Abnormally warm air, about 50°F above normal, forecast to invade the Arctic and persist, from 21 December 2016 through 27 December 2016. Credit: Climate Reanalyzer

By Brian Kahn
21 December 2016

(Climate Central) – For the second year in a row, the Arctic is facing a late December heat wave (at least by Arctic winter standards). Temperatures are forecast to soar about 50°F above normal, which would bring them near the freezing point at the North Pole.

As isolated data points, the back-to-back winter warm-ups would be weird. But taken in the larger context, it’s part of an unsettling trend for a region that is being rapidly reshaped by climate change.

A quick recap: Arctic sea ice hit its lowest peak recorded in March (besting the record set in 2015), hit it second-lowest extent recorded in September, and started shrinking in November — at a time when ice should be growing — following a heat wave.

Just how much of a heat wave did the Arctic deal with in November? At the North Pole, temperatures in November averaged an astonishing 27°F above normal. Oh, and the Northwest Passage also opened up in August for good measure. […]

Friederike Otto, a climate scientist at Oxford who worked on this and other WWA analyses, said this one stood out for the massive role climate change played.

“In terms of the magnitude of change, this is a totally different picture than what we have seen before,” she said in an email. “Climate change really is the game changer here. (It) increased the risk of this event occurring by several orders of magnitude!" [more]

North Pole Temperatures May Soar to 50 Degrees Above Normal


  1. opit said...

    Have you figured out solar irradiance is not the greatest source of heat when it's pitch dark ?


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