Unusual Strong Summer Storm over Arctic
(Photo : Reuters)
The coast of Alaska witnessed something strange on the August 5. An unusually strong storm formed off the coast was tracked to the centre of the Arctic Ocean, where it dissipated after several days. It was on August 6 that NASA's Aqua satellite captured the natural color mosaic image with the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS).
The storm had an unusually low central pressure area. Paul A. Newman, chief scientist for Atmospheric Sciences at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, estimates that there have only been about eight storms of similar strength during the month of August in the last 34 years of satellite records. "It's an uncommon event, especially because it's occurring in the summer. Polar lows are more usual in the winter," Newman said.
Like Us on Facebook
According to the scientists such Arctic storm can prove devastating to the sea ice as it can melt rapidly through much mechanism such as tearing off large swaths of ice and pushing them to warmer sites, churning the ice and making it slushier, or lifting warmer waters from the depths of the Arctic Ocean.
"It seems that this storm has detached a large chunk of ice from the main sea ice pack. This could lead to a more serious decay of the summertime ice cover than would have been the case otherwise, even perhaps leading to a new Arctic sea ice minimum," said Claire Parkinson, a climate scientist with NASA Goddard. "Decades ago, a storm of the same magnitude would have been less likely to have as large an impact on the sea ice, because at that time the ice cover was thicker and more expansive."
Sea ice this year in the Arctic has been below the 1979-2000 average, also potentially setting up a record low year.