Last updated October 10, 2018

Increasing frequency and duration of Arctic winter warming events

  • States that during the last three winter seasons, extreme warming events (associated with temperatures near or above 0°C, lasting 1-3 days) were observed over sea ice in the central Arctic Ocean
  • States that typically temperatures in the Arctic at this time of year are below −30°C
  • Studies past temperature observations in the Arctic to investigate how common winter warming events are
  • Uses time temperature observations from expeditions such as Fram (1893–1896) and manned Soviet North Pole drifting ice stations from 1937 to 1991
  • Records show that winter warming events have been observed over most of the Arctic Ocean
  • Records show that winter time temperatures above −5°C were directly observed approximately once every 3 years in the central Arctic Ocean between 1954 and 2010
  • Finds that, while observations of winter warming events date back to 1896, there has been an increasing number of winter warming events in recent years