The strongest recorded arctic cyclone hit polar areas in January. The cyclone, which battered areas north of 70 degrees latitude northeast of Greenland, highlighted the inadequacies of our modeling on the impact of arctic cyclones on sea ice.
A recent study led by the University of Washington has shown that while the weather modeling for the cyclone was accurate, the effect of the events on the loss of arctic sea ice was greatly underestimated. The scientists found that sea ice loss was 30% greater than the previous record.
According to the study lead author, research assistant professor of atmospheric sciences at the UW Ed Blanchard-Wrigglesworth:
“The loss of sea ice in six days was the biggest change we could find in the historical observations since 1979, and the area of ice lost was 30% greater than the previous record. The ice models did predict some loss, but only about half of what we saw in the real world. The skill of a weather forecast in the Arctic affects the skill of weather forecasts in other places.”
While second author and research assistant professor at the University of Alaska Fairbanks Melinda Webster stated:
“It was a monster storm, and the sea ice got pummeled. And the sea ice models didn’t predict that loss, which suggests there are ways we could improve the model physics.”
You can find the original research here.