The earth’s poles are areas of the planet where some of the lowest temperatures are recorded. However, when these geographic poles get much warmer than usual, there must be something wrong.
Sean Birkel, research assistant professor of the Climate Change Institute in the University of Maine announced Friday that the North Pole has reached a record high temperature of 20 degrees Celsius (36 degrees Fahrenheit) higher than average.
This substantial increase in temperature in the Arctic is accompanied by other worrying developments with regards to the weather and ecosystem in the area. Sea ice for example, is at its lowest ever this 2016 which can pose a problem to the natural inhabitants of this area, like polar bears for example. These animals depend on the ice for survival so a further drastic reduction to the ice levels in the area may push them to possible extinction in the future.
This high temperature and the thinning of the ice also has huge ramifications to the climate of the area. As the ice thins down, more of the ocean is exposed, which then absorbs the heat of the sun. This in turn causes the formation of more clouds, which traps the heat and further warms up the area.
It is also worrying that this situation will not be changing any time soon. “The extreme behaviour of the Arctic in 2016 seems to be in no hurry to quit” says Jennifer Francis, Arctic specialist from Rutgers University in an interview with the Washington Post.
Practically all of the scientists and experts agree that this development is another sign that the world climate is indeed warming up.
There are a lot of factors that can contribute as to why temperatures in the area are at an all-time high but Birkel says “the broader background is that the climate is warming [and] the Arctic is warming very much so, more so than any part of the globe.”
Francis also adds that the”…loss of the sea ice, the increased melting of the Greenland Ice Sheet, the thawing of permafrost, the changes in the weather patterns, the rising sea-level – it’s all consistent with our expectations for the response of the climate system to increases in greenhouse gases.” She notes that while this is expected, what’s not is how fast this has been developing.
Scientists and researchers will continue to monitor the arctic region with the hopes that the temperature will normalize soon enough. They will also closely monitor how the wildlife in the area will adapt to this spike in temperature.
While this is strong evidence that the Arctic is indeed changing, and probably for the worse, it remains to be seen how this situation affects the climate systems of nearby areas and the world in general. However, the fact is that there are now more concrete indications that the planet is heating up, and this should be a cause of concern for us all. Scientist believe that now, more than ever, is the time for people all over the world to be proactive in doing their part to slow-down, if not eradicate, climate change.
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