Another Massive Arctic Cyclone?

By Tom Yulsman | August 7, 2013 6:40 pm

A mosaic of images from NASA’s Terra satellite reveals what appears to be a cyclone over the Arctic Ocean. (Image: NASA)

I just spotted what appears to be a massive cyclone — bigger than all of Greenland — in today’s daily Arctic mosaic from NASA’s Terra satellite.

Look for the thing that looks like a giant, white, upside down comma in the image above. (And click on the picture for a larger version.)

I’ve dug around a bit and found this Tweet about it from Ryan Maue, a research meteorologist with WeatherBell:

Make sure to click on the link he provided to see a spectacular animation of the model’s forecast for the storm.

And if you have information to share about it, please make sure to leave it in the comments section along with a source.

Just two weeks ago there were reports of a swirling summer storm in the Arctic. And one year ago exactly to the day, an unusually large and powerful cyclone churned over the Arctic Ocean.

Arctic cyclones are actually more common in summer than winter, but they are generally weaker. The August 2012 cyclone featured a particularly low central sea level pressure, according to NASA’s Earth Observatory. (The EO post also has some interesting details about the role climate change may be playing in an observed increase in the number and intensity of summer cyclones.)

The 2012 storm helped to reduce the extent of Arctic sea ice, but it was not responsible for the record low recorded that year. We’ll see what the current storm does. Right now, Arctic sea ice extent is considerably lower than the long-term average, but not as low as it was last year at this time. (See the Arctic Sea Ice News and Analysis page from the National Snow and Ice Data Center for the latest update.)

  • LeeS773

    Has the August storm contributed to the storm about to descend into North America? Would be interesting to know the link between the two.



ImaGeo is a visual blog focusing on the intersection of imagery, imagination and Earth. It focuses on spectacular visuals related to the science of our planet, with an emphasis (although not an exclusive one) on the unfolding Anthropocene Epoch.

About Tom Yulsman

Tom Yulsman is Director of the Center for Environmental Journalism and a Professor of Journalism at the University of Colorado, Boulder. He also continues to work as a science and environmental journalist with more than 30 years of experience producing content for major publications. His work has appeared in the New York Times, Washington Post, Audubon, Climate Central, Columbia Journalism Review, Discover, Nieman Reports, and many other publications. He has held a variety of editorial positions over the years, including a stint as editor-in-chief of Earth magazine. Yulsman has written one book: Origins: the Quest for Our Cosmic Roots, published by the Institute of Physics in 2003.


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