Maps of the day: Massive heat wave hits the Arctic


From the Climate Change Institute at the University of Maine, first a look at land surface temperature anomalies, with record highs being set in Canada, Alaska, and Russia as the mercury hits levels as much as thirty degrees Fahrenheit above the 1979-2000 baseline:

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Second, a look at sea surface anomalies, where record high temperatures along the Arctic ice cap pose a threat to the already record low levels of ice reported earlier this year:

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The heat wave maps come two days after the United Nations Meteorological Organized released a major report, The Global Climate in 2011–2015, which found that:

2011-2015 was the warmest five-year period on record globally and for all continents apart from Africa (second warmest). Temperatures for the period were 0.57 °C (1.03 °F) above the average for the standard 1961–1990 reference period. The warmest year on record to date was 2015, during which temperatures were 0.76 °C (1.37 °F) above the 1961–1990 average, followed by 2014. The year 2015 was also the first year in which global temperatures were more than 1 °C above the pre-industrial era.

Global ocean temperatures were also at unprecedented levels. Globally averaged sea-surface temperatures for 2015 were the highest on record, with 2014 in second place. Sea-surface temperatures for the period were above average in most of the world, although they were below average in parts of the Southern Ocean and the eastern South Pacific.

A strong La Niña event (2011) and powerful El Niño (2015/2016) influenced the temperatures of individual years without changing the underlying warming trend.

Arctic sea ice continued its decline. Averaged over 2011-2015, the mean Arctic sea-ice extent in September was 4.70 million km2, 28% below the 1981–2010 average. The minimum summer sea-ice extent of 3.39 million km2 in 2012 was the lowest on record.

By contrast, for much of the period 2011– 2015, the Antarctic sea-ice extent was above the 1981–2010 mean value, particularly for the winter maximum.

Summer surface melting of the Greenland ice sheet continued at above-average levels, with the summer melt extent exceeding the 1981–2010 average in all five years from 2011 to 2015. Mountain glaciers also continued their decline.

Northern hemisphere snow cover extent was well below average in all five years and in all months from May to August, continuing a strong downward trend.

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One response to “Maps of the day: Massive heat wave hits the Arctic

  1. 🙂

    Donald Trump wrote: “The concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive.”

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