More bad news from the poles follows, as a weather buoy located 144 km (90 miles) south of the North Pole has just registered temperatures of 0.4 degrees Celsius (32.7 Fahrenheit). This means that if the North Pole also faces a similar drop, the area will officially hit melting point. This is unlike anything we have seen for over half a century – barring a similar anomaly we witnessed just over a month ago.
According to the Norwegian Meteorological Institute, the area’s temperatures should be something around -30°C (-22°F), meaning they are at least 0°C (54°F) above the standard value for this time of year.
The Washington Post reports,
“In reviewing historical records back to 1958, one cannot find a more intense anomaly – except following a similar spike just five weeks ago.”
A similar rise in temperatures was seen back in November, when the temperatures in the North Pole rose to an unprecedented 20°C (36°F) warmer than the average.
And what makes this really disconcerting is that all of this is happening while the Arctic is going through the time of polar night, when the Sun in the region hardly ever rises, and the area gets really cold allowing for thick ice sheets to form after the warmer months.
But this year, due to the higher than average temperatures, we have seen the process of ice formation to be going at a slower rate than ever before.
Talking about the temperature rise in November, Petteri Taalas, secretary-general of the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO), said:
“In parts of Arctic Russia, temperatures were 10.8 to 12.6°F [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 5.4°F [3°C] above average. We are used to measuring temperature records in fractions of a degree, and so this is different.”
— James Warner (@MetmanJames) December 22, 2016
According to reports by The Washington Post, preliminary data collected by the US National Snow and Ice Data Centre clearly indicate that the Arctic region has lost about 148,000 square kilometres (57,000 square miles) of ice just in the past 24 hours, which is enough to cover the entire state of Illinois.
These figures are yet to be confirmed independently, but if the record lows in November are any indication, we are in for a bumpy ride. Confirmed stats show that as of December 4, we have lost a combined 3.76 million square kilometres of the ice, which is more than the total area of India.
Research organisation, Climate Central said in a statement,
“If nothing is done to slow climate change, by the time global warming reaches 2°C (3.6°F), events like this winter would become common at the North Pole, happening every few years”