Jeff Berardelli is CBS News' meteorologist and climate specialist. The Labrador, Norwegian, Greenland, and Barents Seas and Denmark and Davis Straits are strongly influenced by the cyclones in the North Atlantic storm track, which is most active in winter. Although heatwaves in the Arctic are not uncommon, the persistent higher-than-average temperatures this year have potentially devastating consequences for the rest of the world. https://t.co/oXB4Lw2gXu. The models, though imperfect, often provide valuable insight into climate-related questions that cannot be tested in the real world. The measurements are the average temperatures for 7.7 million square miles of the Arctic, which has already seen “crazy” high temperatures earlier this year. For the entire Arctic, the heat was on average 6,7°C higher than normal. Control the animation using the slide bar found beneath the weather map. Climatically, Greenland is divided into two very separate regions: the coastal region, much of which is ice free, and the inland ice sheet. This caused Fridtjof Nansen to realize that the sea ice was moving from the Siberian side of the Arctic to the Atlantic side. Another interesting use of models has been to use them, along with historical data, to produce a best estimate of the weather conditions over the entire globe during the last 50 years, filling in regions where no observations were made (ECMWF). This expedition also provided valuable insight into the circulation of the ice surface of the Arctic Ocean. Svalbard is a Norwegian archipelago in the Arctic Ocean.The climate of Svalbard is principally a result of its latitude, which is between 74° and 81° north.Climate is defined by the World Meteorological Organization as the average weather over a 30-year period. It's clear that human-caused climate change plays a significant role in boosting the intensity of heat waves. It's more like 3 times the global mean. The most widely used definition, the area north of the Arctic Circle, where the sun does not set on the June Solstice, is used in astronomical and some geographical contexts. Without urgent action to cut greenhouse gas emissions, the world will continue to feel the effects of a warming Arctic: rising sea levels, changes in climate and precipitation patterns, increasing severe weather events, and loss of fish stocks, birds and marine mammals. Despite the low precipitation totals in winter, precipitation frequency is higher in January, when 25% to 35% of observations reported precipitation, than in July, when 20% to 25% of observations reported precipitation (Serreze and Barry 2005). However, the study's lead author, Dr. Darrell Kaufman, a paleoclimate data specialist from Northern Arizona University, said the data is not precise enough to know for certain. Where it does rise, the days are short, and the sun's low position in the sky means that, even at noon, not much energy is reaching the surface. Labe is amazed by the impact. However, the high elevation, and corresponding lower temperatures, help keep the bright snow from melting, limiting the warming effect of all this solar radiation. The average high temperature in summer approaches 10 °C (50 °F), and the average low temperature in July is above freezing, though temperatures below freezing are observed every month of the year. The temperatures are state-wide averages calculated from temperatures recorded during the months of December, January and February. Temperatures in the Arctic Circle hit an astonishing 30 degrees Celsius on Tuesday afternoon. Routine satellite observations of the Arctic began in the early 1970s, expanding and improving ever since. The measurements are the average temperatures for 7.7 million square miles of the Arctic, which has already seen “crazy” high temperatures earlier this year. Annual Weather Averages Near Arctic Bay. Annual average 2-m temperature anomalies in the Arctic (67°N+) for various reanalysis data sets. Meteorological observations were collected from the ship during its crossing from September 1893 to August 1896. Mann said the new study lends even more evidence to how quickly humankind is reshaping Earth's climate. Individual weather stations around the Arctic show remarkably consistent temperature patterns similar to those in Figure … Now global temperatures have risen about 2 degrees Fahrenheit above that baseline, leading to the conclusion that Earth is currently warmer than that warm period 6,500 years ago.  