Arctic warming: scientists alarmed by ‘crazy’ temperature rises

Record warmth in the Arctic this month could yet prove to be a freak occurrence, but experts warn the warming event is unprecedented

Polar bear in Arctic Norway
 ‘This is an anomaly among anomalies’: temperatures in parts of the Arctic have recently risen well above average Photograph: Ralph Lee Hopkins/National Geographic/Getty Creative/Getty Images
An alarming heatwave in the sunless winter Arctic is causing blizzards in Europe and forcing scientists to reconsider even their most pessimistic forecasts of climate change.

Although it could yet prove to be a freak event, the primary concern is that global warming is eroding the polar vortex, the powerful winds that once insulated the frozen north.

The north pole gets no sunlight until March, but an influx of warm air has pushed temperatures in Siberia up by as much as 35C above historical averages this month. Greenland has already experienced 61 hours above freezing in 2018 – more than three times as many hours as in any previous year.

Seasoned observers have described what is happening as “crazy,” “weird,” and “simply shocking”.

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