Feb 18, 2016

Scientists are floored by what’s happening in the Arctic right now

Arctic Bay, NU
Chris Mooney
The Washington Post
Temperature anomalies for January, 2016. Image: NASA
Temperature anomalies for January, 2016. Image: NASA

data from NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration suggest that January of 2016 was, for the globe, a truly extraordinary month. Coming off the hottest year ever recorded (2015), January saw the greatest departure from average of any month on record, according to data provided by NASA.

The record breaking heat wasn’t uniformly distributed — it was particularly pronounced at the top of the world, showing temperature anomalies above 4 degrees Celsius (7.2 degrees Fahrenheit) higher than the 1951 to 1980 average in this region.

Global warming has long been known to be particularly intense in the Arctic — a phenomenon known as “Arctic amplification” — but even so, lately the phenomenon has been extremely pronounced