The last decade was the warmest in the record.. In the figure above showing station climatologies, the lower-left plot, for NP 7–8, is representative of conditions over the Arctic Basin. The United Nations said Tuesday it was working to verify reports of a new Arctic record temperature of 38 degrees Celsius (100.4 degrees Fahrenheit) in a Siberian town over the weekend. December saw a return to near-normal temperatures for most of the continent, although temperatures at South Pole station hit an all-time record high of 9.9°F on December 25, 2011. So far in 2020, three cities in South Florida, including Miami, have experienced 121 record warm temperatures and only one record cold reading. The Soviet navy also operated in the Arctic, including a sailing of the nuclear-powered ice breaker Arktika to the North Pole in 1977, the first time a surface ship reached the pole. The southern third of Greenland protrudes into the North-Atlantic storm track, a region frequently influenced by cyclones. When winter weather gets unusually cold, people sometimes say that the weather is Arctic. The Chukchi, Laptev, and Kara Seas and Baffin Bay receive somewhat more precipitation than the Arctic Basin, with annual totals between 200 and 400 mm (7.9 and 15.7 in); annual cycles in the Chukchi and Laptev Seas and Baffin Bay are similar to those in the Arctic Basin, with more precipitation falling in summer than in winter, while the Kara Sea has a smaller annual cycle due to enhanced winter precipitation caused by cyclones from the North Atlantic storm track.. But that is no longer accurate. Note the 5σ deviation in northwestern Siberia, would be a 1 in 100000 year event for a normal distribution of anomalies without climate change. Average January temperatures range from about —40 to 0° C (-40 to +32° F), while winter temperatures can drop below —50° C (-58° F) over large parts of the Arctic. This data on the average monthly surface water temperature on the Arctic Ocean coast in July. Arctic days lengthen rapidly in March and April, and the sun rises higher in the sky, both bringing more solar radiation to the Arctic than in winter. Show. Those areas near the sea-ice edge will remain somewhat warmer due to the moderating influence of the nearby open water. Arctic Ocean coastal surface water temperature Sea water temperature all along the Arctic Ocean coast is not yet warm enough for swimming and does not exceed 20°C/68°F. Following World War II, the Arctic, lying between the USSR and North America, became a front line of the Cold War, inadvertently and significantly furthering our understanding of its climate. Winds and ocean currents cause the sea ice to move. Despite its location centered on the North Pole, and the long period of darkness this brings, this is not the coldest part of the Arctic. The continued low temperatures, and the persisting white snow cover, mean that this additional energy reaching the Arctic from the sun is slow to have a significant impact because it is mostly reflected away without warming the surface. The warm air transported into these regions also mean that liquid precipitation is more common than over the rest of the Arctic Basin in both winter and summer. By November, winter is in full swing in most of the Arctic, and the small amount of solar radiation still reaching the region does not play a significant role in its climate. Finally, weather in the Arctic is noted for its unpredictability, with storms and clouds developing at a moment’s notice. The Arctic Winter From December to March, most areas in the Arctic have an average daily temperature which is less than -20°C, with the coldest month often being February – as opposed to January in other Canadian localities. Unusual clear periods can lead to increased sea-ice melt or higher temperatures (NSIDC). The end of the Soviet Union in 1991 led to a dramatic decrease in regular observations from the Arctic. In winter, this relatively warm water, even though covered by the polar ice pack, keeps the North Pole from being the coldest place in the Northern Hemisphere, and it is also part of the reason that Antarctica is so much colder than the Arctic. "The upcoming pattern looks particularly hostile for areas closer to the central Arctic Ocean. Last year was the first time the global average temperatures were 1 degree Celsius or more above the 1880-1899 average. Furthermore, most of the small amount of solar radiation that reaches the surface is reflected away by the bright snow cover. Average temperatures in summer are above freezing over all regions except the central Arctic Basin, where sea ice survives through the summer, and interior Greenland. These have very small annual temperature variations; average winter temperatures are kept near or above the freezing point of sea water (about −2 °C (28 °F)) since the unfrozen ocean cannot have a temperature below that, and summer temperatures in the parts of these regions that are considered part of the Arctic average less than 10 °C (50 °F). These regions are slightly warmer than the Archipelago because of their closer proximity to areas of thin, first-year sea ice cover or to open ocean in the Baffin Bay and Greenland Sea. Severe wildfires burning 8 times more area in western U.S.  