WATCH: Freak Summer Cyclone Speeds Record Arctic Melt

A freak summer cyclone churned already-weakened Arctic ice to slush, likely accelerating this summer’s melt, say NASA scientists. The cyclone, which formed off Alaska and made a beeline for the North Pole in early August, severed chunks of ice and pushed them into warmer waters where some melted entirely. According to estimates by NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, in the last three decades only eight August storms have been this powerful.

This new visualization from NASA helps show just how far the Arctic ice has receded this summer. Strong winds colored red accelerated a record melt: Sea ice extent shrunk to 1.32 million square miles (3.41 million square kilometers), or 293,000 square miles less than the previous low, set in 2007.

August's freak Arctic cyclone assisted in this year's record melt. NASA image by Jeff Schmaltz, LANCE/EOSDIS Rapid Response.August’s freak Arctic cyclone assisted in this year’s record melt. NASA image by Jeff Schmaltz, LANCE/EOSDIS Rapid Response.

Video courtesy of NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center Scientific Visualization Studio
The Blue Marble data is courtesy of Reto Stockli (NASA/GSFC).

More Mother Jones reporting on Climate Desk

IT'S NOT THAT WE'RE SCREWED WITHOUT TRUMP:

"It's that we're screwed with or without him if we can't show the public that what we do matters for the long term," writes Mother Jones CEO Monika Bauerlein as she kicks off our drive to raise $350,000 in donations from readers by July 17.

This is a big one for us. It's our first time asking for an outpouring of support since screams of FAKE NEWS and so much of what Trump stood for made everything we do so visceral. Like most newsrooms, we face incredibly hard budget realities, and it's unnerving needing to raise big money when traffic is down.

So, as we ask you to consider supporting our team's journalism, we thought we'd slow down and check in about where Mother Jones is and where we're going after the chaotic last several years. This comparatively slow moment is also an urgent one for Mother Jones: You can read more in "Slow News Is Good News," and if you're able to, please support our team's hard-hitting journalism and help us reach our big $350,000 goal with a donation today.

payment methods

IT'S NOT THAT WE'RE SCREWED WITHOUT TRUMP:

"It's that we're screwed with or without him if we can't show the public that what we do matters for the long term," writes Mother Jones CEO Monika Bauerlein as she kicks off our drive to raise $350,000 in donations from readers by July 17.

This is a big one for us. So, as we ask you to consider supporting our team's journalism, we thought we'd slow down and check in about where Mother Jones is and where we're going after the chaotic last several years. This comparatively slow moment is also an urgent one for Mother Jones: You can read more in "Slow News Is Good News," and if you're able to, please support our team's hard-hitting journalism and help us reach our big $350,000 goal with a donation today.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate