Earther.Gizmodo - August 15, 2019
Amid the hottest month in recorded history, some records still stand out as absolutely jaw dropping. That’s definitely true of a measurement made in the Arctic this July.
According to data released in the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) monthly climate analysis, a weather station in Sweden north of the Arctic Circle hit a stunning 94.6 Fahrenheit (34.8 degrees Celsius) last month. As an isolated data point, it would be shocking. But coupled with a host of other maladies, from no sea ice within 125 miles of Alaska to the unruly fires ravaging Siberia, it’s an exclamation point on the climate crisis.
The steamy temperature was recorded on July 26 in the small Swedish outpost of Markusvinsa, which sits on the southern edge of the Arctic Circle. Deke Arndt, a NOAA climate scientist, said on a call with reporters that the data was analyzed and quality controlled by the Swedish Meteorological and Hydrological Institute and that “they have established that as highest temperature north of the Arctic Circle” for the country. For comparison, the hottest temperature recorded in New York City last month was 95 degrees Fahrenheit (35 degrees Celsius).
The heat wave that enveloped the Arctic spread a lot farther than Markusvinsa, though. Alaska recorded its hottest month ever amid extremely weird weather for the state. The heat has driven massive wildfire, and smoke from those fires enveloped Anchorage and Fairbanks, the former of which has had its smokiest summer on record, according to Alaska weather expert Rick Thoman. Salmon dieoffs, the earliest walrus haul out ever recorded, and emaciated animals have also been reported around the state.
During the same press call, Thoman expanded on the reasons why it’s been so weird in Alaska. The big one is the disappearance of sea ice six to eight weeks ahead of schedule, which has left a 125-mile ring of open water around the state. Oceans were already warm going into the summer, but the dark exposed ocean water has absorbed even more heat compared to the normally reflective ice cover. ...
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