If you’re in Europe, you’re about to be blasted by winds from the East that will send temperatures below zero. At the same time, a melting Arctic is taking temperatures in the opposite direction.
The Arctic right now is experiencing temperatures that are 25°C (45°F) above normal. On Monday and Tuesday this week, a weather station at Cape Morris Jesup, the northern tip of Greenland, experienced 24 hours above zero. That’s despite the Arctic currently being in winter and perpetual darkness. Usually, it is around -30°C (-22°F).
As a result of these temperatures, the Bering Sea is now experiencing its lowest levels of sea ice ever recorded since satellite data began in 1979. Waves have been seen crashing into the western tip of Alaska, in a time when the water should be frozen over.
“This is unprecedented,” Brain Brettschneider, a climate researcher at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, told Public Radio International. “The amount of ice is less than it’s ever been during the satellite era on any date between mid-January and early May.”
It is, in a word, unsettling. According to Mashable, the rate of sea ice decline seen has been shown to be at its greatest in the last 1,500 years. Yes, we have a way of calculating that. Promise.
The weather station we mentioned earlier, Cape Moris Jesup, is just 640 kilometers (400 miles) from the North Pole. It has only experienced temperatures above freezing on brief occasions in February 2011 and 2017, but already this year it has happened five times.
Over in Europe, meanwhile, temperatures are plunging to 35 degrees average as a result of the “Beast from the East”, freezing winds that are pouring in from Scandinavia attributed to a polar vortex. At times, temperatures in Europe may well be colder than the North Pole.
As noted by The Washington Post, the North Pole last almost reached melting point during winter in December 2016. It’s thought these winter warming events could become commonplace, as warmer air blasts in from all sides.
“The mercury at the North Pole could well rise above freezing between Thursday and Sunday,” they noted.
And that affects us all. A warming Arctic means sea levels will rise and our weather will change dramatically. And, has been noted many, many times before, we are the primary driver of this effect of climate change. If these latest temperature jumps don’t alarm you, then nothing will.