Who’s Afraid of the Heating Arctic?
Arctic fall temperatures are at a record 5 ºC above normal
Fall temperatures in the Arctic are a record 5 ºC warmer than the average as less sunlight is reflected because of the major loss of sea ice allowing more solar heating of the ocean to occur, NOAA reported. Winter and springtime temperatures remain relatively warm over the entire Arctic, in contrast to the 20th century and consistent with an emerging global warming influence.
The Arctic-wide warming trend that began about 4 decades ago continues, with 2007 recorded as the warmest year ever for the Arctic.
Arctic-wide annual averaged surface air temperature anomalies (60°–90°N) based on land stations north of 60°N relative to the 1961–90 mean.
As more more of the ice cover was lost during the the 2005 to 2007 melt season, the ocean absorbed more heat from solar radiation which resulted in the ice freeze-up occurring later than usual. Surface air temperature (SAT) remained high into the following autumns, with warm anomalies above an unprecedented +5 °C during October and November across the central Arctic. Report summary.
Near surface air temperature anomaly map for October and November for recent years with a reduced sea ice cover, 2005–2007. Data are from the NCEP – NCAR reanalysis through the NOAA /Earth Systems Research Laboratory, generated online CDC/NOAA.
“Changes in the Arctic show a domino effect from multiple causes more clearly than in other regions,” said James Overland, an oceanographer at NOAA’s Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory in Seattle and one of the authors of the report, Atmosphere.
“It’s a sensitive system and often reflects changes in relatively fast and dramatic ways.”
Ice breaks away from a frozen coastline near the Norwegian Arctic town of Longyearbyen April 23, 2007, an earlier than usual spring thaw. REUTERS/Francois Lenoir (NORWAY). Image may be subject to copyright.
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