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Keywords:

  • Arctic;
  • climate change;
  • cyclones;
  • polar storms;
  • sea ice;
  • tropopause polar vortices

[1] On 2 August 2012 a dramatic storm formed over Siberia, moved into the Arctic, and died in the Canadian Arctic Archipelago on 14 August. During its lifetime its central pressure dropped to 966 hPa, leading it to be dubbed ‘The Great Arctic Cyclone of August 2012’. This cyclone occurred during a period when the sea ice extent was on the way to reaching a new satellite-era low, and its intense behavior was related to baroclinicity and a tropopause polar vortex. The pressure of the storm was the lowest of all Arctic August storms over our record starting in 1979, and the system was also the most extreme when a combination of key cyclone properties was considered. Even though, climatologically, summer is a ‘quiet’ time in the Arctic, when compared withall Arctic storms across the period it came in as the 13th most extreme storm, warranting the attribution of ‘Great’.