The North Pole's temperature climbed to 32 degrees Fahrenheit and the burst of heat is worrying scientists.
Live Science reported that in the Arctic winter, the North Pole is familiar with temperatures that hover around -4F, but an alarming heat wave has struck the North Pole. Temperatures reached an unusual high of 32F. Temperatures in Greenland also reached a frightening high as they soared to 42F, and that's not the only shift Greenland has seen. Physicist Robert Rohde posted a tweet that said, as of February 26, Greenland has seen 61 hours of above-freezing temperatures when the previous record was a mere 16 hours back in 2011. Scientists have a few theories as to why these shifts have been happening more frequently.
In an interview with Live Science, James Overland, an oceanographer with PMEL (Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory) said, "We've seen something like this once every ten years in the past, but this is the second major example of this happening in the last couple of years. What's different this time is that we have less ice and thinner ice in the Arctic. When you bring warmer air north, it doesn't cool off as fast as it used to."
In the 2017 Arctic Report Card by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, it was stated that "In August 2017, sea surface temperatures in the Barents and Chukchi seas were up to 4° C warmer than average, contributing to a delay in the autumn freeze-up in these regions." It also reported that the Arctic tundra is undergoing more greenness and "record permafrost warming."
The NOAA also reported that the Arctic is warming at an alarming rate. Currently, the Arctic is warming twice as fast as anywhere else on Earth.
Erik Solheim, head of the U.N. Environment, told Reuters that the change in temperatures could very well be manmade in terms of emissions released from power plants and vehicles. "What we once considered to be anomalies are becoming the new normal. Our climate is changing right in front of our eyes, and we've only got a short amount of time to stop this from getting significantly worse," he said.
Live Science reported that scientists originally believed the Arctic ice would melt thoroughly by 2060, but Overland told the publication that the Arctic could see its ice lost 20 years sooner than we thought.
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