As a result, expeditions from the second half of the nineteenth century began to provide a picture of the Arctic climate. The results highlighted that for around 1,900 years temperatures steadily dropped, caused by precession of earth's orbit that caused the planet to be slightly farther away from the sun during summer in the Northern Hemisphere. The northern islands receive similar amounts, with a similar annual cycle, to the central Arctic Basin. During these two years thousands of scientists from over 60 nations will co-operate to carry out over 200 projects to learn about physical, biological, and social aspects of the Arctic and Antarctic (IPY). For decades, the Arctic has been warming much faster than the rest of the globe. The climate of the Arctic is characterized by long, cold winters and short, cool summers. In the station-climatology figure above, the plots for Point Barrow, Tiksi, Murmansk, and Isfjord are typical of land areas adjacent to seas that are ice-covered seasonally. This ice acts to keep the surface temperature at freezing, just as it does over the Arctic Basin, so a location on a strait would likely have a summer climate more like the Arctic Basin, but with higher maximum temperatures because of winds off of the nearby warm islands. None of this comes as a surprise to climate scientists who have been sounding the alarms about the impacts of global warming for decades. The ice may be bare ice, or it may be covered by snow or ponds of melt water, depending on location and time of year. Based on weather reports collected during 1985–2015. Differences in surface albedo due for example to presence or absence of snow and ice strongly affect the fraction of the solar radiation reaching the surface that is reflected rather than absorbed. By the early 19th century some expeditions were making a point of collecting more detailed meteorological, oceanographic, and geomagnetic observations, but they remained sporadic. In the station-climatology figure above, the plot for Resolute is typical of this region. pic.twitter.com/Qd0OZknVOj. Temperatures continue to drop rapidly until about December. But it's unusual for warmer-than-average temperatures to continue for so long -- temperatures in Siberia have stayed well-above average since 2019. For the period before modern thermometers, they relied on a variety of temperature estimates based on what scientists call proxy records — clues like fossils buried in sediments, such as shells and pollen, that reveal what climate conditions were like in the ancient past. In the station climatology figure above, the Centrale plot is representative of the high Greenland Ice Sheet. Annual Weather Averages in Arctic Village. In 2018 he published a study about a summer phenomenon he calls quasi-resonant amplification (QRA) in which atmospheric waves and jet streams tend to slow down or even get stuck, leading to a blocked pattern. Download : Download full-size image; Figure 8.30. These regions receive many weakening cyclones from the North-Atlantic storm track, which is most active in winter. Stronger winds do occur in storms, often causing whiteout conditions, but they rarely exceed 25 m/s (90 km/h (56 mph) in these areas. In the more recent past, the planet has experienced a series of ice ages and interglacial periods over about the last 2 million years, with the last ice age reaching its maximum extent about 18,000 years ago and ending by about 10,000 years ago. Likewise, in the beginning of September both the northern and southern land areas receive their winter snow cover, which combined with the reduced solar radiation at the surface, ensures an end to the warm days those areas may experience in summer. In general, Arctic winters are long and cold while summers are short and cool. The extended Siberian heat wave is due to an usually persistent high pressure system, which more or less has remained stuck over Russia since December. Download : Download full-size image; Figure 8.29. In 1958 an American nuclear submarine, the Nautilus was the first ship to reach the North Pole. pic.twitter.com/n87VwaoQav, The staggering pace of warming in the Arctic is causing systemic changes. , According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), "warming of the climate system is unequivocal", and the global-mean temperature has increased by 0.6 to 0.9 °C (1.1 to 1.6 °F) over the