Global Warming in the Arctic: A Sensitive Climate Gone Off the Rails

Graphic: Climate Change Institute

by Erika Spanger-Siegfried

It is polar night in the Arctic—a darkness that lasts from early October to early March. Temperatures rarely escape freezing in that darkness, averaging -30° F until the light begins to return in spring. Right now, however, temperatures across much of the Arctic are 36 degrees F above normal. Large areas are well above freezing. And instead of rapidly expanding, sea ice extent is in decline.

Taken together, this is not unusual. It’s unheard of.

The degree to which current Arctic conditions are straying from the norm may prove to be the greatest change yet measured there—the latest signal from the Arctic that all is not well.

And while the frozen top of the world may seem remote and unimportant at the moment, what happens there matters greatly to both our immediate and long-term future.


2016 temperatures (Kelvin) above Latitude 80. The green line shows daily mean historic average temperatures from 1958-2002. The red line shows the daily mean average from 2010 to present. The blue line is 32 degrees F, or freezing. Recent days have seen departures from the long-term average of up to 36 degrees F. At and above this latitude, roughly days 1-45 and days 300-365 are spent in darkness. Source: Danish Meteorological Institute

Breaking down the Arctic breakdown

The Arctic plays an important role in moderating global climate. When heat from the tropics is delivered north to the Arctic by winds and ocean currents, the region exerts a cooling effect on both. Without this distribution of energy, the lower latitudes would overheat. Sea ice and snow- and ice-covered land (known as the “cryosphere”) help the Arctic to stay cool by reflecting most of the incoming solar energy back to space.

But the Arctic, like the rest of the planet, is warming, and unlike the rest of the planet, warming in the Arctic can feed rapidly on itself.

To describe one of the feedbacks: Warmer temperatures drive greater melt of sea ice, which exposes open ocean, and exposed water absorbs heat from sun that was previously reflected. Ocean temperatures rise as a result, and when winter comes, the sea ice has a harder time rebounding amidst warmer air and water temperatures. The following year, the melt season begins with sea ice cover that is thinner and smaller in extent.

There are other feedbacks, and all are complex. For a closer look at these reinforcing cycles, see my colleague’s blog on Why the Arctic Matters. As the National Snow and Ice Data Center puts it:

A small temperature increase at the poles leads to still greater warming over time, making the poles the most sensitive regions to climate change on Earth. According to scientific measurements, both the thickness and extent of summer sea ice in the Arctic have shown a dramatic decline over the past thirty years. […] The loss of sea ice also has the potential to accelerate global warming trends and to change climate patterns.

Okay. With this in mind, let’s look at the state of the Arctic at this time.

Sea ice extent

In the polar night, Arctic sea ice historically rebounds from summer melt as both the water and air cool. In recent decades, the ice has been declining in both extent and volume.

This year, with warm ocean temperatures and continued delivery of warm air from the lower latitudes, the ice is struggling to rebound. October saw new record lows for Arctic sea ice extent.


Global sea ice extent began 2016 (thick red line) at low levels. Just in recent days , the Arctic has lost more than a million square kilometers of sea ice, reaching a new record low and contributing to a steep decline in November’s total global sea ice extent. Antarctic sea ice extent is also at record low levels.  Source: Arctic News
In November, Arctic sea ice extent remains well below average for this time of year. In each of the last three days, a time of year when sea ice is normally growing, it has shrunk instead (see figure below). Arctic sea ice is melting up there in the polar darkness.

According to experts following this closely, as of Sunday, November 20, Arctic sea ice is now ~1.1 million square kilometers below the previous record low.

Okay, maybe time to let the #Arctic know what season it is -> another drop in #seaice extent from the last 24-hours (3rd day in a row, JAXA)

— Zack Labe (@ZLabe) November 20, 2016


Sea surface temperatures

With larger areas of the Arctic ice-free each year, and for longer periods of time, the Arctic Ocean is absorbing more heat.

This fall, sea surface temperatures are well above average, with anomalous warmth persisting into November as seen in the figure below. Scientists have reported ocean temperatures 25° F above average in some locations.


Sea surface temperatures are unusually high and well above freezing in some areas of the Arctic, contributing to ice melt. Credit: Climate Change Institute

Air temperatures

The chart below looks at this warmth by a different measure: “freezing degree days.” By many available measures, the oncoming Arctic winter is in a nose dive unprecedented in recent record keeping.

Another way of looking at Arctic:
“Freezing degree days” (# of degrees below freezing x # of days) = open water where there’s normally ice.

