Arctic Temperatures Hit New Record High

arctic meltingTemperatures in the Arctic last fall hit record highs, an international team of scientists reported Thursday. According to the authors of the annual Arctic Report Card, temperatures were more than 9 degrees Fahrenheit above normal and are predicted to remain nearly as high this year.

The year 2007 was the warmest year on record in the Arctic,” said Jackie Richter-Menge, a climate expert at the Cold Regions Research and Engineering Laboratory in Hanover, N.H, and editor of the latest Arctic Report Card.


The material presented in the paper is peer-reviewed by topical experts of the Climate Experts Group of the Arctic Council.

The most recent numbers continue a general Arctic-wide warming trend that began in the mid-1960s. Warmer than normal temperatures are due largely to the major loss of sea ice in recent years which allows more solar heating of the ocean. The summers of 2005 through 2007 all ended with extensive areas of open water. This allowed extra heat to be absorbed by the ocean from solar radiation, resulting in an ice freeze-up that occurred later than usual.

Authors of the report stress that all of the arctic warming is not attributable to global warming. “Global warming by itself wouldn’t cause this much sea ice loss,” said James Overland, an Arctic expert at the Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory in Seattle. Nor would changes in wind and ocean currents alone.

And although the Arctic is warming overall, its effects vary from place to place. The Bering Sea, for example, is in a cooling spell, and an unusually severe winter has bulked up Alaska’s glaciers.

One thing is clear, all of this warming cannot be undone quickly.

“There has been a massive loss of sea ice starting in the 1990s,” said one of the authors, James Overland, an “In 2008, we’ve lost so much multi-year old ice, it’s very difficult for the ice cover to go back to where it was 20 years ago.”

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Image: NOAA

3 thoughts on “Arctic Temperatures Hit New Record High”

  1. “Control Freak” – The last time I checked, neither Mendocino County nor East Oregon are in the Arctic Circle. And as I wrote in the article, the Bering Sea region was cooler than average, as you suggest.

    But climate is not the same as weather. And while the weather patterns in CERTAIN regions of the Arctic may have brought cooling to those areas, OVERALL, the paper shows that the Arctic showed significant warming in 2007.

  2. I think Timothy Hurst is an absolute idiot:

    By Craig Medred | Anchorage Daily News


    Two hundred years of glacial shrinkage in Alaska, and then came the winter and summer of 2007-2008.

    Unusually large amounts of winter snow were followed by unusually chill temperatures in June, July and August.

    “In mid-June, I was surprised to see snow still at sea level in Prince William Sound,” said U.S. Geological Survey glaciologist Bruce Molnia. “On the Juneau Icefield, there was still 20 feet of new snow on the surface of the Taku Glacier in late July. At Bering Glacier, a landslide I am studying, located at about 1,500 feet elevation, did not become snow free until early August.

    “In general, the weather this summer was the worst I have seen in at least 20 years.”

    Weekend cold set new record lows
    Pendleton breaks 118-year-old record

    The East Oregonian

    Monday, October 13, 2008

    Cold temperatures set several new record lows this weekend, including a low of 22 Saturday in downtown Pendleton that broke a 118 year-old record of 24.

    Frost ‘one more thing’ for grape growers


    Published: Tuesday, October 14, 2008 at 4:41 a.m.
    Last Modified: Tuesday, October 14, 2008 at 5:26 a.m.

    A record cold snap in Mendocino County over the weekend caused little damage to wine grapes but chilled the hearts of farmers who already have suffered huge losses this year.

    “It’s just one more thing on top of one more thing. You kind of hold your breath,” said Potter Valley wine grape grower Bill Pauli.

    Temperatures dropped to 31 degrees in the Ukiah Valley on Saturday night and early Sunday morning, the coldest Oct. 12 morning since record keeping began in Ukiah in 1893, said Troy Nicolini, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Eureka. The previous record was 34 degrees in 1916.

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