Temperatures around the North Pole will almost certainly pass the melting point, 32 degrees Fahrenheit, in the days leading up to Christmas, as global warming wreaks havoc on some of the world’s coldest and iciest climates, scientists say.
“High up into the Arctic and close to the North Pole, the temperatures are very, very possibly above freezing,” Paul Mayewski, professor at the University of Maine’s Climate Change Institute, told CBS News Wednesday. He called the current temperatures in the Arctic “remarkable.”
The Arctic has seen a dramatic transformation in recent years, with significantly warmer temperatures, lower levels of sea ice, and more open water. In November, the average Arctic sea ice extent — the measurement scientists use to represent the area of ocean where there is at least some sea ice — was 17.7% below the averages from 1981 to 2010, according to NOAA. That’s the lowest November extent since the NOAA began keeping records in 1979.
At the moment, temperatures at the North Pole are 36 degrees Fahrenheit warmer than average temperatures during the period from 1979 to 2000, according to data compiled by the Climate Change Institute.