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Home* News and Stories → More tem­pe­ra­tu­re records in the Arc­tic

More tem­pe­ra­tu­re records in the Arc­tic

While cen­tral Euro­pe is free­zing, the wea­ther is brea­king records in the Arc­tic – once again, and towards war­mer tem­pe­ra­tures, of cour­se. Tem­pe­ra­tures in Lon­gye­ar­by­en have been abo­ve the long-term avera­ge (1960-90) wit­hout inter­rup­ti­on sin­ce Novem­ber 2010 – that is for more than 7 years! Curr­ent­ly, it is rai­ning in Lon­gye­ar­by­en, and tem­pe­ra­tures are abo­ve free­zing.

The situa­ti­on in hig­hest lati­tu­des, up to the very North Pole, is may­be even more extre­me. Even the­re, in the deepest arc­tic win­ter, the time that should be the col­dest of the year, tem­pe­ra­tures are curr­ent­ly abo­ve zero. The­re is no wea­ther sta­ti­on at the North Pole, but data from remo­te sens­ing are clear enough, tel­ling us that the tem­pe­ra­tu­re at the North Pole is curr­ent­ly 30 degrees Cel­si­us abo­ve the avera­ge. In words: thir­ty degrees Cel­si­us!

This appli­es to almost the who­le Arc­tic Oce­an north of 80 degrees. Con­side­ring the who­le area, tem­pe­ra­tures are cal­cu­la­ted to be 20 degrees abo­ve nor­mals values. The Danish Meteo­ro­lo­gi­cal Insti­tu­te has got data span­ning the who­le peri­od sin­ce 1958 and the­re is not­hing that com­pa­res.

Peri­ods of mild wea­ther in the Arc­tic are not com­ple­te­ly now, but they have been incre­asing in fre­quen­cy and inten­si­ty sin­ce 1980 and espe­ci­al­ly in recent years. The cur­rent epi­so­de is, howe­ver, record­brea­king. Accor­ding to Robert Gra­ham from the Nor­we­gi­an Polar Insti­tu­te, the­re have been four peri­ods simi­lar (but less inten­se) wea­ther bet­ween 1980 and 2010, but ano­ther four alre­a­dy in the last five yars.

Open water in Advent­fjord next to Lon­gye­ar­by­en in the midd­le of the polar night: not­hing unu­su­al today.

Polar night Adventfjord

Today’s event is most likely lin­ked to the weak ice con­di­ti­ons in the Arc­tic Oce­an. In Janu­ary 2018, less ice was obser­ved than ever befo­re. Even north of Green­land, an area that his­to­ri­cal­ly had relia­ble ice con­di­ti­ons in terms of hea­vy, den­se, mul­ti-year ice, the­re is curr­ent­ly open water. The tem­pe­ra­tures do not con­tri­bu­te to rene­wed free­zing: the auto­ma­tic wea­ther sta­ti­on at Kap Mor­ris Jesup in nor­t­hern­most Green­land has up to Sun­day recor­ded a stun­ning 61 hours of tem­pe­ra­tures abo­ve zero. The record so far was 16 hours for one who­le win­ter – that’s the who­le peri­ods until late April – and it dates back to 1980.

Karte Hütten

View of Lon­gye­ar­by­en through the web­cam of UNIS: rain and tha­wing snow in Janu­ary 🙁

While the details of the meteo­ro­lo­gi­cal pro­ces­ses are not ful­ly unders­tood, sci­en­tists do not have any doubt that the high tem­pe­ra­tures in the water of the Green­land Sea and tho­se of the atmo­sphe­re in the high Arc­tic are lin­ked. Ice, warm water and the move­ments of low pres­su­re sys­tems are con­nec­ted and form a com­plex sys­tem, which also seems to invol­ve the hig­her atmo­sphe­re: unu­sual­ly warm tem­pe­ra­tures were also recor­ded in the stra­to­sphe­re, more than 10,000 met­res high and thus abo­ve the ever­y­day wea­ther events, a cou­ple of weeks ago. Details remain yet to be ful­ly inves­ti­ga­ted.

It should at least get col­der again in Lon­gye­ar­by­en from Wed­nes­day onwards.

Sum­ma­ri­zing source: Washing­ton Post



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last modification: 2018-02-27 · copyright: Rolf Stange