Temperature at North Pole Nearly 50 Above Normal

The Arctic is nearing the melting point when it should be freezing
By Michael Harthorne,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 22, 2016 4:55 PM CST
Temperature at North Pole Nearly Reaches Melting Point
A fisherman drives a boat during Secretary of State John Kerry's tour of the Jakobshavn Glacier and the Ilulissat Icefjord, located near the Arctic Circle in Ilulissat, Greenland.   (AP Photo/Evan Vucci, Pool, File)

Hope Santa has a summer outfit on hand. The New York Times reports scientists have been "startled" by the extremely warm temperatures in the Arctic over the past two months. In mid-November, some areas of the Arctic were more than 35 degrees above average, while mean temperatures for the month were 23 degrees warmer than normal. But wait, there's more:

  • Reuters reports that temperatures at the North Pole neared the melting point on Thursday. It was 24.8 degrees at midday; a normal temperature for this time of year is -22 degrees.
  • A new study published Wednesday on Climate Central ties the recent record temperatures in the Arctic to human causes, such as greenhouse gases.
  • Meanwhile, NOAA's Arctic Program released its Arctic Report Card 2016 earlier this month, and it wasn't good—even before the extreme warmth of November and December. This summer, the Arctic had the second lowest extent of sea ice since 1979. It had the lowest extent of spring snow cover since 1967.
  • Mashable reports it's been the warmest year in the Arctic since at least 1900. In fact, the Arctic is warming twice as fast as the rest of the Earth.
  • Returning to the Times, experts warn the current record-low ice coverage will only make warming worse this coming summer because there will be less surface area to reflect the sun's rays. "We're going to be watching the summer of 2017 very closely," NOAA's Jeremy Mathis says.
(Read more Arctic stories.)

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