May 16, 2016

Even for the fast-melting Arctic, 2016 is in ‘uncharted territory’

Arctic
by
Chris Mooney
,
Washington Post
A undated aerial view from an aircraft of the calving front of a glacier in Greenland. Photo: John Sonntag, NASA
A undated aerial view from an aircraft of the calving front of a glacier in Greenland. Photo: John Sonntag, NASA

“We’re in record breaking territory no matter how you look at it,” says Jennifer Francis, an Arctic specialist at Rutgers University who has published widely on how Arctic changes affect weather in the mid-latitudes. “The ice is really low, the temperatures are really high, the fire seasons have started earlier,” she says.

Indeed, NASA and other keepers of planetary temperatures have documented staggering warmth in the region this year — not just 1 or 2 degrees Celsius above average, but more than 4 degrees above average across much of the Arctic during the first quarter of this year