The North Pole Is Dealing With an ‘Unprecedented’ Heat Wave
Scientists are intrigued and puzzled by a rise in temperature at the North Pole.
Temperatures in the North Pole area have been more than 35 degrees Celsius warmer in comparison to historical averages for this time of the year. The Danish Meteorological Institute recorded over 24 hours where the Cape Morris Jesup weather station, which sits roughly 400 miles from the North Pole at the northern tip of Greenland, hit temperatures above freezing. Cape Morris Jesup is typically around -33 degrees at this time of year, according to Climatemaps.
"I think it's fair to say that this event is unprecedented in our record — both in terms of the magnitude and (for Kap Morris Jesup at least) the duration," the Danish Meteorological Institute's Ruth Mottram told Mashable.
Physicist Robert Rohde, lead scientist at climate science non-profit Berkeley Earth, pointed to warm air coming from the Atlantic as part of the cause of the high temperatures at the North Pole.
Scientists have called the above freezing North Pole temperatures “incredible” and a “weird occurrence” as they look to determine its exact cause.
"What’s exactly driving these changes is not clear, but having storm tracks move further north (i.e. the North Atlantic storm track) may be tied to the northward retreat of the ice edge," Julienne Stroeve, a senior research scientist at the National Snow and Ice Data Center in Boulder, Colorado, told Mashable.
Up until this day, the Danish Meteorological Institute has only ever had two other instances where temperatures were as warm as they have been in February of 2018, with one occurrence that took place in 2011 and another that took place in 2017.
According to The Guardian, the North Pole had already seen 10 days of temperatures that rose above the freezing point in the last week. Mottram told The Guardian that what makes this North Pole "heat wave" so special is the amount of time the temperature spike has lasted. “Going back to the late 1950s at least we have never seen such high temperatures in the Arctic,” Mottram added.