Update: The developing Arctic cyclone is now a little bit stronger than forecast.
Arctic sea ice cover has been apparently making a strong comeback this summer as cool stormy weather in June spread the ice out, increasing the albedo over the pole. Because ice is much more reflective than open water, even thin ice can keep heat from building up in the Arctic ocean waters. Clouds can both reflect light and trap heat. The high albedo of the spread out of sea ice was probably the key factor in this summer's recovery, to date. Warm settled weather with steady winds in the first 2 weeks of July melted the ice at a record pace, but then a storm on the Canadian side of the Arctic ocean spread out the thick ice built up on the shores of the Canadian archipelago, halting the melting. Both the area and extent of sea ice have made a huge comeback compared to this date last year.
However, there is one thing holding back a sustained recovery. The ice is spread very thin. Last summer's record melt left very little thick multi-year ice. Last winter's thin first year ice has been spread, like a layer of slush, across much of the Arctic ocean And now a strong storm is brewing that the GFS model predicts will stir the slushy waters for the next two weeks. Moreover, there is a large area of much warmer than normal water on the Atlantic side of the Arctic ocean. That warm salty water will be driven into the Arctic by the southerly winds blowing up along the coast of Norway.
All the major weather models are in general agreement about the persistence of storminess near the pole for the next ten days. The European model, the GFS, the Canadian GEM and the Navy Gem show exceptional concordance on the persistence of the polar cyclone.
Perhaps the most important effect of this storm could be the increased intrusion of warm and salty Atlantic ocean water into the Arctic ocean. The warmer saltier water may be increasing Arctic ocean convection which may be the factor which climate models have failed to account for when predicting sea ice persistence. Climate models failed to forecast the rapid decline of sea ice over the past decade. Increased intrusion of warm summer water from the Atlantic and the Bering strait is one of the most likely causes of the failed climate model forecasts.
Profound changes in the oceanic circulation may be beginning in the Arctic. PDF of full Arctic oceanography article.
The temperature of the deep water of the Eurasian Basin has increased in the last 10 yr rather more than expected from geothermal heating. That geothermal heating does inﬂuence the deep water column was obvious from 2007 Polarstern observations made close to a hydrothermal vent in the Gakkel Ridge, where the temperature minimum usually found above the 600–800 m thick homogenous bottom layer was absent.Changes in the deep Arctic ocean circulation will affect the global heat balance and the global climate.
However, heat entrained from the Atlantic water into descending, saline boundary plumes may also contribute to the warming of the deeper layers.