[Discovery Blog] Surface air temperatures over the Arctic have climbed 5.2 degrees Fahrenheit since the beginning of the 20th Century – more than twice the level of warming experienced elsewhere on Earth, scientists said Tuesday in an annual report.
Between October 2014 and September 2015, the average surface air temperature in the region was 2.3 degrees Fahrenheit higher than the baseline average set between 1981 to 2010 — the highest temperature in 115 years, said U.S. Army Corps of Engineers cold regions researcher Jackie Richter-Menge.
“In general, air temperatures in all seasons were above average throughout the Arctic, with extensive regions exceeding 5.4 degrees Fahrenheit over the 1981-2010 baseline,” Richter-Menge told reporters at the American Geophysical Union conference in San Francisco.
The warmer air contributed to changes in the amount of Arctic sea ice, which peaked on Feb. 25 – 15 days earlier than average. This winter ice pack was the smallest on record since 1979.
In addition, only 3 percent of the ice cover in February and March 2015 was so-called “old ice,” which is older than four years. New, first-year ice made up 70 percent of the pack, the research showed…