The North Pole is over 36 degrees Fahrenheit hotter than average, a new report found. In fact, the entire Arctic region, the report said, is about 13 degrees warmer than usual.
At the same time, the extent of sea ice in the Arctic is at a record low beating the all-time low seen in 2012. The analysis comes from Sean Birkel, a research assistant professor at the University of Maine’s Climate Change Institute.
The region is currently experiencing polar night during which the sun hardly ever rises, so the area gets very cold and thick sheets of ice are formed after the annual melting that occurs in September. However, weather stations around the North Pole are recording temperatures warmer than usual this year and this warm weather is hindering the formation of ice sheets, which is occurring at a pace slower than usual.
“It’s about 20C [36 degrees Fahrenheit] warmer than normal over most of the Arctic Ocean, along with cold anomalies of about the same magnitude over north-central Asia,” Jennifer Francis, an Arctic specialist from Rutgers University, told the Washington Post.
“The Arctic warmth is the result of a combination of record-low sea-ice extent for this time of year, probably very thin ice, and plenty of warm/moist air from lower latitudes being driven northward by a very wavy jet stream,” she added. “The extreme behavior of the Arctic in 2016 seems to be in no hurry to quit.”
The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) said that while the heat from the deadly El Niño event has reduced to some extent, the heat due to global warming still exists.
“Another year. Another record. The high temperatures we saw in 2015 are set to be beaten in 2016,” WMO Secretary-General Petteri Taalas said in a statement Monday. “In parts of Arctic Russia, temperatures were 6°C to 7°C above the long-term average. Many other Arctic and sub-Arctic regions in Russia, Alaska and northwest Canada were at least 3°C above average. We are used to measuring temperature records in fractions of a degree, and so this is different.”
Scientists have expressed their concern over the warm temperatures on Twitter calling the spike an “extraordinary situation.”