Friday, November 18, 2016
People in the science community are watching some alarming changes in the Arctic.
It's polar night there now. That's when the Arctic is supposed to get super-cold, when the sea ice that covers the vast Arctic Ocean is supposed to grow and thicken.
But in fall of 2016 - which has been a crazy year for the region, with multiple records set for low levels of monthly sea ice - something is totally off. The Arctic is unusually warm, even as a vast area of cold polar air has been displaced over Siberia.
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Zack Labe, a PhD student at the University of California at Irvine who studies the Arctic, tweeted out an image from the Danish Meteorological Institute showing Arctic temperatures about 20 degrees Celsius higher than normal above 80 degrees North Latitude.
This is the second year in a row that temperatures near the North Pole have risen to freakishly warm levels. During 2015's final days, the temperature near the Pole spiked to the melting point thanks to a massive storm that pumped warm air into the region.
Meanwhile, the first major blast of cold air will sweep across much of the northeastern United States this weekend and will be accompanied by snow and strong winds in some areas.
Cold air wrapping around the storm will slash temperatures by 25-50 degrees Fahrenheit in about 36 hours from the Midwest to the mid-Atlantic.