STATES CHRONICLE – Climate change affected most of the planet, reaching to melt massive ice layers, damaging several habitats and ecosystems in the Arctic. The thick ice sheet which once covered the Arctic Ocean is now decaying. Records show that the surface of sea ice in January has never been so small. In November 2016, the ice sheet melted was the size of the eastern half of the US.
Northeast Greenland experienced its warmest February. The temperatures were unusually warm at this time of the year. On February 10, the heat wave reached the North Pole, increasing the temperatures to almost 50 degrees above the average temperature registered. Statistics compared North Pole’s temperatures with a January day in New York City in the 1980s.
Researchers are still trying to find the cause of this unprecedented weather. Mark Serreze, a senior research scientist with the Colorado-based Snow and Ice Data Center, declared that many researchers are struggling to determine the source of this disaster. The layer of sea ice had dramatically diminished due to unusually high temperatures.
Nevertheless, specialists remind us that there is a difference between climate and weather. Cold waves and heat waves can happen chaotically in any part of the world. However, their frequency in some areas of the globe raises some serious concerns, giving experts an insight into general patterns.
Based on a paper which was published about two months ago in Nature magazine, the heat waves usually happen once or twice at every ten years. The earliest such occurrence was identified back in 1959. Strangely, this year there were already registered three such heat waves.
Scientists assume that this massive ice layers melted due to some factors which had interacted together, like greenhouse gas emissions, shrinking ice area, warm water, and air. Usually, this time of the year is known to be part of the winter season in the Arctic. But if we were to take a look at the temperatures in Svalbard, for example, they indicated a rise of 40 degrees.
Now is the time when thick sea layer must form after the summer melt. Instead, it started melting in November. Scientists cannot explain how this is possible since the Arctic experiences six months of a permanent night during the winter when the sun never rises.
Image courtesy of: flickr