— Eric Holthaus (@EricHolthaus) November 20, 2016
A weakened polar vortex and wobbly jet stream have been identified as factors in recent anomalous winters, both colder and warmer, and indeed, meandering winds are currently delivering warm air far northward to the Arctic, and a deep, snowy freeze in Eurasia.

The combination of factors driving Arctic air temperatures today has resulted in a stunning temperature anomaly—persistent, vast areas of 36° F above normal, shown in the map below.


The exceptional Arctic temperature anomaly. Source: Climate Change Institute
Wild cards, like the unusual cyclone that struck the Arctic last winter, driving temperatures 50 degrees above normal, may compound and accelerate ice loss, according to a recent NASA study.

It’s as if the Arctic is trying to be heard.  It’s hard to imagine stronger signals to send.


Meanwhile, in la-la land

Meanwhile, around Latitude 39, Myron Ebell—one of the world’s most prominent and vocal climate change deniers—has been tasked with overseeing the transition of the nation’s Environmental Protection Agency. The very agency tasked with implementing the nation’s leading plan for curbing global warming pollution—the Clean Power Plan.

And Stephen Bannon—a man who oversaw, as chief of Breitbart News Agency, the disparaging of climate scientists and their overwhelming body of science—has assumed the role of chief strategist for the new administration. A role in which he can advise the new president on whether the US continues to reduce its global warming emissions or reverses course—matters vital to the future of everyone.

And today [November 21], Steven Groves of the Heritage Foundation was named to lead president-elect Trump’s State Department transition. Groves penned, just last week, an article advocating a speedy withdrawal from the the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, to which we’ve been a party since its ratification in 1992. It’s a move that would scrap our commitments under the landmark Paris Climate Agreement—you know, that thing that stands between us and catastrophic warming.

File this under irony. No, madness.

From The Union of Concerned Scientists @

For more information about climate change see

Scroll down through ‘Older Posts’ at the end of each section


Do you LIKE this uniquely informative site?

A genuinely incapacitated invalid maintains, writes, edits, researches, illustrates, moderates and publishes this website from a tiny cabin in a remote forest.

Now that most people use ad blockers and view these posts on phones and other mobile devices, sites like this earn an ever shrinking pittance from advertising sponsorship.

This site needs your help.

Like what you see? Please give anything you can –  

Contribute any amount and receive at least one New Illuminati eBook!

(You can use a card securely if you don’t use Paypal)

Please click below –

And it costs nothing to share this post on Social Media!

Dare to care and share – YOU are our only advertisement!

For further enlightening information enter a word or phrase into the random synchronistic search box @ the top left of

And see

New Illuminati –

New Illuminati on Facebook –

New Illuminati Youtube Channel –

New Illuminati’s OWN Youtube Videos –

New Illuminati on Google+ @ For New Illuminati posts –

and see


New Illuminati on Twitter @

New Illuminati on Google Follow –

New Illuminations –Art(icles) by R. Ayana @

The Her(m)etic Hermit –


We provide a live link to your original material on your site (and links via social networking services) – which raises your ranking on search engines and helps spread your info further!

This site is published under Creative Commons (Attribution) CopyRIGHT (unless an individual article or other item is declared otherwise by the copyright holder). Reproduction for non-profit use is permitted & encouraged – if you give attribution to the work & author and include all links in the original (along with this or a similar notice).

Feel free to make non-commercial hard (printed) or software copies or mirror sites – you never know how long something will stay glued to the web – but remember attribution!

If you like what you see, please send a donation (no amount is too small or too large) or leave a comment – and thanks for reading this far…

Live long and prosper! Together we can create the best of all possible worlds…

From the New Illuminati –


It is interesting we see so much pap on the web indicating nothing is going on with the climate. I don;t know if they are just playing stupid or what is going on, Carbon emissions are only about 1% of the change. There are much deeper factors at play.

Russian scientist Dr. Dmitriev Of The Russian Academy of Sciences Indicates The Earth Is Moving Into An Area Of Space With A Much Higher Energy Level




Bad News For The Climate Change Denial Industry


Thawing Permafrost: The Speed Of Coastal Erosion In Eastern Siberia Has Nearly Doubled, Arctic Methane Released At Blinding Speed, Climate Change, Core Of Earth Heats Up


Inuit Elders Say Their Sky Has Changed And The Earth Has Tilted-BBC Inadvertently Shows Kalki Beside The Morning Sun-NASA Worried By Inuit Information


Prophecy of Bulgarian Mystic Peter Deunov Predicts Coming Superwave 39 Years Before the Superwave Theory Was First Proposed


About Dublinmick's Breaking news Click on websites and it will show a live link.
This entry was posted in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s