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Arctic megastorm is so powerful it’s turning the ice cap into “slush”

August 13, 2012

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By Annalee Newitz

A massive storm has been lashing the Arctic, and its fury is so great that it’s actually breaking up the remaining ice at the pole and whipping it into a substance that one scientist called “slushy.” Over at the awesome DotEarth blog, Andrew Revkin has been keeping tabs on the storm, which is incredibly unusual for this time of year. Summers in the Arctic are generally quite mild, but this season has been an especially stormy one.


Revkin asked atmospheric scientist William Chapman about the storm, and the scientist told DotEarth in part:

Low pressure systems tend to cause a divergence or spreading out of the ice pack (high pressure systems in contrast, cause convergence and compaction). The sea ice cover this summer was already very spread out. Much more of the Arctic ocean was comprised of individual broken ice floes and the pack ice had holes in it exposing ocean in many places. This storm should cause even more of that, especially in the far north where that storm will sit for a few days. To stay with the tea analogy, instead of a cup of iced tea with solid cubes floating on the surface, the storm will churn the tea into a more slushy consistency.

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