyclone of 2012

In Weather on January 1, 2013 at 11:02 am

Last summer an unusually large and fierce storm broke out in the Arctic.  What is memorable about it was its unusual intensity for a summer storm.  It also pounded what little was left of the polar ice cap up.  Sea level pressure reached about 964 millibars on August 6, 2012—a number more typical of a winter storm.

Fierce storms like this are usually caused by a clash of air masses differentiated by large temperature differences.  The Arctic his drastically heating up in the summer, melting the ice cap, generating huge storms and knocking the jet stream off course.  This results in bad summer and/or bad winter weather in Europe for example.  As the Arctic heats up the jet stream ‘wobbles’ into large amplitude waves creating ‘blocking weather patterns’ that stall extreme heat or cold, drought or floods over a particular area.

The blocking weather event was critical in Super Storm Sandy making its notorious ‘left hook’ right into New York City instead of heading out to sea.  So the ripple-effect of Arctic melting are creating more extreme and long-lasting weather events all around the world.  Here is a very interesting video that explains how the jet stream is wobbling off course due to Arctic melting.





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