last century. The main exception to this general description is the high part of the Greenland Ice Sheet, which receives all of its precipitation as snow, in all seasons. In some warmer pockets - … The straits between these islands often remain covered by sea ice throughout the summer. The 24-hour days found near the poles in summer result in a large daily-average solar flux reaching the top of the atmosphere in these regions. And in Norway, due to a stretch of unusual warmth well into the 80s, people are skiing on glaciers in bathing suits. Despite the region’s lack of sunlight during winter months, it is still possible to get sunburned from prolonged sun exposure. By July and August, most of the land is bare and absorbs more than 80% of the sun's energy that reaches the surface. The Russian government ended the system of drifting North Pole stations, and closed many of the surface stations in the Russian Arctic. Be in the know. June-2020 in Verkhoyansk...became the warmest in history.". Sea ice is frozen sea water that floats on the ocean's surface. Most of the Basin receives less than 250 mm (9.8 in) of precipitation per year, qualifying it as a desert. This program operated continuously, with 30 stations in the Arctic from 1950 to 1991. During the winter months of November through February, the sun remains very low in the sky in the Arctic or does not rise at all. An isotherm indicates a line of equal or constant temperature, and it’s used to show temperature distributions on weather maps. However, this region is not part of the Arctic because its continental climate also allows it to have warm summers, with an average July temperature of 15 °C (59 °F). These provided knowledge of perhaps the most extreme climate of the Arctic, and also the first suggestion that the ice sheet lies in a depression of the bedrock below (now known to be caused by the weight of the ice itself). Average temperatures for June in Arctic Siberia relative to the 1981-2010 average. The study used a variety of geological clues and statistical analysis methods to reconstruct ancient temperature estimates. The Greenland Ice Sheet covers about 80% of Greenland, extending to the coast in places, and has an average elevation of 2,100 m (6,900 ft) and a maximum elevation of 3,200 m (10,500 ft). The Arctic is among the fastest warming regions in the world and is heating at twice the global average. The temperature on Earth over the past few decades has grown, on average, by 0.18 every 10 years, but, in the Russian Arctic it increases by 0.69C every decade. The ocean under the Arctic ice is cold, but still warmer than the ice! This region is continuously below freezing, so all precipitation falls as snow, with more in summer than in the winter time. The record heat in parts of Siberia during the month of May was so remarkable that it reached five standard deviations from normal. The Arctic is often perceived as a region stuck in a permanent deep freeze. As the Arctic continues receiving energy from the sun during this time, the land, which is mostly free of snow by now, can warm up on clear days when the wind is not coming from the cold ocean. © Marie-Chantal Marchand / WWF-Canada Shrinking sea ice is a big problem for Arctic wildlife The average temperature of the Arctic has increased 2.3°C since the 1970s. The number of days with measurable precipitation (more than 0.1 mm [0.004 in] in a day) is slightly greater in July than in January (USSR 1985). Neither the models nor the data are perfect, so these maps may differ from other estimates of surface temperatures; in particular, most Arctic climatologies show temperatures over the central Arctic Ocean in July averaging just below freezing, a few degrees lower than these maps show (USSR, 1985). January, February, and early March have uniform conditions with mean temperatures about −35 °F (−37 °C) in the central Siberian Arctic and −30 to −20 °F (−34 to −29 °C) in North America. These regions have summer temperatures between about 0 and 8 °C (32 and 46 °F). Ten days after that record was set, the heat wave still persists. Today it's the 9th day with Tmax over 30C in central Norway so far. In central Canada, temperatures this week along the shores of Hudson Bay are maxing out in the 90s. (1400m asl) @WeatherProf . The sea ice begins to refreeze, and eventually gets a fresh snow cover, causing it to reflect even more of the dwindling amount of sunlight reaching it. The World Meteorological Organization warned that temperatures in Siberia were about 18 degrees F above average in June as devastating fires rage across the Arctic and ice melts off the Arctic … There are several reasons to expect that climate changes, from