The Arctic experienced record warmth this month after a major heatwave. It is yet to be determined as a freak occurrence, yet climate experts warn that the Arctic temperature rise is unprecedented.
The primary concern among scientists is that global warming is damaging and eroding the polar vortex—winds that insulate the north pole.
“This is an anomaly among anomalies,” said Michael Mann, director of the Earth System Science Center at Pennsylvania State University. “It is far enough outside the historical range that it is worrying—it is a suggestion that there are further surprises in store as we continue to poke the angry beast that is our climate.
“The Arctic has always been regarded as a bellwether because of the vicious circle that amplify human—caused warming in that particular region. And it is sending out a clear warning.”
Ruth Mottram of the Danish Meteorological Institute said “Spikes in temperature are part of the normal weather patterns—what is unusual about this event is that it has persisted for so long and that it has been so warm.
“Going back to the late 1950s at least we have never seen such high temperatures in the high Arctic.”
While it is normal for temperatures to fluctuate in the Arctic north as a result of the strength or weakness of the polar vortex that works to deflect warm air to keep the region cool, the recent heat peaks that the area has been experiencing have been lasting longer and longer.
Robert Rohde, lead scientist at Berkeley Earth, said “In 50 years of Arctic reconstructions, the current warming event is both the most intense and one of the longest-lived warming events ever observed during winter.”