A sudden spell of heat at the North Pole at the coldest period of the year has left scientists across the world stunned.
Despite being the coldest time of the year, temperatures have seen a historic thaw after an enormous storm pumped an intense pulse of heat through the Greenland Sea.
Even though the North Pole won’t see the sun till March 20, temperatures may have soared as high as 35 degree Fahrenheit which is about 2 degree Celsius, according to the US Global Forecast System model.
According to Zack Labe, a climate scientist from the University of California at Irvine, the analysis showed the temperature to be ‘very close to freezing’, which came out to be more than 50 degree, or 30 degree Celsius, above the normal temperature measured.
Labe added that the warm intrusion penetrated right through the heart of the Central Arctic.
The temperature averaged to its highest level ever recorded in February for the entire region north of 80 degree latitude. The average temperature came out to be more than 36 degrees (20 degrees Celsius) above normal.
“No other warm intrusions were very close to this,” Labe said in an interview, describing a data set maintained by the Danish Meteorological Institute that dated back to 1958. “I was taken by surprise how expansive this warm intrusion was.”
A research had shown that such extreme warm intrusions are becoming more frequent in the Arctic. Published in last July, the study found that these events have become more frequent, longer-lasting, and more intense, since 1980.
“Previously this was not common,” said lead author of the study Robert Graham, from the Norwegian Polar Institute. “It happened in four years between 1980 and 2010, but has now occurred in four out of the last five winters.”
Graham had explained that these warming events are related to the decline of winter sea ice in the Arctic, noting that January’s ice extent was the lowest on record.
Scientists were shocked in recent days to discover open water north of Greenland, an area normally covered by old, very thick ice.
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