But the record-low sea ice extent and unprecedented warmth in the region fit in well with recent trends and portend even more profound changes in the coming years.
Ive never seen anything like it this a year ago and half, Mark Serreze, director of the National Snow and Ice Data Center, said. Yet temperatures in the Arctic are soaring; in mid-November it was an average of a staggering 22° Celsius, or 40° Fahrenheit, above normal. And each month of the first six months of 2016 set a record as the warmest globally in terms of the modern temperature record, according to scientists at NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) in NY. Reports say that temperature in Siberia for the past weeks has dropped dramatically by up to 60 degrees below normal.
Arctic sea ice extent is charted here for each year since 1979. That would mean that sixteen of the last seventeen hottest years on record would be during the current century, with 1998 being the only outlier.
At this time of year, sea ice should be growing rapidly as winter sets in. "It's just not going to be as extreme as other years because the weather conditions in the Arctic were not as extreme as in other years".
He warned the global repercussions of the reduction of sea ice were already being felt, long before the ice has fully disappeared. In the last few days there has been a decline in sea ice in the Bering sea.
So, to explain the situation more here, the Arctic is now entering Polar Night - meaning that there's barely any sunlight warming the region up.
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Each winter, something very important to the rest of the planet happens in the Arctic. In addition, sea temperatures averaging almost 4 Celsius higher than usual in October and November.
Climate scientists have warned about polar ice melt for decades.
"It acts as a refrigerator or cooler for the planet, if you will", Meier said.
"For us, this is really the first time that we do have an intuitive understanding of how our individual actions really contribute to global warming", said lead author Dirk Notz, a climate scientist at the Max Planck Institute for Meteorology in Hamburg, Germany. If you wonder how much then be informed that it is 36 degrees Fahrenheit above where it should be on the basis of previous years. It's not just a few degrees warmer than it should be-it's an astonishing 36º F hotter than usual.
It seems that a new study to determine the source of a spike in ammonia levels recorded each summer in the Canadian Arctic has concluded that the increased presence of the smelly chemical can be attributed to the smelly output from the tens of millions of seabirds who summer along that nation's Arctic Coast, gorging themselves on seafood and relieving themselves as needed.
Indeed, another Arctic expert, James Overland with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, said that the jet stream at the moment is well configured to transport warmth northward into the Arctic. This sea ice decline has been a key indicator that climate change is happening, but especially in the Arctic, its loss can mean major changes for your weather too. "But as the ocean continues to warm, so does the polar cap, leaving the future of the Arctic ice uncertain". Normally, cold air is kept locked up in the Arctic by a spinning vortex of air bounded by fast winds high in the atmosphere called the jet stream.