‘Beyond the extreme’: Scientists marvel at ‘increasingly non-natural’ Arctic warmth

GR:  Declining ice, warming oceans, and fading polar high pressure are supporting frequent flows of warm air from the south. Scientists and weather forecasters did not expect this consequence of global warming to come so soon. They do not know what to expect next.

Arctic temperature difference from normal during January. (WeatherBell.com)

“The Arctic is so warm and has been this warm for so long that scientists are struggling to explain it and are in disbelief. The climate of the Arctic is known to oscillate wildly, but scientists say this warmth is so extreme that humans surely have their hands in it and may well be changing how it operates.

“Temperatures are far warmer than ever observed in modern records, and sea ice extent keeps setting record lows.

“2016 was the warmest year on record in the Arctic, and 2017 has picked up right where it left off. “Arctic extreme (relative) warmth continues,” Ryan Maue, a meteorologist with WeatherBell Analytics, tweeted on Wednesday, referring to January’s temperatures.

“Veteran Arctic climate scientists are stunned.

“[A]fter studying the Arctic and its climate for three and a half decades, I have concluded that what has happened over the last year goes beyond even the extreme,” wrote Mark Serreze, director of the National Snow and Ice Data Center in Boulder, Colo., in an essay for Earth magazine.

“At the North Pole, the mercury has rocketed to near the melting point twice since November, and another huge flux of warmth is projected by models next week. Their simulations predict some places in the high Arctic will rise over 50 degrees above normal.

GFS model temperature forecast difference from normal next Feb. 8 over Arctic. (WeatherBell.com)

“What happens next in the Arctic is anyone’s guess. But Penn State’s Titley, who said we are “headed into a new unknown” is concerned: “Science is still trying to figure out the details. We do know that 2017 will almost certainly start with the weakest, thinnest, smallest arctic ice pack in recorded history. So we are one step closer to living with an ice-free arctic in the summer, and probably sooner than we think.” –Jason Samenow (More:  ‘Beyond the extreme’: Scientists marvel at ‘increasingly non-natural’ Arctic warmth – The Washington Post.)

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