Spiking Temperatures in the Arctic Startle Scientists

Spiking Temperatures in the Arctic Startle Scientists

By HENRY FOUNTAIN and JOHN SCHWARTZDEC. 21, 2016

 

 The cruise ship Crystal Serenity, anchored outside Nome, Alaska, in August, before its inaugural voyage through the Northwest Passage. The trip would not have been possible before climate change led to diminished sea ice coverage. Credit Mark Thiessen/Associated Press

A spate of extreme warmth in the Arctic over the past two months has startled scientists, who warn that the high temperatures may lead to record-low ice coverage next summer and even more warming in a region that is already among the hardest hit by climate change.

In mid-November, parts of the Arctic were more than 35 degrees Fahrenheit warmer than observed averages, scientists said, and at the pole itself, mean temperatures for the month were 23 degrees above normal. Although conditions later cooled somewhat, the extreme warmth is expected to return, with temperatures forecast to be as much as 27 degrees above normal beginning Thursday. Read more.