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Santa may need water skis instead of a sleigh this year.
A weather buoy about 90 miles south of the North Pole registered a temperature at the melting point of 32 degrees (0 Celsius) early Thursday, as a giant storm east of Greenland drew abnormally warm air northward.
Weather - Models - Temperatures - Warm - Buoy
Weather models had predicted temperatures could get this warm and this buoy, part of the North Pole Environmental Observatory, provides validation.
“It seems likely areas very close to or at the North Pole were at the freezing point” Thursday, said Zachary Labe, a doctoral student researching Arctic climate and weather at the University of California at Irvine.
Data - Buoy - No - Air - Temperatures
Data from the buoy (No. 300234064010010, which can be downloaded here) show that air temperatures have risen more than 40 degrees in the past two days, when they hovered near minus-11 degrees (minus-24 Celsius) which, even then, was above average.
The entire Arctic north of 80 degrees, roughly the size of the Lower 48 states, has witnessed a sharp temperature spike of nearly 30 degrees.
Temperature - Region - Degrees - Celsius - Time
Consider the average temperature in this large region is about minus-20 degrees (minus-29 Celsius) at this time of year, but had shot up to 7 degrees on Wednesday (minus-14 Celsius) and will likely peak at a higher number by late Thursday.
Labe said the huge flux of warmth into the region may have contributed to the loss of sea ice at a time when the region is usually gaining ice.
Franz - Joseph - Islands - East - Svalbard
Near the Franz Joseph Islands east of Svalbard, satellite imagery shows a large mass of ice vanishing over the last day. “This is pretty dramatic,” he tweeted.
Data from the National Snow and Ice Data Center indicate the Arctic lost about 57,000 square miles of ice (148,000 square kilometers) in the past day, which is roughly...
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