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Western North Atlantic sea temperatures linked to Arctic warming

In January 2016 the Arctic experienced unprecedented warming, with air temperatures as high as 8°C, some 20 degrees higher than average for the time of year. Extreme warming events like this have become more common in the Arctic, contributing to the strong warming trend observed in the region. But why is the Arctic warming faster than the rest of the world? A new study indicates that warmer sea surface temperatures in the western North Atlantic may be an important driver of Arctic warming.

Currently scientists are unable to agree on the major driver of Arctic warming. A number of contributors have been suggested, including decreased surface reflectivity due to less snow and ice, increased surface turbulent heat fluxes due to thinner ice, more downward longwave radiation due to additional water vapour and clouds over the Arctic region, and poleward transport of energy via atmospheric waves.

The Arctic Has Been Crazy Warm All Year. This Is What It Means for Sea Ice

By Brian Kahn

Melt season has begun in earnest in the Arctic. Scientists will spend the next few months watching sea ice turn into open water until the ice pack hits its nadir in early fall. The vagaries of the weather and ocean currents will play a major role in determining where this year’s Arctic sea ice minimum ranks. But the steady drumbeat of climate change ensures that it will likely be among the lowest on record.

New data from the National Snow and Ice Data Center show that sea ice extent was at its sixth-lowest mark for June. Sea ice was missing from 348,000 square miles of the Arctic Ocean, an area about three times the size of Arizona.

Ban heavy fuel oil in the Arctic

By Ranulph Fiennes


London—Thirty-five years ago, as part of a global expedition, Charles Burton and I traveled across the Arctic Ocean via the North Pole, camping for three months on a fast-moving ice floe. It was, for us, a journey that defined our lives, and formed one leg of an enduring world record.

But another record, one far less stable, belongs to the Arctic ice itself: By March of this year, it had shrunk to the smallest size ever recorded.