2015 was officially the hottest year on record, and 2016 is already shaping up to be quite the contender. New data reveals that last month saw the most pronounced disparity between historical averages and actual temperatures, particularly in the Arctic. Not only that, but the sea ice on the top of the world has reached record low numbers.
NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) demonstrate the phenomenon of global warming’s “Arctic amplification” effects. As latitudes climb, the temperatures jump farther away from averages taken in the region. In January, the Arctic had temperature anomalies as 4 degrees Celsius (7.2 degrees Fahrenheit) higher than the 1951 to 1980 averages. This heating effect has produced record low levels of Arctic sea ice – an unusual phenomenon for such a cold month of the year.
February is showing much of the same with low sea ice levels. Mark Serreze, director for the National Snow and Ice Data Center, said “We’re way down, we’re at a record low for this time of year right now,” and that “we are starting out in a deep hole,” according to The Washington Post. Strong El Niño effects are partly to blame, yet are also working in concert with global warming’s growing strength. It is clear from the data that these “anomalies” are instead becoming commonplace in the climate of today.