HOUSTON - Something really weird is happening over the Arctic this November.
Air temperatures over the north pole are refusing to cool off like normal, and sea ice levels at this time of year are the lowest on record since satellite monitoring began in 1979. This map from ClimateReanalyzer.org at the University of Maine shows temperatures in the Arctic over 30 degrees above normal!
Data from the Danish Meteorological Institute also shows unprecedented warmth over the north pole since 1958.
The green line on this graph shows the "normal" temperature over the course of the year, and the red line shows the observed "daily mean temperature of the Arctic."
Anything below the blue line is below freezing. While those of us in Houston would consider current temperatures in the teens to be cold, they are nowhere near as cold as the sub-zero temps often observed at this time year.
Interestingly enough, both Arctic and Antarctic ice levels are at record low levels, running 3,865,000 square kilometers below normal.
That's a land area roughly equivalent to the six largest states in America combined: Alaska, Texas, California, Montana, New Mexico, and Arizona.
When you plot global sea ice data from the National Snow & Ice Data Center, 2016 (the red line) stands out as an unprecedented outlier.
The data is clear: something extreme is occurring in the coldest regions of planet Earth, and the climate is rapidly changing.
Watch this NASA animation to see how much Arctic sea ice has shrunk at the end of each melt season since the 1980s.