Thursday, December 31, 2015

Monster Storm System Unfreezes North Pole

Despite the fact there has been no daylight in the Arctic for weeks, temperatures at the North Pole spiked above the freezing point for the second time on record on Wednesday.

Normal temperatures for the region this time of year stand at about 20 degrees Fahrenheit below zero. Meteorologists forecast that temperatures at the North Pole would dramatically increase to some 50 degrees higher then average on December 30.

A monster — and fatal — storm that has caused tornadoes in Texas and flooding in Missouri has pushed an extraordinary amount of warm air from the tropics into the Arctic.

According to CNN Senior Meteorologist Brandon Miller, two strong weather systems — a low-pressure mass moving through America and northern Europe, and a high-pressure system over Siberia — have pulled warm air from southern Europe and northern Africa. 

"Because of the strength of the two systems, it's allowing that air to travel farther north than it normally would," he explained, as cited by CNN.

There are no temperature measurement instruments operating at the North Pole, but according to the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, weather models based on satellite readings "interpreted temperatures above 32 degrees Fahrenheit (0 degrees Celsius) at the North Pole for a brief time." 

Even though average global temperatures are rising on a yearly basis, this level of warmth for the Arctic is extremely unusual. The warmth is a temporary phenomenon, though, according to the weather scientists, but they remain concerned as to how much this weather anomaly will contribute to the reduction of Arctic sea ice.

"Some climate models predict an ice-free Arctic at least part of the year in the coming decades" Miller said.

There is currently no direct evidence of a link between human-forced climate change and the strong North Atlantic storms.

However, many experts suspect a correlation, and say that Wednesday's phenomenon is an indicator that historic seasonal atmospheric patterns have shifted dramatically.

  [Sputnik]
31/12/15
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