It's 'Absurdly Warm' in the Arctic Right Now

And sea ice is at its lowest point ever
By Michael Harthorne,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 22, 2016 2:07 PM CST
Arctic Sea Ice Is at Its Lowest Point Ever
Sea ice in the arctic is at its lowest point ever thanks to a mysterious blob of warm air that pushed north in recent days.   (Dirk Notz via AP)

Experts are calling it "unprecedented," "scary," and "alarming." Wired reports air temperatures in the arctic are currently 20 to 30 degrees above normal. Or in the words of one of those experts: "It's absurdly warm." And that means arctic sea ice—already down 30% over the past 25 years—is at an all-time low, shrinking during a time of year when it should be growing, according to the Guardian. As of last week, there was 350,000 square miles less sea ice in the arctic than the previous low in 2012. This year's shift is due to a mysterious blob of warm air that pushed north, forcing frigid arctic air down over Siberia. And that mass of warm air doesn't appear to be leaving any time soon.

The lack of sea ice is already having an effect on weather around the world. For example, the US' upper Midwest is having one of its warmest falls ever. "I always say that the Arctic is no Las Vegas," one meteorologist tells Wired. "Whatever happens in the Arctic, doesn’t stay in the Arctic.” While this month's record-low arctic sea ice is due to a "short-term weather event," climate change made the event possible and will likely make future bizarre weather events all the more common, New Scientist reports. That's why we shouldn't be too encouraged when sea ice rebounds in the near future. (Read more Arctic sea ice stories.)

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