whatever cause, may be enhanced in the Arctic, relative to the mid-latitudes and tropics. In the decades that followed submarines regularly roamed under the Arctic sea ice, collecting sonar observations of the ice thickness and extent as they went. - "The map shows how air temperatures in the Arctic compared to averages from 1979 to 2015. The Soviet Union was also interested in the Arctic and established a significant presence there by continuing the North-Pole drifting stations. Ice that has broken off from the Eqip Sermia Glacier, also called the Eqi Glacier, drifts past shore during unseasonably warm weather on August 1, 2019 at Eqip Sermia, Greenland, about 350 km north of the Arctic Circle. In some towns, the weather is 30 degrees above normal. As with the rest of the planet, the climate in the Arctic has changed throughout time. These maps were made with data from the NCEP/NCAR Reanalysis, which incorporates available data into a computer model to create a consistent global data set. And while it's not uncommon for patterns to set up shop for extended periods of time due to natural cycles, this tenacity is extraordinary, to say the least. Coastal regions on the northern half of Greenland experience winter temperatures similar to or slightly warmer than the Canadian Archipelago, with average January temperatures of −30 to −25 °C (−22 to −13 °F). The Arctic is ocean surrounded by land. He explained, "The 'handle' of the hockey stick just gets longer and longer with each new study and indeed there is a hint that current warmth now might be unprecedented since at least the last interglacial period more than a hundred thousand years ago. This will contribute to the formation of melt ponds (water) overtop of the sea ice, which can accelerate declines in sea ice extent later in the summer," explains Labe. The lowest recorded temperature is -83 °C (-117 °F), while the highest is -12 °C (10 °F). This marks noon in the Pole's year-long day; from then until the September equinox, the sun will slowly approach nearer and nearer the horizon, offering less and less solar radiation to the Pole. The interior ice sheet escapes much of the influence of heat transfer from the ocean or from cyclones, and its high elevation also acts to give it a colder climate since temperatures tend to decrease with elevation. The Arctic Basin is one of the driest parts of the Arctic. These data became available after the Cold War, and have provided evidence of thinning of the Arctic sea ice. The lowest extreme temperatures in the winter are between −65 and −50 °F (−54 and −46 °C). In summer, the coastal regions of Greenland experience temperatures similar to the islands in the Canadian Archipelago, averaging just a few degrees above freezing in July, with slightly higher temperatures in the south and west than in the north and east. And it’s got mountains. All Year January February March April May June July August September October November December. ", First published on July 1, 2020 / 12:11 PM. As the amount of solar radiation available to the surface rapidly decreases, the temperatures follow suit. Arctic sea ice decline: faster than forecasted. Minimum temperatures in winter over the higher parts of the ice sheet can drop below −60 °C (−76 °F)(CIA, 1978). South Pole At the South Pole, 2,800 meters (9,200 feet) above sea level, the average annual temperature is -49 °C (-56 °F), ranging from about -28 °C (-18 °F) in January to about -59.5 °C (-74.5 °F) in July. Dr. Michael Mann is arguably one of the world's most respected climate scientists. It shows the average temperature in the coldest months is in the −30s, and the temperature rises rapidly from April to May; July is the warmest month, and the narrowing of the maximum and minimum temperature lines shows the temperature does not vary far from freezing in the middle of summer; from August through December the temperature drops steadily. This new study shows that same effect is also apparent in both 2,000-year and 12,000-year time frames, as seen in the graphic below. The east coast of the central third of the island receives between 200 and 600 mm (7.9 and 23.6 in) of precipitation per year, with increasing amounts from north to south. Variations in cloud cover can cause significant variations in the amount of solar radiation reaching the surface at locations with the same latitude. Temperatures in the Siberian Arctic reached record averages in June, with some areas seeing rises of as much as 10C (18F), according to EU data. January, February, and early March have uniform conditions with mean temperatures about −35 °F (−37 °C) in the central Siberian Arctic and −30 to −20 °F (−34 to −29 °C) in North America.