More Evidence of “New Feedback” in Arctic? Giant Storm Pushes Warmth to Pole
February 7, 2017
A gigantic, powerhouse winter storm is charging through the North Atlantic and promises to flood the high Arctic with abnormally mild air. Arctic temperatures have blown past previous record highs in recent months, and this surge of (relative) warmth is just the latest in a long series that has amazed scientists.
For the fourth time in just over a year, the North Pole may near the melting point in winter, a previously rare event.
The textbook comma-shape storm is sprawling. The northern part of its core is near the southern tip of Greenland, while its trailing front extends southwestward almost to the tropics. On Sunday, the National Weather Service said it packed winds of over 90 mph (80 knots) near its center. Computer models suggest the storm has generated towering waves that exceed 46 feet southeast of its core.
The storm was likely near peak intensity early Monday, with a minimum pressure of 932 millibars — a common reading in Category 4 hurricanes and ranking among the top tier of winter storms in this region.
On Thursday, areas near the North Pole are predicted to be 50 to 60 degrees warmer than normal (which is around minus-30), which is near the melting point. This may mark the third occasion since November and the fourth time in just over a year that temperatures have warmed to this uncommon winter level near the Pole.
In my December interview with Arctic Expert Jennifer Francis, she spoke of a “new climate feedback” in the arctic, involving huge injections, like this, of warm air over the pole.