UCF Global Perspectives


Arctic Experiences Hottest Winter on Record

Stacy Erickson, Alexandra Cousteau Environment and Global Climate Change Fellow

March 8, 2018

This year’s Arctic winter goes on record for the warmest yet, with record high temperatures and record low levels of sea ice. Ruth Mottram, Climate Scientist at the Danish Meteorological Institute, said the recorded temperatures were more typical to May then February (Independent). The land weather station closest to the North Pole recorded more than 60 hours above freezing. Scientists have only seen the temperature rise above freezing in February twice before, and very briefly on both occasion. (Guardian). Out of about 35 Artic weather stations, 15 were at least 10º above average (CBS).

The levels of sea ice also hit record lows with plenty of open water where ocean water normally freezes over (Independent). In February, Arctic sea ice covered 5.4 million square miles, 62,000 square miles less than last year and 521,000 square miles below the 30-year normal (Guardian). In the winter, sea ice acts as a lid to keep the warmth of the water at bay. However, with less sea ice, more heat goes in the air, preventing the formation of new sea ice.(CBS).




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