For the second year in a row, the Arctic is facing a late December heat wave (at least by Arctic winter standards). Temperatures are forecast to soar about 50°F above normal, which would bring them near the freezing point at the North Pole.50 degrees?!?!?
As isolated data points, the back-to-back winter warm-ups would be weird. But taken in the larger context, it’s part of anunsettling trend for a region that is being rapidly reshaped by climate change.
A quick recap: Arctic sea ice hit its lowest peak recorded in March (besting the record set in 2015), hit it second-lowest extent recorded in September, and started shrinking in November — at a time when ice should be growing — following a heat wave.
I think that even in a best case scenario, the harm in the decades ahead will be on an almost unimaginable scale.